Not sure which type of milk is best for you? Or simply curious about the major health benefits of different types of milk? The breakfast drink has come a long way since most of us were children and drinking a daily glass of skim or 2% milk. Now when you walk through the milk aisle at the grocery store, there are shelves upon shelves of dairy and non-dairy options and alternatives. Below, with the help of Sarah Mirkin, registered dietitian and nutrition expert, we’re breaking down the body benefits and nutrients provided by seven milk sources. Read on to find out which provides the nourishment and vitamins you’re looking for to live your healthiest life.
“Excellent source of calcium, potassium, vitamin B12, phosphorus, riboflavin, niacin, and vitamin D. One glass of milk also provides eight grams of high-quality protein, which is equivalent to one ounce of meat. The downsides are that many people have lactose intolerance or are allergic to the protein in milk. Luckily there are lactose-free varieties of dairy milk. For those who are allergic to the protein, then plant-based milk is the better option. The nutrients in milk are important for building healthy, strong bones.”
“Sheep’s milk actually provides more than double the protein of cow’s milk. It’s also a very good source of calcium, phosphorus, zinc, B vitamins, vitamin E, and vitamin D. If you’re watching your calories though, it has about double the calories and fats of dairy milk. Studies suggest sheep milk has many health benefits, such as reducing cholesterol and blood pressure, fighting cancer, preventing birth defects, reducing inflammation, and strengthening bones. Sheep milk has also been shown to be easier to digest for some people with lactose intolerance, and even people with allergies to milk.”
“Goat milk is also an excellent source of calcium and a very good source of protein. Studies suggest that it may aid in weight loss, help prevent heart disease, strengthen bones, and increase immunity. It’s also typically easier to digest for people with lactose intolerance.”
“Unsweetened almond milk is a good choice for someone trying to cut calories. It has a small amount of anti-inflammatory fat that is heart-healthy for disease prevention, healthy skin and nails, and shiny hair. However, it is lacking in proteins and frequently contains gums as fillers that can be difficult to digest. It also often contains phytic acid, which makes it difficult for the body to absorb calcium, iron, and zinc.”
Jeff Leaf from Mylkman adds, “Mylkman Almond Mylk is unique in many ways. First, our almond mylk is full of antioxidants, vitamin E, and magnesium. By using raw, organic European unpasteurized almonds, combined with the sweet, powerful taste of organic Thai coconut water, you have the best nutrients in a bottle. The combination of almonds and coconut water provides benefits against diabetes, supports heart health, and reduces blood pressure. Did you know Almond Mylk gives you the highest volume of calcium over any other milk alternatives?”
“Soy milk is a good source of high-quality protein and calcium. It has approximately the same protein as dairy milk without the calories and carbohydrates. Make sure to choose the unsweetened varieties. The sweetened ones can be very high in sugar. Try to choose less processed varieties that don’t contain any fillers or preservatives. The downside is that, even though it’s lactose-free, soy milk made from soybeans cannot be tolerated by individuals with irritable bowel syndrome or SIBO.”
“Pea protein milk is an excellent source of pure protein. It’s an optimal choice for vegans who need to obtain adequate protein but are intolerant to soy. It is high in calcium, iron, and vitamin D. Pea protein milk also contains DHA omega-3 fatty acids, which are heart-healthy and anti-inflammatory. They are also very beneficial during pregnancy for a baby’s brain development.”
“Coconut milk is fine for those looking to reduce carbohydrates, but it’s almost 100% fat. It has no protein. As a registered dietitian, I’d recommend limiting coconut milk. There are very few proven health benefits.
There’s also hemp, oat, and flax milk. Flaxseed and hemp are similar. I don’t recommend oat milk because of its high carbs and very low protein.”