Are you curious to know more about cow milk alternatives? There are many types of plant-based milk, and it is easy to feel overwhelmed by the choices. Among these beverages, one stands out for its nutritional content and delicate taste. It’s almond milk.
Some people have to replace cow milk with plant-based milk because they are allergic or intolerant to casein (cow milk protein) or lactose. Others may be open to trying something different. Regardless of your situation, there are many reasons to drink almond milk.
Dairy products play a significant role in the American diet. There is no doubt that cow milk is highly nutritious, but is it necessary to drink cow milk? There are other foods that can provide your body with protein, calcium, and vitamins. Plant-based milk also has nutritional value.
Almond milk is one of the most common cow milk alternatives, together with soy milk and coconut milk. So, which type of milk is best for your health? They all have pros and cons, but the only significant negative aspect of almond milk is that it is not recommended for people with nut allergies.
Almond milk is low in calories and sugar, and it contains vitamins. One serving of unsweetened almond milk has less than 50 calories. Almond milk does not contain saturated fats, and for this reason, it is the perfect choice to help reduce the risk of heart disease. Replacing cow milk with almond milk can also help people who are trying to reduce sugar intake, especially those with diabetes. Besides, many brands supplement plain almond milk with vitamin A, D, B12, and calcium. Reading labels is crucial to make sure you buy a brand without added sugar that provides the body with excellent nutritional value. Almond milk is not a good source of protein, but you can always get protein from other foods, such as eggs.
Cow milk is high in calories, protein, and calcium, but it may have side effects:
Cow’s milk allergy is the most common food allergy in infants and children. Symptoms include skin reactions and gastrointestinal disorders such as constipation and diarrhea. Adults can develop cow milk allergy because of the antibiotics given to cows. Recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) is an artificial hormone that dairy farmers use to increase milk production, and this hormone may cause allergies.
A team of researchers investigated the effects of cow milk consumption on mortality and fracture incidence. More than 100,000 men and women participated in the research. Results suggested that high milk intake may be linked to higher mortality and higher fracture incidence in women. Another study found that osteoporosis rates are highest in countries where dairy intake represents a significant part of diet.
Some studies suggest that diets high in calcium may increase the risk of prostate cancer, and additional research has shown that dairy products may be linked to an increased risk of ovarian cancer. Keep in mind that the artificial hormones given to cows may have significant negative side effects and lead to chronic diseases. When choosing a milk brand, opt for milk from pasture-raised, grass-fed cows that aren’t fed any antibiotics or hormones.
Soy milk is rich in protein, but soy may have detrimental effects on thyroid function and interfere with the absorption of synthetic thyroid hormone. A study on infertility suggested that higher intake of soy foods may be linked to lower sperm concentration. Soy is also a common allergen.
Coconut milk rarely causes allergies, but it is high in saturated fats. Several studies have found that foods that contain saturated fats, including coconut oil and coconut milk, may increase bad cholesterol and cause heart disease.
Research shows that in the last years more people—75% percent worldwide—are choosing plant-based alternatives for medical reasons, including allergies and intolerances. Additionally, in countries where cow milk is expensive, plant-based milk represents a more affordable option.
It is important to mention that more than 10% of people who are allergic to cow milk are also allergic to soy milk. A systematic review of tree nut allergies found that almond allergy was commonly reported in the UK, but not in the rest of the world.
A team of researchers investigated the effects of milk on prostate cancer. Results showed that cow milk stimulated the growth of prostate cancer cells, but almond milk lowered the growth rate of these cells by over 30%. Almond milk contains monounsaturated fats, which can help prevent endometrial cancer. A large study conducted in Europe suggests that healthy fats may also decrease the risk of liver cancer. Additional research has shown that saturated fats may be linked to higher breast density and increase the risk of breast cancer.
Almond milk is low in calories, so it is a great ally for your weight-loss goals. For this reason, diets that are focused on healthy fat consumption, like the ketogenic diet, often include almond milk intake. Besides, plain almond milk does not affect blood sugar levels, and it is an excellent source of energy. A study concluded that replacing saturated fats with monounsaturated fats increases physical activity and improves mood.
The healthy fats in almond milk lower bad cholesterol, and they also increase the levels of good cholesterol. These activities help reduce the risk of heart disease. Studies show that monounsaturated fats may regulate blood pressure and blood sugar levels. These healthy fats may also help to reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome, a cluster of disorders that can lead to cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
If you are concerned that almond milk does not provide your body with enough calcium, you can purchase brands that add calcium to almond milk. Although almond milk does not contain much calcium, it has healthy fats and vitamins that can support bone health. A team of researchers investigated the effect of different diets on female mice. The mice fed a diet rich in monounsaturated fats showed a reduction in the risk of osteoporosis.
Almond milk contains vitamin E, which is a powerful antioxidant. It has the ability to fight free radicals and protect the body. Studies found that vitamin E is a great ally in the fight against a variety of health conditions including oxidative stress, cancer, atherosclerosis, and diabetes.
It is important to read labels before purchasing almond milk because there are many different types available on the market. Some of them have added flavors and sugar; others have higher nutritional value because they add vitamins and calcium. Try different brands and find one that works for you, or make your own almond milk.
Almond milk is versatile, and it is easy to incorporate it into your diet. Almond milk is perfect for breakfast. You can pour some in a bowl, and eat it with oats or granola. But you can also make delicious smoothies. Additionally, you can add almond milk to coffee and tea, and you can create scrumptious desserts, like rice pudding, ice cream, or cupcakes.