Plant based Milk substitutes:
Research shows that over the past decade there is a changing need in the demand for the dairy products. Therefore, food product development is creating a newer alternative of healthy foods with high nutritional values. Everyone is aware of the nutritional profile of the Cow’s Milk. But despite its winning nutritional profile people are choosing the new dairy-free living. As a result, there was an introduction of new Plant based Milk substitutes.
Nutritional Profile Of Plant based Milk Substitutes-
Plant based Milk substitutes are colloidal suspensions or emulsions consisting of dissolved or disintegrated plant materials. Or alternatively, we can say they are the water extracts of oil seeds, pseudocereals, legumes or cereals which imitates cow’s milk in appearance and consistency. They are prepared by grinding the plant raw material into a slurry and then draining it to remove the shaggy particles.
Although there is no standard definition of the Plant based Milk alternatives. They are generally classified into 5 important categories-
Pseudo-cereal based: Quinoa milk, Teff milk, Amaranth milk.
Nut-based: Almond milk, Coconut milk, Hazelnut milk, Pistachio milk, Walnut milk.
Cereal-based: Oat milk, Rice milk, Corn milk, Spelt milk.
Legume-based: Soy milk, Peanut milk, Lupin milk, Cowpea milk.
Seed-based: Sesame milk, Flax milk, Hemp milk, Sunflower milk.
The main medical reason for such a substitution is due to lactose intolerance (LI), cow’s milk allergy (CMA), cholesterol issues and phenylketonuria and the other non-medical reason. It can be the lifestyle choice of an individual who prefers a vegan diet or vegetarian diet or may be due to scarcity or high rates of mammal milk. As a result, the consumption of Plant based Milk has been increased due to the absence of cholesterol and lactose making it suitable and the right choice of dairy product for those suffering from lactose intolerance, cholesterol or heart disease.
1. Lactose Intolerance-
Lactose intolerance is a condition that hinders the lactose digestion due to lactase deficiency in the body. So, whenever such people consume such lactose rich food they suffer from abdominal pain, flatulence or bloating. Few studies also show that 80% of people from African origin and 100% people of Asian and American Indian origin are lactose intolerant. The only treatment for LI is to consume lactose-free products and to replace the milk and dairy products with dairy free or lactose-free alternatives.
2. Cow’s Milk Allergy-
Cow’s milk allergy is a disorder in which the immune system reacts to one or more milk proteins causing an inflammatory response. The way to treat CMa is by completely avoiding the milk products by a cow.
3. Cholesterol issues-
The larger amount of fat content present in cow’s milk can elevate LDL cholesterol levels which increases your risk of heart disease and stroke, according to the American Heart Association. So, people who are suffering from any kind of heart disease or dealing with weight loss issues should completely avoid the dairy products and switch to non-dairy alternatives of milk.
Hence, the rise in the demand for alternative milk products has increased over the past few decades. Here we have shared the best non-dairy milk alternatives fortified with vitamins and minerals to deliver equivalent nutrient profile, taste, and consistency as Cow’s milk. However, all alternative have different nutritional profiles so based on your daily needs you can select the best Plant based Milk substitute for yourself –
1. Soy Milk-
Nutritionally soy milk is considered as the best alternative for replacing Cow’s milk because it is packed with a high amount of proteins and fats. Soy milk is also considered good for people who are suffering from cardiovascular health problems because it contains essential monosaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Also, the Isoflavones present in it serves as a protective agent against cancer, cardiovascular disease, and osteoporosis and the phytochemicals such as phytosterols reduces the cholesterol level. Hence, the claimed and stated benefits of soy milk includes high digestibility and low cost, the absence of lactose and cholesterol and high nutritive value.
Note Of Caution-Do not consume this milk substitute if you are suffering from soy protein allergies.
2. Almond Milk-
Almond is the most popular and has high consumption amongst all nuts due to its high nutritional profile and good taste. But in recent years almond milk has become one of the most popular Plant based Milk because of the presence of protein, vitamin E, calcium, magnesium, selenium, potassium, zinc, phosphorus and copper.
3. Rice milk-
Rice milk is made from milled white or brown rice and water . It often contains thickness to improve texture and taste. Rice milk is lactose-free so it can serve as a great alternative for patients suffering from lactose intolerance. But the less amount of proteins and fats present in it can be the reason of malnutrition in infants that were on a rice-based vegan diet. Therefore it is highly recommended by FDA that people should consume rice as a part of a balanced diet that includes a variety of grains and not solely the rice and rice products.
Note Of Caution- This product is not recommended for infants, toddlers, and pregnant women because they have higher protein requirements.
4. Cashew Milk-
Cashew milk is super creamy and a good non-dairy milk alternative used in smoothies, coffees and other desserts. Cashew milk contains fewer than one-third of the calories of cow’s milk, less protein and carbohydrates and very little fat which makes it suitable for those who are looking to reduce their total daily calorie intake. Hence the less protein present in it makes it unsuitable for those people who have increased protein requirements.
5. Coconut Milk-
Coconut milk is prepared from water and the white flesh of brown coconuts. Also Coconut has unique nutritional composition because of fiber, vitamin c and E and minerals such as iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, and zinc present in it. It also contains saturated fats and lauric acid which promotes brain dvelopment. Other benefits of coconut milk include skin nourishment and easy digestion of food. But, due to the low protein content in coconut milk, it is not recommended to those with increased protein requirements.
6. Oats Milk-
Oat milk is a mixture of oats and water. Oats milk is packed with a high amount of proteins and with a good source of amino acid, fibers, and carbohydrates. It contains a similar number of calories just like cow’s milk but just double the number of carbs. The natural sweetness present in oats milk makes it great for baked goods. Oats milk helps in lowering the cholesterol levels and reducing the heart-related diseases.
7. Peanut milk
It is made using peanuts and water. Peanut milk is packed with various bioactive components which helps in preventing various serious diseases. Therefore Proteins, fats, fibers, vitamins, minerals, and anti-oxidants present in peanut milk helps in improving the blood sugar level and blood lipid level. The phenolic compounds present can protect you from coronary heart disease, stroke and various types of cancers.
8. Sesame Milk-
Sesame milk is a good source of high-quality proteins and amino acids. Researchers say that consumption of sesame milk can overcome the limitation of soy milk. Like the prevalence of allergies towards soy proteins, beany flavor, and presence of flatulence-causing factors. Sesame milk contains more calcium than cow milk.
9. Flax Milk-
Cold-pressed flax oil mixed with filtered water is flex milk.It helps in preventing cancer, diabetes, heart disease and strokes. Also it contains no cholesterol or lactose which makes it a healthier choice for non-dairy milk consumers. Contains minerals and vitamins, including vitamins A, B12 and D, as well as calcium.
10. Hemp Milk-
Blending the hemp seeds with water results in hemp milk. It has a nutty flavor and creamy consistency. At the same time the nutrients present in hemp milk prevent many heart diseases.
11. Hazelnut Milk-
Hazelnut milk is one amazing Plant based Milk made by blending hazelnuts with water. Hazelnut milk is gluten-free, lactose-free and soy free which makes it best alternative non-dairy milk. However, it is low in calories, contains no saturated fats and no cholesterols. The nutrients present in this milk makes it best for heart muscles, mental health, cancer, and other heart-related diseases.