Gone are the days when we easily bought milk from the supermarket without thought. With a plethora of options these days – not just with various levels of fat content – which is the ideal milk for you? Here's a rundown.
Also known as 'regular' milk, this is the most naturally nutritious choice. It's higher in calcium than others and also has essential nutrients including vitamins A, D and B-12, potassium and protein. Not only is it packed with nutrients, its sugar also comes from naturally-occurring lactose and not added sugar, which means it's good for you. But do note that full-fat cow's milk is high in saturated fat so try to drink it in small amounts or go for the low-fat or skimmed versions instead. And if you're lactose intolerant, try a lactose-free version.
This milk has no cholesterol, which is great news for health-conscious consumers. It's also lactose-free, so it's ideal if you're lactose intolerant. And because it has a creamier consistency than other non-dairy milks, it's the best option to start with if you're switching from regular milk. It's low in calories and fat, and high in calcium and vitamin D. It is, however, very low in protein so make sure you're topping that up in other ways. Also, get the unsweetened or light varieties as most versions in the market have added sugar.
This is what you should drink if you love dairy but can't digest lactose. Goat's milk is nutritionally similar to cow's milk, but with less lactose. It has as much iron, calcium and potassium and is also high in zinc and essential fatty acids. But it's high in calories and fat and some find it an acquired taste that's a bit hard to swallow at first.
Its protein content is comparable to cow's milk, it's low in fat and lactose-free. Soy is a heart-healthy ingredient and three or four glasses of soy milk a day is recommended to manage cholesterol levels. But most over-the-counter options have added sugar so try to get an unsweetened one if possible. And check that the pack you're buying has added nutrients such as calcium and vitamins A and D.
Made from unsweetened brown rice, this is ideal for those with food allergies. It has no cholesterol, lactose or saturated fat and the sugar content is naturally-occurring. However, it has more calories than other non-daily milk alternatives, and is low in calcium and protein. Get the fortified version, which will boost your calcium levels.
Coconut is hot right now, in almost every form. Although it's high in saturated fats, the unique fatty acids in coconut milk might actually help you to lose weight, as they're considered 'healthy' fats. It could also improve immune function – as well as your skin and hair – and reduce risk of heart disease. It's low in calories but is also low in protein and calcium so consume it in moderation (two cups a day) for best results and always drink the fresh version.
Discover exactly HOW good coconuts are for you by reading our story 6 amazing health and skincare benefits of coconut oil and how to use it.
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