We drank it as kids. Added it to our cereal or put it into coffee. But like everything else, Milk too has changed in the sense that there are now so many different choices. A few years ago, cow’s milk was it. Now choice is the word of the day. Here is a review of some of the most popular options.
Whole Cow’s Milk. A typical 8 oz. glass contains some 150 calories, 7-8g of protein and fat and about 30% of the RDA’s worth of calcium. Research has concluded that cow’s milk can lower blood pressure, reduce appetite and possibly reduce body fat due to its higher calcium content (though this is now becoming debatable).
Almond Milk. A typical glass contains about 35 calories, 1 g of protein and carbohydrate and about 3g of fat. It also contains about 30% of the RDA’s worth of calcium and 25% of Vitamin D (same as cow’s milk). It is low in calories, high in calcium and healthy fats and tastes great.
Almonds are probably the healthiest food substance for the heart itself, making this an extremely viable option. In my opinion, it is the healthiest choice.
Coconut milk. It is about 50 calories in a glass with 1 g each of protein and carbs. Fat is about 5g. Vitamin D is 30% but calcium is only around 10%. Again, a very tasty option, coconut milk contains healthy fats which can allow the person to feel full (and thus reduce the desire to consume more calories) as well as have a very favorable effect on bad cholesterol.
For those whose cholesterol and triglycerides are an issue, this would be the drink of choice.
Hemp Milk. This drink contains about 100 calories in a glass, 4g of protein and double the amount of carbs. It has 6g of fat and the same percentage of Vitamin D and calcium as Almond and Cow’s milk. It is a nutty flavor, creamy and thick. Where Hemp milk separates itself is its high content of magnesium and other minerals.
For those who may have issues with bone(s) such as osteoporosis, this is the drink to focus on.
Soy Milk. Contains about the same amounts of calories, proteins, carbs and fats and its counterparts. Soy milk is a high protein, iron-rich milky liquid produced from pressing ground, cooked soybeans. For those who are lactose intolerant, this is the most common option. Where Soy separates itself is that it contains good amounts of thiamine, potassium and copper.
I saved is one for last as there is much controversy surrounding soy. On the one side, we have entire cultures who have used this substance for centuries and have derived tremendous benefit from it. On the other side, a number of studies have questioned the effectiveness and safety of it, particularly with children (because of very low Vitamin A content) and with women (may interfere with estrogen based hormonal issues). In my opinion, the problem is not the soy bean (or milk) itself; rather, it is the processing method that seems to be the problem. The isoflavones in soy undergo a biological change when soy is processed. Studies have shown these altered isoflavones can actually cause increased tumor growth, namely in the case of breast cancer.
Of all the options available, I have consistently chosen Almond Milk. It is extremely healthy, tasty and if an apple a day, keeps the doctor away. . . a glass of almond milk will keep the cardiologist at bay.