With increasing numbers of food allergies and food sensitivities, there have been a lot of food “alternatives” to hit the market. One of the most common, with the widest range of choices,is the market for “milk alternatives.” Milk allergies and lactose intolerance has always been an issue for some people who didn’t have many other options, until recent years. Milk is REALLY good for you. It encompasses nine essential nutrients: calcium, vitamin D, B vitamins, high-quality protein, phosphorus, vitamin A, zinc, magnesium, and selenium. Whether it is helping to convert your food into energy, building your bones into strong bones, or helping you to keep a healthy immune system, milk is always working in your favor. Being allergic, sensitive or lactose intolerant can leave you at a disadvantage. Enter in our milk alternatives. Which ones are actually good for you, the healthiest of the alternatives? What to look for when choosing the right one for you?
What Are The Healthiest Milk Alternatives?
There are SO MANY milk alternatives for sale these days, how do you know which ones are really good for you? You MUST do your research and you must be vigilant about reading labels of ingredients. Some have great nutrients, some are loaded with sugar. Here are some of the choices that have great nutritional value.
- Hemp Milk – I know what you must be thinking. Don’t worry, it does NOT contain any of the psychoactive components of the plant Cannabis sativa. The milk is made by the seeds being soaked then they are ground up, It is mostly carb-free and is high in protein and good omega-3 and omega-6 unsaturated fats.
- Oat Milk – Oat milk has a natural sweet taste from the oats themselves and the fact that it is fairly high in carbs.Drinking oat milk itself is not as healthy as eating a bowl full of oats, but it does help to lower your LDL cholesterol levels, gives you protein and fiber, and delivers as a good source of vitamin B-12.
- Almond Milk – Almond milk is created by soaking almonds in water, blending them, then straining away the solids. Almond milk has a good taste, is low in carbs, high in
vitamin E, but it does not contain much protein or other nutrients.A lot of brands of almond milk carry an additive called carrageenan which is being investigated as a cause of intestinal inflammation.
- Coconut Milk – Coconut milk has a higher fat content than other plant milks but it does boost HDL cholesterol levels (the good ones). It doesn’t contain any protein but it does have a good, tropical flavor.
- Soy Milk – Soy milk is called the closest resemblance to cow’s milk. It has high levels of protein and vitamin B-12. Because of the controversy that arises from herbicides used to grow soybeans, organic soy milk seems to be the preferred variety.
- Pea Protein Milk – Pea protein milk is made from taking fresh peas and turning them into flour, then separating the protein and blending it with water and other nutrients. Pea protein milk is low in carbs and is usually fortified with protein, vitamins and minerals.
Choosing The Right Alternative For You
There are SO MANY CHOICES in milk alternatives! You do your research, you have your options, but which ones do you try first? Come up with a few factors that are tailored to your personal health needs and taste preferences, knowing what is important to you before you start purchasing options.
- ALWAYS READ THE LABELS!! Check the sugar content and see what added nutrients/chemicals it contains before buying ANYTHING! The label or the commercials may say it’s a “healthy choice.” Determine that for yourself first!
- Check the nutrition information and make the best choice for what you need the most. Make sure there are no additives that you could be allergic to.
- Taste matters to you, obviously, but don’t sacrifice the nutritional value that you need in the process.
- Always check with your doctor before adding new things to your diet. Make sure any choices you might make won’t negatively affect you or any medication you may be taking.
- Ask others! What are your friends, family, co-workers using in the form of milk alternatives?
- Once you’ve done your research, know WHAT you can try, have fun trying new things!
New Choices, New Start, New You
Whether this is a brand new start into a healthier lifestyle, you’ve found yourself in a bad milk allergy or intolerance, or you have walked the road of healthy living your whole life, there are PLENTY of options for you! Narrow down the vast scope of choices by your own health priorities.Now you know that you don’t have to give up “milk” entirely, go explore! Knowledge gives you the power to make the best choices for a long and happy life!
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