As a Naturopath, milk is one of the first things I recommend my patients cut out of their diets. While we’re taught that milk is a good source of calcium, it also happens to contain the common intolerance lactose and proteins that may also trigger immune responses such as eczema or asthma. You can read more about my thoughts on milk on our Is Milk For You? blog.
Whether you’re lactose or milk protein intolerant, or just looking for a milk alternative, there are plenty of options to choose from. But which is best for your health?
Almond milk is our favourite milk alternative for everything from smoothies to coffee. Nutritionally, it is low in kilojoules and saturated fat, contains healthy fats and a moderate amount of protein. While unsweetened almond milk is readily available in supermarkets, it’s so easy to make your own almond milk using our recipe that we stopped buying it and started making it. It’s surprisingly easy, quick and cost effective! Plus, not only is homemade almond milk better for your health, it’s also better for the environment.
Coconut milk is a great milk alternative for cooking and also makes delicious smoothies and hot chocolates. Nutritionally, it is low in carbs and kilojoules, but contains more saturated fat and less protein and calcium than other alternatives. Be careful if buying coconut milk from the supermarket, as some varieties are blended with other dairy-free milks.
If you suffer from allergies, rice milk is likely to be the best milk alternative for you. Nutritionally, it doesn’t stack up as well as other milk substitutes as it is naturally high in sugar and low in protein and calcium, however, it is also low in fat and saturated fat.
I don’t generally recommend oat milk, as it contains the common allergen gluten, which I also tell patients to avoid. However, if you find coconut milk too rich, or you don’t like the taste of nuts, oat milk might be for you. It’s relatively low in fat and has a moderate amount of protein, as well as beta glucan, which is known to lower cholesterol.
Soy milk is another one I don’t generally recommend, as I’ve been quite clear about my thoughts about Soy on our blog. However, if you are going to drink soy milk, ensure it is a fermented product. Most soy milks have more protein on average than other milks, so it can also be a good alternative for vegans.
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