There are a lot of obvious reasons why more and more people are making the switch to plant-based milk products from the usual dairy. These include food allergies, lactose intolerance, and diet restrictions due to underlying medical conditions. But what if you don’t have these health concerns to think about? Is it worth it to make the switch? Here are some reasons why you should consider drinking plant-based milks instead of dairy.
They are Easier to Digest
Most adults may find themselves having difficulty digesting milk because the human body stops producing lactase — the enzyme that digests lactose (the main sugar found in milk) — between the ages of two and five. When the lactose builds up and ferments in the colon, it results in stomach cramps, nausea, flatulence, diarrhea, and other digestive issues.
If you wish to continue drinking milk well into adulthood, plant-based milks are your best options. Soy milk contains the highest protein among all other plant-based milks, but you should also consider various other plant-based milks for their other nutritional benefits, such as almond milk for vitamin E or rice milk for selenium. You should also opt for plant-based milks that have the fewest ingredients (ideally, the main ingredients should just be the nuts or grains themselves and water) and natural flavorings like vanilla or chocolate.
They are Lower in Calories and Sugar
Even if you buy skim milk or fat-free milk, plant-based milks still have a lower calorie count overall. For comparison, 1 cup of skim milk contains about 90 calories while 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk contains just about 30 calories. Unsweetened cashew milk has the lowest calorie content among all plant milks, at just 25 calories per cup. This makes plant-based milks a much better option for those who want to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.
Unsweetened plant milks are also a good choice for diabetics, since these products contain no natural sugars and therefore don’t cause blood sugar levels to rise. Cow’s milk, on the other hand, contain about 13 to 16 grams of sugars per cup.
They are Richer in Calcium and Retain More Nutrients
It may be hard to believe, but it’s true. Most plant-based milks like almond, chia, and soy milk contain more calcium (sometimes up to 50 percent more, if it is enriched) than cow’s milk. What’s more, plant-based milks also have natural components that make it easier for the human body to absorb, process, and transport calcium to the cells. On the other hand, studies have shown that the human body loses up to one third of the calcium that it gets from dairy milks, mostly due to their high sodium and protein content.
Additionally, when it comes to food, the more processes it takes to convert it into a final product, the more nutrients it loses. Plant-based milks undergo minimal processing and therefore retain most of their nutritional value.
They Offer More Variety
As earlier mentioned, one of the most common reasons why people make the switch to plant-based milks is due to lactose intolerance or allergies. But what of those people who have nut or soy allergies? In this regard, plant-based milks still hold an edge over dairy, since there are more options available. These include grain milks like rice and oat milks, as well as coconut and hemp milks, just to name a few.
Flavor-wise, plant milks also have more to offer, which is definitely a plus for those who dislike the taste of dairy. Whether you’re looking for a buttery or nutty taste or a natural and mild sweetness you’re sure to find a plant-based milk product that will suit your preferences.
It may not be an easy transition from dairy to plant-based milks, but in the end, considering all these benefits, the switch it definitely worth it.
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