Which milk is best?

It’s no longer a simple question of skimmed or semi skimmed, you now have a choice of soy, almond and oat to name just a few!

 So, which one should you choose, what’s the difference and which is best for you and the planet ?

1. Hemp milk

Hemp milk is made from ground and soaked hemp seeds. Made from the same plant as cannabis there has been some concern that hemp milk causes a “high,” However, hemp contains lower cannabinoid concentrations than marijuana strains. Additionally, the cannabinoids reside mainly in the flowers rather than the seeds. As such, hemp seeds, and therefore hemp milk, will not cause you to get high.  

Hemp milk is non-dairy and has an earthy, nutty flavour and a creamy consistency, it is also good for those who have tree nut allergies. You can use hemp in coffee, tea, cereal, smoothies, and any other recipe that calls for milk as it will not separate in the heat.

Hemp milk contains many essential nutrients and may provide several important health benefits. It contains healthy fats, protein, vitamins, and minerals. It has a low impact on the environment as is a “niche crops” and is grown in small quantities.

Compared to whole cow’s milk, hemp milk has fewer calories, protein, and carbohydrates. It also has more protein and healthy fats than other plant-based milk alternatives. Unlike other non-dairy milk options, hemp milk contains all essential amino acids, making it a complete protein. 

Most of the fat in hemp milk is unsaturated, including omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. These acids are essential for biological functions, and you can only get them through foods since your body doesn’t produce them.

Hemp seeds are also high in polyunsaturated fats  and some research  shows that by replacing saturated fats with these more healthful fats can help lower a person’s overall cholesterol.

2. Oat milk

This vegan alternative to milk is made by blending water and oats, and then straining out the liquid. It is naturally sweet and high in carbs. As it contains some soluble fibre it tastes a bit creamier than other non-dairy varieties and can help to slow digestion.

This means that it can help stabilise blood sugar levels and keep you feeling full for longer.

One study showed that oat milk may even reduce your cholesterol, this is due to the soluble fibre it contains. This 5-week study of 52 men showed that drinking oat milk lowered LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, compared with a control beverage.

Unflavoured oat milk has the highest amount of calories of plant-based milk varieties. Although the sugar is natural, oat milk is very high in carbohydrates.

Along with soy milk, oat milk provides more riboflaving, than cow’s milk. Oats require six times less water to grow than almonds, so this milk has a smaller environmental impact. The crop can be raised in diverse locations around the world. The oat pulp left over after processing is often repurposed into livestock feed.

3. Almond milk

Almond milk is one of the most widely consumed plant-based milks. It is a nutritious, nut-based drink that can be made by soaking, grinding and then straining raw almonds.

It’s a good option for those who cannot drink cow’s milk but many people drink it just because they like the taste.

Research conducted on almond milk suggests that the consumption of almond milk can be an effective solution in children suffering with allergy or intolerance against animal milk. In few cases, it was found to be even better than the generally followed alternatives like soy-based meals and protein hydrolysate formula.

Compared to cow’s milk, almond milk has less saturated fat and more unsaturated fats. These healthy fats in almond milk may help people lose weight and keep it off.

When you add almond milk to hot beverages, the milk separates so many manufacturers add something to prevent this. Owning 64% of the non-dairy milk market share in the U.S. Almonds require a lot of water to grow and as most grow in California which is often parched, it is not that environmentally friendly.

Although almond milk is a naturally good source of the antioxidant vitamin E, it’s low in protein and many other nutrients. Many brands are fortified with calcium and vitamins A and D, but the amounts can vary by brand.

Nutrition Information- one cup

 

Hemp

Oat

Almond

Coconut

Cow

Soy

Calories

130

120

41

552

149

80

Protein

4 grams

3 grams

1 gram

5 grams

8 grams

7 grams

Carbohydrates

5 grams

16 grams

2 grams

13 grams

12 grams

3 grams

Fibre

1 gram

2 grams

0.5 grams

5 grams

0.5 grams

2 grams

Sugar

15 grams

 

 

 

 

1 gram

Vitamins

A,D,B12, Calcium, Iron, Phosphorous, Zinc

B12,D,A,

Riboflavin, Calcium,

Phosphorous

D,E,Potassium,

Calcium

C,Folate,Iron, Magnesium,

Potassium,

Copper, Manganese,

Selenium

D,B12,Calcium,

Riboflavin,

Phosphorous,

Selenium, Potassium

B12, D, Calcium,

 

4. Coconut milk

    Coconut milk comes from the white flesh of mature coconuts, which is then mixed with water to make milk.

    The milk has a thick consistency and a rich, creamy texture and is very high in calories. 

    Coconut milk is a bit higher in fat than other plant milks, but the medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) in coconuts is linked to some heart health benefits, such as higher HDL (good) cholesterol levels .

    Coconut milk is much less polluting and water-intensive than cow's milk—coconuts even grow on carbon-sequestering trees—but is criticised for its land use and labour practices.

    5. Cow’s milk

      A glass of dairy milk produces almost three times more greenhouse gas than any plant-based milk and there has been much debate recently on the benefits of cows milk.

      Although cow’s milk is full of calcium, vitamins and protein, it also triggers four of the ageing processes – the slowdown of our digestion (causing bloating, constipation and diarrhoea); inflammation (mucus, stiff joints, IBS); hormonal imbalance (affecting blood sugar and oestrogen levels) and is acid-forming.

      Cow’s milk is acid forming and therefore needs to be balanced by eating alkalising foods such as vegetables and wheatgrass juice  otherwise calcium (an alkaline) is leached from bone and teeth, negating the effects of this so called calcium-rich food. 

      It has also been linked to serious health conditions, including diabetes, osteoporosis and some cancers, and it can be a major allergen linked to asthma and eczema.

      The protein in cow’s milk is a common allergen. Most children outgrow it, but some people have a lifelong allergy and need to avoid this beverage and foods containing it

      In addition, an estimated 65% of the population has some degree of difficulty digesting lactose, a type of sugar in cow’s milk .

      6. Soy milk

        Soy ‘milk’ is a plant-based alternative to dairy; it is made by soaking and grinding soy beans and may be made at home or bought commercially.

        Commercial soy ‘milk’ may include the addition of ingredients such as sweeteners and salt, and the product may also be fortified with nutrients including vitamins B2, B12, D, calcium and iodine.

        Nutritionally, soy milk comes closest to cow’s milk. This is partly because soybeans are an excellent source of complete protein, as well as because it’s fortified so that its nutritional profile closely resembles that of milk .

        Soy is a great option if you want to avoid dairy but want a milk beverage that’s higher in protein.

        Soya beans, and products made from them, contain natural compounds called isoflavones , these are powerful anti-oxidants and as such help to minimise the damage, known as oxidative stress, which is caused by molecules called free radicals. 

        Soya is a useful source of plant protein providing all 9 of the essential amino acids we need for growth, repair and for functions like immunity. The digestibility of the protein in soya, which refers to how well our body can use the protein is good, with some studies suggesting it may even be comparable to that of animal protein. Of all the plant-based dairy alternatives, soya ‘milk’ is the most comparable to cow’s milk in protein contribution.

        Soy has been the subject of controversy, as most soybeans grown in the United States are genetically modified to resist the herbicide glyphosate.

        However, regularly consuming soy foods is linked to health benefits, including improved cholesterol and blood pressure levels.

        To conclude, different milks are good for different people and purposes, we hope the above information help you to make the right decision for you.