By Elizabeth von Klan
Although cow’s milk remains a staple beverage in our culture, there’s still a variety of non-dairy milk options to choose from, like soy, rice, almond, and coconut milks. With so many choices, it can be difficult to know which non-dairy milk to choose. Here is a short n’ sweet guide on how to switch up your dairy routine with the benefits of each alternative milk choice!
Soy milk is often forgotten as a fantastic protein source. It’s a great option for vegans that still need to fulfill their protein needs, or can’t resist a bit of milk in their daily cup of coffee. Drink more soy milk in the morning to allow proper protein digestion throughout the day, and to balance out the higher intake of protein eaten at dinner time.
For those looking to lower their cholesterol levels, all plant milks are cholesterol free. Although rice milk doesn’t have the protein that soy milk has, it can be a great option when a soy allergy is present. It is also fortified with all of the vitamins and minerals usually found in cow’s milk, like calcium or Vitamin A and D.
If healthy skin is what you want, almond milk contains plenty of Vitamin E to keep your skin supple and soft. In addition to the many vitamins and minerals almond milk has, it even contains fiber, often forgotten in our diets due to inadequate consumption of vegetables. However, its protein content is not as rich as soy, so don’t rely it on a major source of protein.
Coconut milk is different in composition from almond, rice, and soy milk because of its high saturated fat content; however, the fatty acids found in coconut milk have been proven to lowering risk of heart disease. Look for “cold-pressured” coconut milk that’s been less processed and still contains a higher concentration of vitamins and minerals.
Here’s an extra tip: Try to avoid milks flavored vanilla or chocolate to maximize your nutritional benefits and prevent consumption of excess added sugars.