More and more people around the world have been switching to a plant-based diet in the past few years. Growing awareness of animal and environmental safety has compelled many people to avoid the consumption of animal products. Statistics show that there is a 600 % rise in the number of vegans in the United States in just 3 years.
Since vegans avoid all forms of animal products including milk and dairy products, health experts recommend plant-based milk as a better substitute for milk. Not only vegans, those who follow a non-vegetarian diet also drink plant-based milk for various reasons. About 2-3 % of kids under the age of three have a milk allergy, which can cause symptoms like vomiting, rashes, severe anaphylaxis, and diarrhea, etc. Another reason to drink plant-based milk is lactose intolerance, which occurs when you have lactose deficiency.
Best Plant-Based Substitutes For Milk
They are a wide range of plant-based milk available that provides the same health benefits of dairy milk. Let’s take a look at each one of them.
This is the most common and the most popular plant-based milk available today. As the name suggests it is made from whole almonds or by mixing almond butter with water. The light texture and sweet, nutty flavor of almond milk make it the most popular plant-based milk. Almond milk provides a lot of essential nutrients, such as protein, fat, calories, and carbohydrates, etc. It is also a great source of vitamin E, which protects our bodies from disease-causing free radicals.
Soybeans or soy protein isolate is used for making soy milk, which is also a popular plant-based substitute for milk. For improving the taste and consistency of soy milk, the manufacturers often add thickeners and vegetable oils. The mild, creamy flavor of soy milk makes it a perfect addition in savory dishes. 7-9 grams of protein and 4 grams of carbohydrates are present in just one cup of unsweetened soy milk. The amount of protein present in soy milk is almost similar to that of cow’s milk.
Oat milk is made by simply mixing oats and water. For improving the taste and texture of the oat milk, manufacturers often add certain ingredients like oil, salt, and gums. Since oat milk is naturally smooth, it works great with smoothies or with cereals. One cup of oat milk contains 20-30 grams of carbohydrates and 2.5-5 grams of protein. It is also high in beta-glucan, which binds to the cholesterol molecules and lowers its absorption rate in your body.
The water and the white flesh of the brown coconut are used for making coconut milk. The creamy texture and sweet flavor of the coconut milk make it a perfect ingredient for many of the western dishes. One of the main features of coconut milk is that it contains less protein and carbohydrates when compared to other plant-based milk. Medium-chain triglycerides, a type of saturated fat, present in the coconut milk is very effective in reducing your appetite and promote weight loss.
It is made by mixing cashew nuts with water or cashew butter with water. Its rich creamy texture and sweet nutty flavor make it popular plant-based milk among the vegans. People usually use cashew milk for thickening smoothies and also use it as a creamer in coffee. The cashew milk does not contain protein, fiber, vitamins, or minerals, but it has enough calories and carbohydrates. Low sugar and carbohydrates make it a perfect option for people with diabetes.
Rice milk is generally made from milled white rice and water and the manufacturers often add thickeners to improve its taste and texture. Among the plant-based milk, rice milk is the least allergenic, which makes it the ideal choice for people with allergies to gluten, dairy, nuts, or soy. Rice milk is very good to drink of its own because of its slight watery consistency. Rice milk contains almost three times more carbohydrates than other plant-based milk.
The seeds of the hemp plant are used for the making of hemp milk. Many people have concerns about the use of hemp milk as the hemp plant is a member of the cannabis family. However, the products of the hemp plant do not provide any intoxicating effects as it does not contain high amounts of THC. Hemp milk has a thin, watery texture and sweet, nutty taste, which makes it a better substitute for skim milk.
Macadamia milk is made from macadamia nuts and water. When compared to other plant-based milk, it has a rich, creamy flavor. 1-5 grams of protein and 1 gram of carbohydrates are present in one cup of macadamia milk. It is ideal for those who are looking for reducing their calorie intake. Macadamia milk is also rich in healthy monounsaturated fats. It will help in lowering the blood pressure and cholesterol levels, thus reducing the risk of heart disease.