Is dairy good for you? What are the alternatives?
Many people use fresh cow’s milk regularly in their diet. It is not only used as a “nighttime” or “before bed” drink to keep the bones healthy but also used in other flavored drinks, smoothies, desserts, teas, and coffees.
Is milk bad for you?
Cow’s milk is the most popular, easily available, and affordable choice but many people still do not prefer drinking it because of multiple reasons including personal preferences, allergies, intolerance, and dietary restrictions.
Kids under the age of three who are allergic to cow’s milk can get symptoms including rashes, vomiting, diarrhea, etc. The percentage of kids with this allergy under the age of three is 2 – 3% which outgrows 80% by age 16.
A total of 75% of the world’s population is lactose intolerant. This comes in the people having deficiency of lactase enzyme that digest the lactose i.e., the sugar in the milk. (3)
Dairy products have a great contribution to our diet’s saturated fat, cholesterol, and calorie content. This contribution increased the risk of heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. Some studies show that dairy products including milk may cause prostate cancer in men and ovarian cancer in women.
What are the symptoms of being dairy intolerant?
There are many dairy intolerance symptoms or symptoms of lactose intolerance that look similar to several other conditions and people don’t realize that they arose because of the consumption of dairy products.
For example, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a symptom of milk that, in the long term, can affect the digestive system.
The usual symptoms you get if you are dairy intolerant are:
- Feeling sick
- Stomach rumbling
- Stomach cramps and pain
Which dairy alternative is best for you?
Whether you are finding the alternatives because of the amount of lactose in dairy or just want to switch your milk routine, these plant-based milk alternatives can offer nutrition as well as different flavors. What is the right pick for you instead of dairy milk? Let’s pick your choice from the following.
- Hemp milk – Hemp milk is made from the shelled hemp seeds and water and contains a lot of healthy nutrients. It has calcium, vitamin D, and 3 grams of protein per cup. It also contains omega-3 fatty acids. Besides all these nutritional advantages, hemp milk has a difficult taste which many do not like or get used to.
- Oat milk – Oat milk is a dairy alternative made from oats. Oats have been soaked in water, blended, and strained. Oat milk contains more calories, carbs, and fiber, but less protein than dairy milk. It contains 27% of calcium and 50% of vitamin b12 of the daily value.
- Coconut milk – Coconut milk is a sweeter and creamier alternative to dairy milk. This milk is great in providing the daily value of vitamins, i.e., 30% of vitamin D and 50% of vitamin b12. But it has very little calcium and just a gram of protein per cup. Coconut milk contains the same amount of saturated fat as whole cow’s milk. So, if you want to reduce your saturated fat intake, it is not a good choice to pick.
- A2 milk – A2 milk is the milk with specific protein A2 and is often compared with A1 protein. It is mostly found in European cows’ milk. A2 milk is like mother’s milk and is good for kids and for breastfeeding mothers. It is full of protein, calcium, and vitamins.
- Soy milk – Soy milk is a popular dairy substitute because its nutrition value is almost like cow’s milk. It has a good amount of protein; 7 grams per cup and in cow’s milk, it is 8 grams per cup. Most soy milk brands are fortified with calcium and vitamin D but make sure to check the nutrition label before buying.
- Rice milk – Rice milk is a neutral-flavored and light drink. It does not contain the same amount of vitamin D and calcium as cow’s milk. Also, it has a very less protein amount i.e., 1 gram per cup.
- Saffron almond milk – Zafrani badam milk is a great dairy alternative and a rejuvenating drink. It is made from ground almonds, saffron spice, and water. This rich and creamy drink is a vegan alternative and most of them are fortified but in some brands, there is no calcium or vitamin D.
Almond milk is the most common dairy alternative and is easily available everywhere. When combined with saffron, it becomes the best with the highest nutrition profile among all the other kinds of milk.
Dairy-free foods to eat
When you choose to go dairy-free then it is not just milk but there are any other products you have to leave consuming. You must give up on cheese, ice cream, yogurt, cheese, butter, all cultured dairy, etc. So, which healthy and dairy-free food you can pick. It would be impossible to list every possible item of non-dairy food but here is a basic list that you can enjoy when you go on a dairy-free diet.
- Fruits and vegetables
- Meat and poultry
- Fish and seafood
- Soy products
- Nuts and seeds
- Whole grains
- Herbs and spices
- Healthy fats
Make sure to check the nutrition label before buying processed food as it may contain dairy and try to focus more on unprocessed food where possible.