Make no mistakes, leading a healthy, plant-based lifestyle comes with the odd challenge here and there. For instance, it means waving a long and hard goodbye to the likes of butter, cheese, and, of course, milk. If the latter (or, indeed, the latte!) leaves a big gap in your current diet, though, there are alternatives that you can try.
From soya milk to almond milk, there seems to be no end to plant-based milks on the market these days. It can all seem rather confusing when you first start out. Should you find it hard to choose which is right for you, doing a little research is the answer.
Since the plant-based milk you decide on is likely to be something of a dietary staple, finding the most nutritious option is obviously the healthiest way to go. But which one fits the bill? Well, according to new study from McGill University, there’s one particular type of plant-based milk which reigns high over the rest. Here’s what you need to know:
Most Nutritious: Soy Milk
For over 40 years, soy milk has been available as an alternative to dairy products and its great many health benefits are widely reported and understood. From having miraculous anti-carcinogenic properties to offering a balanced drink, there’s a whole lot of reasons you may wish to give it a whirl for yourself. What’s more, this latest research suggests that it also has the most balanced nutritional profile of all the alternatives available. It’s rich in calcium, proteins, and healthy fats too.
Lacking Nutrients: Almond Milk
Almond milk is becoming increasingly popular, thanks to the fact that it has a pleasing, sweet flavour, which many love. But is it actually any good for you? While the research found that this this plant-based milk is high in monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA), which help with weight loss and lowering cholesterol, it’s lacking in other areas. In fact, almond milk does not provide many of the essential nutrients that we find in most other milk alternatives.
Tasty But Low In Nutrients: Rice Milk
While the taste of rice milk may be oh-so-sweet, it offers very little in terms of nutritional value. With low levels of protein, fat, and calcium, there’s not much to this tasty drink. Worryingly, when used as a staple, researchers warn that it could lead to malnutrition, especially in children. That means that a direct swap from dairy milk to rice milk could be a dangerous and ill-informed move.
Low-Calorie: Coconut Milk
Similarly, coconut milk tastes good and is low in calories, but has very few notable nutrients. Packing zero proteins and low levels of calcium, it’s hard to see what nutritional benefits – if any – people can gain by drinking this plant-based milk. While it may be fine as a cheeky sweet addition to your coffee (delicious!), it’s by no means the answer to your dairy-free woes and shouldn’t be used as a long-term staple.
So, which should you choose?
As with all things in life, getting the right nutrients for your body is all about balance. Now that you fully understand what each plant-based milk has to offer, it’s about choosing the ones that suit your lifestyle and tastes. Still, should you be looking for an alternative to dairy milk that you can use on a regular basis, it’s plain to see that the healthiest option is soya milk as it offers the greatest nutritional profile. But hey, we’re not preaching here – as always, the choice is yours!