Milk is the ultimate source of many nutrients like protein, calcium, and overall energy and growth. It provides vitamin D for strengthening bones, calcium supporting teeth, phosphorus, potassium, and other vitamins and nutrients. Milk helps in maintaining a healthy weight by providing enough protein. It prevents bone diseases such as osteoporosis as well. Let us here see ‘Best Alternatives Of Milk’.
However, sometimes some health issue arises when a person cannot consume milk and its products. This issue is known as lactose intolerance. This intolerance is mainly from animal milk and its products. There can be many underlying reasons for a person becoming lactose intolerant. It is when people start looking for alternatives to milk if their diet requires its inclusion. Apart from being lactose intolerant, one might face other health issues such as cholesterol problems. It is because non-dairy milk has less to negligible cholesterol and saturated fat levels (some variants might contain fats).
Another reason that requires milk alternatives is the choice of veganism. Being vegan means that one has prohibited the usage of animal products. Therefore, a plant-based alternative is needed to suffice the absence of animal milk’s nutrients and benefits.
Concerns about the environment are another reason people have been shifting their food consumption habits to a plant-based lifestyle.
Plant-based milk alternatives have been pretty popular, especially in terms of various local foods which did not always use animal milk, such as cow milk or buffalo milk. However, animal milk and products are tremendously beneficial for health, and thus they have been popular. Plant-based ones are quite healthy, considering the number of nutrients they provide and is also prescribed by doctors and dietician/nutritionists for a healthy lifestyle. It is also considered safe for everybody, including babies and infants unless one is allergic or has any problem with any components.
The plant-based milk alternatives can be acquired through homemade methods, but there are several industries nowadays that do the hard work for you! They process the natural ingredients and mass-produce plant-based milk products and milk to be easily available to a wide number of consumers in various places. Some well-known brands that produce such products are Silk, Oatly, Pacific Foods, Ripple, So Delicious, Great Value, Whole Foods, etc.
Best Alternatives Of Milk
Plant-based milk is often acquired from processing certain portions of the plants like the seed, the fruit, or the grain that it produces. Generally, Non-dairy plant-based milk is made from nuts. First, the nuts are soaked in water and then made into a paste filtered to separate the milk from the mixture. The mixture is then boiled, and the nutrients and the flavors are added separately, the ones that they lack, for example, the flavor of vanilla or maybe some added sweetness. Finally, the mixture is boiled to sterilize and properly mix the flavors and bring the best taste as the animal milk alternative. Of course, it has the taste of the nuts from which it is being made, but some added flavor and sweetness make it easier to consume as a substitute for dairy. Also, since they are mostly water-based, it is very light to consume.
Regarding the variants, there are many to choose from. Thus one gets to experiment with the flavors and variants in the market. However, the common and easily available options include as follows:
As the name suggests (applicable for all the variants), almond milk is obtained from almonds, a kind of nut. It is one of the most common and popular sources of non-dairy milk and is beneficial to health. It is high in calcium and vitamin E, an antioxidant, one of the important nutrients for the human body. Moreover, it is low on sugar and calories, making it a great choice for diabetics or anybody cutting down the sugar levels in their diets. One can easily get this milk from the leading stores near them.
Soy milk is obtained from soybeans, known to be high in protein. Therefore, soy milk is high in protein content. It is mainly used for producing Tofu, which can be used as a substitute for cheese in many dishes, and is widely used in Asian dishes. Soy milk tastes almost as clean as cow’s milk, nutrition-wise, and is similar to cow’s milk; thus, almost a perfect substitute. Soy milk is easily commonly available and can be found in various flavors.
Oat milk has high amounts of iron and helps to keep cholesterol levels in check. This milk has benefits in keeping the heart health good and is prescribed to breastfeeding mothers to ease milk supply and their well-being. Oat milk tastes the best when used with tea and coffee. Oat milk is also available easily.
Coconut milk has a rich flavor that helps prepare various delicacies, especially in South Asian cuisines. Therefore, it may be used in the recipes that involve spices and cooking, such as curries. Coconut milk is extracted from the white portion of the coconut, it is ground and made into a paste, and then the milk is separated. It is thick and creamy, rich in vitamins D and B-12, but has saturated fats almost similar to that of cow’s milk.
Cashew milk is almost as similar to coconut one in terms of sweetness and creaminess and fewer calories. In addition, it is rich in vitamins A, D, and B-12.
For neutral flavor lovers, rice milk can be the best alternative. It contains calcium and vitamin d, almost the same as cow’s milk, and has a creamy texture. It has less protein.
Other milk variants include hemp seed milk which is high in calcium, vitamin D, and Omega-3. It has a decent amount of protein as well. However, the taste might be a problem, and the availability can be limited. Pea milk (made from peas, chickpeas rather), Walnut milk (made from walnuts), Flax milk (obtained from flax seeds), Pumpkin seed milk (extracted from pumpkin seeds), and Potato milk(a recent variant of milk made from potatoes).
As a consumer, one should always check the nutritional value label on the package to ensure they are getting the right variant. Check the amounts of fats, proteins, and nutrients to get the best alternative. Also, one should keep in mind the probable health hazards that one has or might have; for example, people may be allergic to any of the milk ingredients or may have digestion and gastric issues. It is always advisable to consult a doctor before deciding to purchase.