Remember those milk commercials from the 80s that claimed, “Milk, it does a body good”? Well buying milk isn’t as simple as it used to be, and there are a lot of factors to consider before you stock your fridge with this family staple.
Not all that long ago, the only milk you could find came from cows…but not anymore. Drinking each different kind of milk has its pros and cons, so it’s a good idea to get informed about the health benefits of each type. Whether you choose your milk based on habit, taste, or health benefit, these are some of the most common types of milk that you can find in your local market.
The most common and traditional type of milk in America is dairy milk, which is typically found as whole, 2 percent, 1 percent, and skim varieties. Dairy milk is naturally high in protein, calcium, vitamin D, and fat. Whole milk has 150 calories per cup, while skim milk has just 80 calories.
Organic milk is still dairy milk, but it comes from cows that are fed organic food rather than synthetic hormones or given antibiotics. One of the best reasons to buy organic milk is because organic practices are generally more beneficial to the environment. Studies have also shown that organic whole milk contains more omega-3 fatty acids and more antioxidants than traditional dairy milk. Whether in fish, milk, or leafy greens, omega-3s are important to maintain a healthy heart. You can also find organic milk as lactose-free and ultra-pasteurized.
Soy milk has been a long-term favorite of vegetarians and people who have lactose intolerance. This plant-based milk is a good source of protein and potassium, as well as vitamins A, B12, and D. It’s also widely drunk by people with high cholesterol because soy milk contains no cholesterol, unlike dairy milk.
Almond milk is rich in calcium, vitamin D, vitamin E, and antioxidants. If you buy the unsweetened variety, it’s low in calories too. However, it doesn’t have as much protein as some other types of milk. If you are allergic to nuts, you may also have a reaction to almond milk.
Although goat’s milk is rare in America, it is very popular in other parts of the world. This is a good type of milk for people who are allergic to dairy milk because it has low lactose and is naturally homogenized. It’s easier to digest than other types of milk listed here.
Rice milk is especially good for people who have trouble digesting other kinds of milk because it is very mild. It has zero cholesterol and zero saturated fat, which is a plus for people watching their fat and cholesterol intakes. It can be fortified to boost its calcium content. However, it doesn’t have as much protein as some other types of milk.
There is a fair bit of controversy surrounding the consumption of raw milk, and some states don’t even allow it to be sold on store shelves. This type of milk is not pasteurized, which means that it can contain bacteria….both the harmful and the beneficial kind. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, raw milk has been linked to salmonella, e coli, and other foodborne illnesses in medical studies. However, some people still swear by the beneficial proteins and enzymes that raw milk contains.
What’s your go-to type of milk to drink? Are you willing to try other types of milk for health or environmental reasons?