Got milk? It’s a simple question that was at the core of a long-standing campaign promoting cow milk for years. From billboards to print ads, television spots and more – people were constantly asked if they had milk by celebrities, athletes and other recognizable stars from the time period.
While it’s easy to tell if you’ve got milk by opening your refrigerator and taking a peek inside, the answer to the question, “What’s the best milk for me?” isn’t nearly as simple to discern. That’s because the answer to that question is a highly personal one that can vary greatly from one person to the next.
Factors to Consider When Choosing the Milk That’s Best for You
If you’re attempting to determine which milk is truly the healthiest for you, there are certain things you should consider. One of the most important factors is whether you have any allergies or intolerances to milk products. If you have a lactose intolerance, for example, you may want to avoid cow’s milk or choose a milk from which the lactose has been removed. Similarly, people who are allergic to nuts may want to bypass almond and cashew milk.
Your weight is another thing you should think about. If you’re trying to gain weight, whole or full-fat cow’s milk might be the best option for you. Individuals who are trying to drop weight may be better served with consuming unsweetened, plant-based milk like soy milk.
The diet you’re following is yet another factor that’s worthy of your attention. Given their dietary restrictions, vegans will shy away from milk produced by animals in favor of plant-based alternatives. Vegetarians and others with more liberal diet plans can consume animal milk, plant-based milk or both. If your diet consists of organic food exclusively, your choice of the best milk will be limited to varieties that are certified organic.
Whether you’re committed to eating organic or you’re unconcerned with how the food you eat is grown and produced, taste is an important factor you can’t afford to overlook. If you don’t like the flavor of a given milk, it reduces the likelihood that you’ll drink it or consume it often enough to enjoy the health benefits it has the potential to yield. Luckily, plant-based milk is readily available in a variety of flavors these days, making it easier for you to find the tasty milk that’s best for you.
Popular Types of Milk
If you head into the dairy section of your local supermarket, it’s likely that you’ll see an array of traditional milk products and a variety of alternatives to cow’s milk. To choose the milk that’s most beneficial for you, it can help to be familiar with some of the popular kinds of milk you can choose from in a typical grocery store.
It’s common knowledge that cow’s milk contains an assortment of healthy nutrients, such as calcium, protein and potassium, to name a few. Cow’s milk is widely available with varying levels of fat, from non-fat varieties to full-fat dairy milk. The long-standing recommendation from organizations like the American Heart Association has been for people to consume non-fat milk. Although that’s true, more recent research shows that the saturated fat absorbed from dairy fat doesn’t increase a person’s risk for developing cardiovascular disease.
While that’s a relief, the news isn’t all good for cow’s milk. This type of dairy product contains two types of beta-casein protein, A1 and A2. Research indicates that the former beta-casein protein may be an inflammatory agent that causes or at least contributes to gastrointestinal issues. If you experience “tummy trouble” after you consume cow’s milk, you may want to stick with milk that only has the A2 beta-casein protein.
Cashew milk typically contains about four grams of protein per serving. A single serving also normally contains eight percent of a person’s recommended daily iron intake. Many cashew milk varieties have as much as a half-teaspoon of sugar per serving, however. If you have diabetes or you’re trying to lose weight, you should look for unsweetened cashew milk or find another type of milk to drink.
Almond milk is often championed for its sweet, nutty flavor and silky mouthfeel, but its health benefits are even more laudable. Almond milk is considered heart healthy thanks to its monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. The milk also contains a bevy of vitamins and minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, and phosphorous, among others. Like cashew milk, almond milk often contains sugar so it’s wise for some consumers to search for unsweetened or light almond milk products.
Soy milk is a great source for the protein your body needs. This type of milk is heralded for being naturally low in fat and sugar. While that’s the case, you should still check to make sure the soy milk you buy is unsweetened or that it only contains a minimal amount of added sugar depending on your dietary restrictions.
Similarly, you should seek out organic and non-GMO varieties of soy milk to ensure they’re not processed too much. When products are highly processed, they’re often treated with preservatives, which may cause inflammation.
One serving of oat milk usually contains between two and three grams of fiber. In general, an adult adhering to a 2,000-calorie per day diet should consume 25 grams of fiber daily, something oat milk can help you achieve. Fiber can enhance your digestion and prevent incidences of constipation. By sticking to a high-fiber diet, you can reduce the chances that you’ll develop an array of conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes and diverticular disease.
Drink the Milk That’s Most Beneficial for You
Now that you’re familiar with some common varieties of milk, you’re well on your way to finding the milk that’s truly the best for you. No matter which milk you choose, remember to drink it regularly.
Would you like more information about the types of milk that are available in a typical grocery store, or do you have some thoughts about milk you’d like to share? If so, contact Organic Restaurants. We look forward to hearing from you!