As of late, all the hype is about A2 milk, a type of cow’s milk that doesn’t contain the A1 beta-casein protein. To compare the varieties, A1 has the amino acid histidine at position 67 in the protein chain, while A2 has the amino acid proline there instead. Despite this small difference, some believe that the body reacts to the two proteins differently, making A1 milk harder to digest. With all the varieties of milk available at your disposal, it’s time to find out how each type may benefit you.
Cow milk is an excellent source of calcium, protein, vitamin D, potassium and phosphorous. Without fortification, it has 300mg of calcium, which constitutes 30% of the recommended daily intake for adults. Cow milk has about double the amount of protein than that in soy milk. It has eight grams of protein and 12 grams of carbohydrates per cup. And, one cup of milk has half of the recommended daily intake of B12.
While the fat content of cow and goat milk is similar, the fat particles in the latter are smaller, making it easier for your body to digest. Goat milk is also richer in calcium, with about 33% of the daily recommended intake compared to 28% in cow milk.
Goat milk has high levels medium-chain fatty acids, which provide an energy boost that isn’t stored as body fat. They also help to lower cholesterol, and can even aid in the treatment of conditions like coronary diseases and intestinal disorders.
Because of the bioavailability of iron, calcium, magnesium and phosphorous in goat milk, the treatment of nutritional deficiencies like anaemia and bone demineralisation becomes more likely.
One cup of almond milk contains only 60 calories, as opposed to 146 calories in whole milk. This means it will help you lose or maintain your current weight if you make the switch to almond milk.
It’s also low in sodium and high in omega-3 fatty acids, has no cholesterol or saturated fat, and helps to prevent high blood pressure and heart disease. Because
Lactose intolerance impacts about 25% of the US population, which means they have difficulty digesting the sugar in cow’s milk. This makes almond milk a suitable, lactose-free substitute.
Soy is naturally high in essential fatty acids, proteins, fibre, vitamins and minerals. Unlike dairy milk, which is high in saturated fat and cholesterol, soy milk fat is mostly unsaturated with no cholesterol. Studies have shown that a regular intake of soy can significantly lower your blood concentrations of triglyceride and low density lipoproteins (LDL) and raise the level of high density lipoproteins (HDL).
The phytoestrogen in soy can also help accelerate calcium absorption by your body and prevent the loss of bone mass. For the maximum benefit, make sure to buy the soy milk that is fortified with extra calcium and vitamin D.
Hemp milk, or hemp seed milk, is a plant milk made from hemp seeds that are soaked and ground in water. A fantastic alternative to dairy, soy and nut milks, hemp milk is a great source of protein. It also contains calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, fibre and vitamin B and supports heart health, and boosts immunity.
Rice milk is a dairy-free milk made from rice. Like soy milk and almond milk, rice milk is safe for consumption by individuals who are lactose intolerant. Rice milk is also low in fat and contains a higher level of carbohydrate than cow’s milk. However, unlike cow’s milk, rice milk doesn’t contain cholesterol, which makes it healthy for your heart. Rice milk is also a flavourful substitute for vegans and vegetarians who are allergic to soy.
Although coconut milk is fattier than its dairy counterpart, the medium-chained saturated fatty acids in coconut milk convert into antiviral and antibacterial mechanisms in the body, and are more readily used for energy by the liver, making them less likely to be stored as fat. Coconut milk is also believed to aid in digestion and healthy gut flora.
A final note
If you are lactose intolerant, you can substitute dairy milk with soy milk, almond milk, or rice milk. However, do take note that these milks have only one gram of protein, so you may want to find other sources of protein and add them to your diet.
Featured image credit: yat fai ooi