The demand for vegan substitutes for milk is continually on the rise.
According to the USDA’s report on food trends, the consumption of cow’s milk has fallen by a whopping 40% over the last few years. At the same time, the sales of nondairy milk varieties have soared by almost 30%.
Why are people giving up on dairy products? What are the benefits of plant-based milk? What is the best vegan milk that you should include in your diet?
This article will help you figure out all the answers you need.
If you’d like to see a graphical breakdown of the vegan milk substitutes, we got you covered:
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- 1 Benefits of Nondairy Milk
- 2 Top 10 Vegan Milk Substitutes
- 2.1 1. Almond Milk
- 2.2 2. Coconut Milk
- 2.3 3. Oat Milk
- 2.4 4. Soy Milk
- 2.5 5. Flax Milk
- 2.6 6. Hazelnut Milk
- 2.7 7. Hemp Milk
- 2.8 8. Rice Milk
- 2.9 9. Cashew Milk
- 2.10 10. Pea Milk
- 3 End Note
Benefits of Nondairy Milk
From lactose intolerance and milk allergies to saying no to animal-cruelty and choosing plant-only diets, there are various reasons why people are turning to plant-based alternatives to cow’s milk.
The trend has also picked up pace in light of recent research which suggests that drinking too much milk might actually be bad for your health.
Several studies have proven that a high dietary intake can increase the risk of acne outbreaks, especially in teenagers.
Another study published in the International Journal of Cancer suggests that milk sugar (lactose) can be responsible for the development of prostate and ovarian cancer in men and women, respectively.
Cow milk is rich in certain proteins like casein and beta-lactoglobulin, which commonly create allergic reactions in people of all ages.
Since cows are typically pumped full of antibiotics, consuming the milk that comes from them provides an easy path for those superbugs to enter your body as well. This can lead to several health complications down the road.
By choosing vegan substitutes for milk, you can not only avoid all these health issues but also effectively say no to the blatant animal abuse that dominates the cow milk industry.
Top 10 Vegan Milk Substitutes
1. Almond Milk
Almond milk is, by far, one of the most popular alternatives to dairy milk.
Prepared from a mixture of finely ground almonds and water, this dairy-free milk has many health benefits and is prized for its versatility. You can grab a bottle of almond milk from your nearest store or even prepare it at home.
Almond milk tastes great with cereal and cookies, but you can also enjoy a full glass on its own.
- Contains zero cholesterol
- Ideal for people who are lactose intolerant
- Rich in vitamins and minerals
- Promotes healthy and glowing skin
- Low in fat, so good for people on a weight-loss mission
- Enriched almond milk can strengthen your bones
- It is not a great source of protein and fiber
- It contains tyrosine which may aggravate the symptoms in people who are prone to migraine attacks
2. Coconut Milk
From cereal and smoothies to soups and curries, there are plenty of ways to add coconut milk to your diet.
Coconut milk is a good source of nutrients, including vitamins and minerals like iron magnesium, and potassium, to name a few.
Note that it must not be confused with coconut water. While coconut water is the liquid contained naturally inside the fruit, coconut milk is extracted from the white flesh of the mature fruit.
- Strengthens the immune system
- Has anti-inflammatory properties
- Can support weight loss by controlling appetite
- A glass of coconut milk will keep you well hydrated throughout the day
- Boosts skin and hair health
- Can be easily prepared at home
- Has high fat content which might not be good for your heart
- It is a very calorie-rich food – drinking too much can result in weight gain
- Might not be suitable for people allergic to nuts like walnuts
3. Oat Milk
Oat milk is a really unique dairy-free alternative in the sense that unlike other vegan substitutes for milk, oat milk is rich in both proteins and calories.
Drinking a cup of oat milk will give you about 130 calories and 4 grams of protein. While oats are naturally free of gluten, processed oat milk might contain the substance.
So, when buying oat milk from the market, make sure to read the label carefully if you have gluten sensitivity.
