What type of milk is recommended for adults, especially those on a plant-based diet? The good news is it’s easier than ever to find healthy, non-dairy milks. That’s because there’s a great deal of interest surrounding milk alternatives.
At the same time, this wide selection can pose a problem. To begin with, it can be tricky to determine which one is the healthiest non-dairy milk. Then, you have to figure out which milk is best for you.
What type of milk is recommended for adults? Don’t believe the hype
Cow’s milk is for calves, so that’s out. The next choice is almond milk. Almond milk appears to be the current favorite on the market. This is because most people believe it to be a nutritious alternative to cow’s milk. Yet, this may not be the case.
Consider the nutritional profile of almond milk per cup:
- Protein: 1g
- Total Fat: 2.5g
- Calcium: 482mg
- Iron: 0.734mg
- Magnesium: 15.7mg
- Potassium: 176mg
- Vitamin E: 16.6mg
Yes, it’s low in calories. If you take a close look, you realize that low calories also comes with low nutrition. The crowning glory of almond milk is the vitamin E content and mediocre Calcium content. Thus, if you are looking to fortify your diet with certain nutrients, then almond milk may not be right for you.
Want Protein? Look to Soy Milk
Are you looking for ways to incorporate more protein into your diet? This is a common strategy for anyone following a plant-based diet. Well, one of the healthiest non-dairy milk alternatives is soy milk.
A single cup of soy milk boasts a whopping 6.3g of protein! Needless to say, it can boost your daily protein intake. Each cup contains the amount of calories similar to cow’s milk.
Soy milk is great because it has some of the benefits of legumes. Soy is shown to decrease risk of hormonal cancers (like breast and prostate cancers) and overall health is Asia
Unfortunately, many common brands (like Silk) have added sugar. Be aware of this when picking one out.
Watching Your LDL cholesterol? Maybe try Coconut Milk
It is important to keep your cholesterol and lipid levels in check. Doing so can help prevent a wide variety of cardiovascular diseases. To commit to this goal, consider adding coconut milk to your diet.
Research has shown that coconut milk has an interesting effect on your lipid levels. As you may be aware, there are two types of cholesterol – LDL and HDL. LDL is often referred to as the “bad cholesterol”, while HDL is the “good cholesterol”.
Well, coconut milk helps to lower LDL levels in the blood. It also works to increase HDL at the same time. So coconut milk is a tasty non-dairy milk for those without heart or cholesterol issues, but not suitable for those who have high cholesterol.
Looking for Taste? Oat Milk to the Rescue
It isn’t enough to pick non-dairy milk based on nutrition alone. Taste is just as important. After all, you aren’t going to drink something that you don’t find enjoyable. Unfortunately, many healthy non-dairy types of milk may have strong or unusual tastes.
Take a sip of oat milk. Guaranteed, the flavor will surprise you. Why? Because it tastes eerily similar to cow’s milk, but perhaps with an earthy aftertaste. So, if you’ve disliked the taste of other plant-based milks, oat milk may be the solution.
On the surface, oat milk may not appear to pack much of a nutritional punch. However, the science behind this milk is encouraging. There is evidence that oat milk can help to reduce cholesterol levels.
On the other hand, oats are higher in carbohydrates than many other foods. So if you’re looking for a high fat or high protein option, it’s best to look elsewhere.
The Top Tips for Choosing Plant-Based Milks for adults and children
If you’ve been searching in non-dairy milk isle or online, there are many different brands for each kind of non-dairy milk alternatives. There is a great deal of nutritional discrepancy between each brand. Thus, you need to be careful about your selection.
The easiest way to make the right decision is to analyze the information provided on the package. To begin with, look at the nutrient profile. Take note of the protein, carbs, fats, sugars, etc. This will give you some idea of what the healthiest option is. Look for a combination of carbohydrates, protein and fat.
You should also look at the ingredients in the milk. If there is an unfamiliar name on the list, research it. Not everything that sounds funny is harmful. For example, carrageen, is a seaweed used to prevent separation. There’s nothing inherently wrong with it.
Steer clear of brands with added sugars, oils and lots of salt. If the milligrams of sodium is higher than the calories, I recommend choosing another milk.
Plant-based milks tend to be fortified with various nutrients. So, you should be mindful for those with added calcium, vitamin D, iodine, B12 and others. These can help you reach your daily quota for various nutrients, but aren’t necessary.
The best non-dairy milk for you
This is your simple guide for choosing the healthiest non-dairy milk.
Last but not least, while milk is sometimes recommended for adults, it’s unnecessary. Of course, it can be a delicious nutrition to our smoothies, cereals, flax puddings and baked goods. But milk, it’s nutrition and added fat, protein & calories are most important for growing children and babies.
What type of milk is recommended for adults? The best all-around recommendation is oat milk due to its tasty and neutral flavor, cholesterol-reducing properties and lack of allergens. But you might want to try something different if you’re looking for something with high protein or fat.
As you can see, there’s some work involved in choosing a non-dairy milk. Once you have identified the right milk for you, it will all be worth it.
Author Bio: Sarah DeSilva is a major advocate for healthier, plant-based lifestyles. She does research on how to consume balanced vegetarian and vegan diets and loves sharing her insight with others. In particular, Sarah contributes to For the Love of Coconut, with a focus on vegan substitutions.