Milk has been the first and primary source of nourishment for humans and mammals for centuries. Even as adults, many people choose to consume milk for breakfast every day, whether on its own, mixed into their coffee, or with cereal.
Due to some reasons mentioned below, people are looking to switch to plant-based milk substitutes. But are they equally nutritious as cow’s milk or even better than cow’s milk? You can continue reading the advantages of each type below.
Since milk is derived from cows, vegans stay away from it. Their reasons are that they believe cow farming is cruel and do not agree with how the animals are treated.
Due to Lactose Intolerance
Lactose intolerant individuals’ bodies are unable to fully digest lactose, which is a broken-down sugar present in milk. Due to this, they experience abdominal pain, bloating, indigestion, and other gastrointestinal symptoms. For this reason, many lactose-intolerant individuals have made the shift toward consuming plant-based milk alternatives.
Due to Environmental Reasons
Non-dairy milk is environmentally friendly due to the following reasons:
Farmed cows need land for grazing. This leads to deforestation, which affects climate change. Alternatively, plants grown to produce milk alternatives require much less land.
Dairy farms require a lot more water than is needed to grow plants that are grown to produce milk alternatives
Produces Fewer Emissions
Switching to plant-based products reduces your carbon footprint as plants that are needed to produce milk alternatives produce much fewer greenhouse emissions than cattle milk, which contributes to almost 20 percent of the world’s overall greenhouse emissions.
Due to the High Sugar Content in Cow’s Milk
Plant-based milk has much less sugar content compared to cow’s milk. Therefore it is a good option for people who want to reduce sugar content in their diet and are also looking to reduce their weight.
Different Milk Alternatives
Oat milk has gained a lot of popularity over the past few years and has many health benefits. Due to its high protein content, it serves as a great alternative to traditional cow’s milk and has the following added benefits:
- It is rich in fiber, so it is excellent for maintaining a healthy gut and digestive system.
- It contains both calcium and vitamin D, so it is great for maintaining healthy bones.
- It contains half the calories of cow’s milk and much less sugar and fat content, so it is a healthier choice for individuals watching their weight.
- Oat milk is not suitable for those who have a gluten allergy or are suffering from celiac disease as oat milk is wheat-grain based.
- Oat milk can help boost immunity and is rich in vitamin B. It contains more fat than other milk alternatives.
- The flavor of oat milk is a lot like cow’s milk but a little bit sweeter. But it is overall pleasant tasting and easily digested.
- Oat milk can easily be made at home but is also widely available in the market.
Almond milk is made from ground almonds and drinking filtered water. It can have sugar added to it if you want it to be sweetened or maybe unsweetened. It can also be vanilla or chocolate flavored according to your preference.
It is widely available in the market and can also easily be made at home. It is an excellent option for those who cannot consume cow’s milk due to lactose or its fat content. Unsweetened almond milk is low in calories and lactose-free. It can have added calcium, vitamin A and vitamin D. it is not suitable for people allergic to nuts.
Coconut milk is another alternative to cow’s milk and is obtained by squeezing the flesh of a coconut. It is a good alternative for those looking for non-dairy milk substitutes and has a pleasant flavor on its own. It is not a good source of protein but has a higher content of fat than other plant-based milk substitutes.
Soy milk is rich in healthy omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin B. soy milk is rich in protein, whereas coconut and almond milk are not; therefore, soy milk is the best option as a milk substitute for those who are lactose intolerant. It has the highest nutritional value as compared to all other substitutes. Soy milk can be used on its own, mixed in cereals or smoothies, or even used in cooking.
Soy milk has a creamy and mild flavor but is sweeter than other milk alternatives. It must be remembered that soy milk is not suitable for people with soy allergies.
Soy milk has been shown to have many health benefits, such as improved brain health, heart health, and reduced menopause symptoms in women.
When looking for substitute milk options for cow’s milk, it is best to consult a doctor to see what they recommend. While no one particular milk can completely substitute the nutritional benefits of cow’s milk, it might be better to mix up different types of milk and consume them alternately.
If one has higher protein content, the other is richer in calcium and vitamin D. This way, you can benefit from all types of milk. Other than soy milk, none of the others contain as much protein as cow’s milk does; therefore, it’s a good idea to check with your doctor before making a complete switch to plant-based milk.