- Has high fiber content which aids digestion
- Fortified with calcium and vitamin D
- Supports bone health
- Excellent source of vitamin B, which helps lower blood cholesterol levels
- Has a creamy texture that’s comparable to cow’s milk
- Ideal for baked goods like cakes and cookies as it is naturally sweet
- It might lead to weight gain because it is rich in sugar and calories
- May contain canola oil which can cause inflammation
4. Soy Milk
Valued for its rich, creamy texture and nutritional profile, soy milk can be rightfully called the official cow milk alternative.
This classic dairy-free milk is the most nutritionally similar to cow’s milk and can be consumed in a variety of ways.
Whether you want to add it to your coffee, baked goodies, or savory dishes, soy milk is suitable for all. However, you must avoid overusing soy milk as it can influence the hormone levels in your body in a negative way.
- Offers diverse culinary uses
- Rich in flavonoids that reduce inflammation
- Rich in protein and healthy fats
- Has a cardioprotective property
- Easily digested and absorbed by the body
- Suitable for people with gluten, protein, and lactose intolerance
- Drinking too much soy milk can affect thyroid function
- Not recommended for children as it can cause anaphylaxis
5. Flax Milk
Like all vegan milk substitutes, flax milk is also free of cholesterol. However, what sets it apart from the rest is the fact that when fortified, flax milk can offer as much calcium as regular milk.
Flax is a fiber powerhouse, which means that drinking a glass of flax milk a day can keep digestive troubles at bay.
- Keeps your blood pressure in check
- Can help prevent heart diseases
- Loaded with omega-3 fatty acids that reduce the risk of cancer
- A healthy option for people with diabetes
- Low in protein
- Is usually sweet, hence, cannot be used in savory dishes
6. Hazelnut Milk
Hazelnut milk packs a lot into a single cup. A glass of hazelnut milk will load you up on essential vitamins like vitamin B1, B2, and B6 that you need for the day.
It is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are an essential nutrient for maintaining optimal health.
- Rich in antioxidants that fight free radical responsible for various health issues
- Reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases
- Hazelnut milk will give a regular cup of coffee a whole new flavor profile
- An incredible choice for making delectable delights
- Not good for those with known nut allergies
7. Hemp Milk
Extracted from soaked hemp seeds, hemp milk is known for its creamy consistency.
It tastes great in many dishes, including both sweet and savory, although it is better to opt for sweetened varieties when using hemp milk in desserts.
- Contains almost an equal amount of calcium as dairy milk (if not more)
- Improves brain and heart health
- Can help soothe chronic inflammation that results in muscle and joint pain
- Rich in iron
- Has a strong nutty flavor
- Helps you avail the benefits of cannabis plants without the risk of getting high
- Can be quite expensive
8. Rice Milk
Rice milk is one of the best vegan substitutes for those who are allergic to soy and nuts.
It is light and refreshing, and will provide you with essential nutrients without sabotaging your calorie count.
- Readily available at most stores
- Cheaper than most of the other dairy-free alternatives
- The best option for users with food allergies
- Free of gluten
- Easy to prepare at home
- Cannot be used for adding creaminess to recipes
9. Cashew Milk
Cashew milk tastes a lot like almond milk and offers pretty much the same benefits too. It won’t up your calorie count and has little to almost no fats.
Drink it on its own or use it for making healthy treats like vegan ice cream, pudding, pies, and whatnot.
- Loaded with calcium
- Rich in vitamin A, E, and D
- Has a thick, creamy texture
- A close substitute to almond milk
- Not suitable for people allergic to nuts
- Relatively expensive
10. Pea Milk
Pea milk is somewhat rare to come across, but it is a great vegan milk substitute nonetheless. When it comes to protein offerings, pea milk beats all alternatives, including cow milk itself!
One serving of pea milk can give you approximately 8 grams of this nutrient, which is more than what its dairy counterpart has to offer.
- Contains omega-3 fatty acids
- It is an excellent source of vitamin D
- Helps in maintaining strong bones and teeth
- Can be difficult to find as it is not commonly used
These vegan substitutes for milk are highly versatile food products that come jam-packed with nutrients.
Whether you are new to dairy-free living or looking for healthier and more animal-friendly alternatives to milk, these plant-based milk varieties are good choices to consider.
Try them all out and decide which one you like best!Last updated on: