Which is the healthiest non-dairy milk?
Whether it is going to the bed with a mug of warm milk for a more restful night or brewing a strong cuppa to begin your day, milk is an important part of a lot of people’s diet. Often regarded as the complete food, milk is packed with a host of essential nutrients including protein, Vitamin A, B1, B2, B12, and D, potassium and magnesium.
Milk is not for everyone
However, milk is not a suitable option for everyone as it may trigger headaches, tummy ache and allergic reactions in some individuals. So, whether you are lactose intolerant or simply wish to exclude all animal-based products from your diet, there can be a lot of reasons why you want to make the switch from animal-based milk to its non-dairy alternatives.
The good news is that there is a wide range of dairy-free milk alternatives available in the market, thanks to the increasing demand for non-dairy products.
From almond, coconut, banana, rice, soy to oats milk, there is certainly an abundance of plant-based alternatives to your regular milk. If you are in the quest of finding the healthiest alternative to your regular cow milk, we are here to help. We list down the best plant-based milk substitutes.
Almond milk has gained a lot of popularity of late and is touted as a healthier alternative to animal milk. It is made by soaking the almonds and blending them with water to create a light-textured, creamy, nutty-flavoured liquid. This substitute for dairy milk contains fewer calories, no saturated fat or cholesterol, and 25 per cent of the daily recommendation for vitamin D.
So if you are looking for an alternative to regular milk to supplement your weight loss journey and want to lower the number of calories you are consuming on a daily basis, almond milk is the way to go.
While it can be used as an alternative to animal milk, you may need to include more protein in your diet from various sources as it is significantly low in proteins.
Coconut milk is made by grating the coconut flesh (the white part of coconut) and soaking it in hot water. It is then squeezed through the cheesecloth to obtain the liquid. If you are looking to reduce your daily carbs intake, coconut milk might just be ideal as it contains little to no carbohydrates.
However, it is strongly advisable that you do not go overboard with this plant-based milk as it high in saturated fat (medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs)). Moreover, amongst the most touted alternatives of dairy-milk, coconut milk is the lowest in proteins.
This type of non-dairy milk is derived from whole oats grains by blending them with water and straining the mixture. It has a naturally creamy and slightly sweet texture. Talking about the nutrient value, this milk is rich in fibre when compared to cow and other dairy-free alternatives available in the market.
It also has a considerable amount of protein and carbohydrates which makes it a good source to provide energy., a type of saturated fat. Unlike all other non-dairy substitutes, it can be easily made from the comfort of home.
If you are lactose intolerant or allergic to soy or nuts, rice milk remains the best option for you.
The sweet-tasting rice milk is made from milling rice and water. It is considerably less in proteins and fat, while 1 cup of rice milk packs in 140 calories and 2-3 grams of fat.
However, it is often considered the least favourable option due to its high glycemic index and twice as many carbohydrates as cow’s milk. A lot of research suggests that the consumption of rice milk as an alternative to cow’s milk without proper care can result in malnutrition in infants.
Soy milk is one of the most popular alternatives to cow milk as it loaded with protein and also contains a high amount of Vitamin B. It is made with soybean and has a mild, creamy flavour. It is packed with several nutrients including potassium, iron and B vitamins. It also has 10 per cent of your recommended daily intake of folic acid.
However, the best part is, amongst the most popular alternatives to animal milk, soy milk is considered as the most wholesome and nutritional substitute.
Yes, unsweetened soya contains around 3.3 grams of protein per 100 grams. It is undoubtedly the closest competitor to the cow milk and is often considered the healthiest alternative to non-dairy milk.