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Don’t like milk? The complete guide to alternatives with similar benefits

As a new brand of almond milk makes its way to India, we take a look at some other popular dairy substitutes and their health benefits.

health and fitness Updated: Aug 30, 2016 09:03 IST
Hindustan Times
Milk,Soy Milk,Milk Substitutes
For those who do not enjoy drinking milk these substitutes can replace your glass of milk with added nutrients. (Shutterstock)

Earlier this month, former cricketer Brett Lee launched a brand of almond milk in India. The announcement got many health enthusiasts discussing the benefits of such dairy substitutes. According to Kanchan Patwardhan, nutritionist, Kanchan’s House Of Health And Nutrition Centre, the fact that “you cannot really bet on the purity of commercially available milk” these days has made these substitutes even more relevant.

“For example, the A1 grade of cow’s milk comes from hybrid cows. Their quality is questionable because hybrid cows are given hormonal injections. Hence, I suggest that if you cannot give up traditional milk altogether, then go for desi cow’s milk. It is the same as A2 grade of milk,” says Patwardhan.

However, when it comes to naming the best substitute for milk, experts remain divided. “According to me, if you’re looking for a dairy-free alternative to cow’s milk, coconut milk is a better option. It contains important micronutrients such as calcium and magnesium,” says Dr Seemma Saadikha, functional medicine expert, founder Namma Mitra Foundation. Patwardhan, on the other hand, feels almond milk is the best substitute. Here, we list some other popular dairy substitutes and their health benefits:

Coconut milk
It is a rich source of phosphorus, which prevents memory loss and improve energy levels. It also contains selenium that prevents arthritis, magnesium that calms the nerves, and capris acid, which has anti-viral and anti-fungal properties. It is best-suited for those who are lactose intolerant and those with thyroid problems.

Homemade coconut milk (Getty Images)

Rice milk
It is rich in different types of vitamin B. The antioxidants in it make it an excellent detoxifier. It also reduces water retention and aids in digestion. The dietary benefits depend on the thickness of the milk, as there is no standard formula to make it. Hence, calculating one’s recommended daily allowance is tricky.

Rice Milk concept shot in warm natural light. (Getty Images)

Quinoa milk
It is rich in protein, magnesium, manganese and phosphorus. It helps bones grow and strengthens the muscles and nervous system. It also has anti-ageing properties.

A close up shot of an old milk bottle filled with dry soy beans with a few beans on the foreground and a small glass jar container with soy milk and a straw. Shot on an old grungy wooden table. (Getty Images)

Oat milk
It is rich in calcium, fibre and iron. It not only prevents osteoporosis, it also strengthens the bones, teeth and muscles. Oat milk is known to prevent epilepsy and paralysis.

Glass of milk and a plate of oatmeal. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Almond milk
It has all the micronutrients, and is a good source of magnesium and omega 3. Almond milk has a low glycemic index, limited carbohydrates and more protein. Hence, it helps diabetics. However, homemade almond milk is considered better than the commercial varieties available because they tend to contain additives.

Organic white almond milk in a jug (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Hemp milk
The new superfood, hemp seeds are gaining more popularity than quinoa these days. Hemp milk is a rich source of calcium, protein, Omega 3 fatty acids and Omega 6 fatty acids. It is also used to treat degenerative disorders.

Vegan fresh milk from hemp seeds in a glass jar, clean eating, non-dairy milk (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Soy milk
It is rich in protein and phytoestrogen — both help lower cholesterol levels. However, in the long run, if consumed in excess, phytoestrogen can lead to hormonal imbalances. Consuming 100millilitre of soy milk daily is considered beneficial.

With inputs from Dhvani Shah, healing diet specialist, FIMS Clinic.

First Published: Aug 30, 2016 08:55 IST