Which milks are the healthiest? Which one should you be drinking? This depends on several important factors. We are so fortunate these days to have grocery stores and specialty markets with such a huge variety of kinds of milk and substitutes or alternatives.
Milk is source of calcium, protein, vitamin B12, vitamin A, vitamin D, B2, zinc, and plays an important role in bone health. Based on that, if you are not lactose or dairy intolerant, the best option is an organic, low-fat milk or an organic, lactose free milk.
Given my own lactose intolerance, I typically search out great substitutes. Many of these may have the word ‘milk’ in their name but actually aren’t milk at all. Let’s take a look at a few pros and cons of a handful of products available.
If you are not intolerant to soy, like me, it could be a great choice for you. Soy is a good source of plant protein, carbs, and B vitamins. Most soy milks are fortified with calcium, making them somewhat nutritionally comparable to dairy milk.
My recommendation: choose an organic low-fat version!
The biggest factor to keep in mind here are any type of nut allergies. This option is my favorite milk substitute and one that I consume daily. It is made mainly from ground nuts and water. Almond milk is lower in protein and calcium than dairy milk, but it also tends to be low in energy and saturated fat. It contains some healthy unsaturated fats as well as vitamin E, manganese, zinc and potassium. Almond drinks often contain added sugars, sometimes much more than we think. We should look for unsweetened options.
My recommendation: choose unsweetened almond milk, and better if it’s fortified with calcium. In my opinion, is the healthiest milk for my requirements.
Oat milk is made by blending oats and water. With zero saturated fats, it is a great source of fiber, vitamin E, and helps to lower cholesterol. It’s low in fat and is naturally sweet, but it has a lot of calories and carbohydrates.
My recommendation: choose a sugar-free option. Oat milk provides lasting energy, so for long days, this could be a great option to add to your diet. Compared to other types of milk substitutes, oat milk has more calories, carbs, and fiber than almond or soy. Is one of the healthiest milk, but if you want to cut calories, consider some of the alternatives we have discussed here.
Coconut milk is low in protein and carbs, but high in saturated fat, potassium and magnesium. Many of the top coconut milk brands contain added sugars. Like nut-based drinks, coconut milk also doesn’t naturally contain calcium.
My recommendation: use this option if you are on a Keto diet or where a specific recipe requires, but not as a daily food item given its high saturated fat content.
Rice milk is produced from milled rice and water. It’s high in carbs and sugars and has a high glycemic index. It’s also low in protein and calcium.
My recommendation: this drink could be a carb option before long workouts because of its high carb and sugar count, but it is not recommended for people with diabetes.
So, which type is the healthiest milk?
It depends on your goals, your overall diet, and nutrient requirements! Always remember to check labels and select organic where possible. Unsweet options are always the best, especially those fortified with calcium.
Find more healthy advice and tips in my blog .