The benefits of drinking non-dairy milk

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

cows
“What do you mean you don’t need our milk anymore?”

A glass of milk is packed with nutrients like protein for strong muscles, calcium for healthy bones, and vitamin B-12 for a fully functional brain. The white beverage traditionally comes in different varieties like low-fat and skim after being milked from cows, but did you know there’s a whole range of options that are completely dairy-free like soy, rice, almond, and coconut milk?

Soy milk is probably one of the most well known alternatives on this list, and for good reason too. Just like regular milk, it contains all nine essential amino acids – the building blocks of protein that our bodies can’t produce. It is also low in fat and carbs, which brings the calorie count all the way down to 110! Soy milk’s thick, creamy texture also gives a flavorful kick to breakfast cereal.

You know what else goes perfectly with a morning meal and comes with its own set of unique benefits? Almond milk! The best part is that one serving typically contains only about 30 calories. The nutty liquid is also fortified with skin-healthy vitamin E, an antioxidant that can fight off the damaging effects of the Sun! It’s just about as close as you’ll ever get to drinkable sunscreen. However, the downside is that almond milk is pretty low in protein and doesn’t contain all of the essential amino acids.

If you’re someone who’s allergic to soy and nuts, fear not; rice milk is also a nutritious substitute. On the negative side, it contains a relatively high amount of carbs and the drink comes up to a grand total of 120 calories. Also, since rice milk is not as creamy as soy milk, you might not want to pour it in a bowl of cereal.

For those who are lactose intolerant (unable to digest lactose, a sugar found in milk) or just looking for a healthier alternative to cow milk, there’s plenty of non-dairy options that are far more natural than drinking another animal’s milk.

Featured image courtesy of Ben Seidelman on Flickr. Image of cows courtesy of Terinea IT Support on Flickr.