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Milk Alternatives: Almond, Soy, Coconut, Rice and More

You've seen them on the grocery store shelves and perhaps even read about the benefits of plant-based milks in health magazines. Are you ready to give them a try? Here is a break down to help you chose a healthy dairy alternative.
Anonymous
Nov 1, 2012

Soy milk. Soy milk consists of a soybean extraction mixed with water and a natural sweetener. Those with dairy allergies and an intolerance for lactose find soy milk's thickness and drinkability a welcome surprise. Active.com reports that new processing techniques have improved soy milk's flavor, so if you've tried it unsuccessfully in the past, you may want to give it another shot. Soy milk is cholesterol-free and naturally low in unsaturated fats. Although it has less protein than cow's milk, soy has the most of any milk substitute.

Rice milk. Rice milk consists of partially milled rice mixed with water. It comes in many flavors, including chocolate and vanilla. Rice milk is the preferred alternative for those with milk allergies, as it is the least allergenic. Rice milk contains little protein and little nutritional value other than added nutrients. It also contains more sugar than soy. The good news it that it tastes good. It also has no saturated fat or cholesterol.

Coconut milk. Any fan of the TV shows Survivor or Gilligan's Island understands the nutritional value of coconuts. Anyone who's extracted coconut milk by grating mature coconuts understands the nutritional value of coconut milk. Coconut milk is an excellent source of phosphorous, which, when combined with calcium, helps strengthen bones. A cup of coconut milk also contains iron, which helps prevent anemia. High concentrations of dietary fiber produces a full feeling in coconut milk consumers and is good for weight loss.

Almond milk. Anyone who's tried to milk an almond may be pleasantly surprised to note that almond milk is a tasty alternative for dieters, although it contains little protein. Almond milk consists of blended roasted almonds that have been fortified with calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin E. Of all milk alternatives, almond milk is lowest in calories. It can also be used as a substitute for cow's milk in most recipes.

Oat milk. Those who crave a slightly sweet and nutty flavored milk substitute should rejoice. Oat milk is a good substitute for cream and has a higher protein content than rice or almond milk. Those with celiac disease or with gluten sensitivity should not consume oat milk. Soluble fiber found in oat milk may reduce cholesterol.

When looking for a milk alternative, be sure to read labels. Not all milk alternatives are equally beneficial for your health.

 

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