Recent studies show a growing interest in plant-based milk among most health-conscious Malaysians. This diet is becoming popular as it brings sustainability and health benefits in one delicious package. With the rise of environmental concerns and chronic diseases, many individuals are looking to incorporate plant-based milk into their daily meals.
Research shows incorporating plant milk into your diet has numerous health benefits. For instance, it helps reduce the risk of chronic diseases, improves heart health, and helps to weight management.
Nevertheless, we’ve got a wide range of plant-based milk options that make it challenging to know where to start.
Whether you’re starting or a seasoned vegan, this article provides a comprehensive buying guide to plant-based milk. You’ll learn more about plant-based milk, the different types, and how to make an informed choice.
What is Plant-based milk?
Plant-based milk refers to a wide range of non-dairy beverages. These beverages come from grains, seeds, legumes, and nuts. Plant-based milk is vegan-friendly, unlike animal milk which comes from animal sources and contains lactose, cholesterol, etc. Plant milk is free from cholesterol, animal proteins, and lactose. The Malaysian market contains various plant-based milk types, including almonds, coconut, oats, etc. The different types of milk have varying tastes, textures, and nutritional profiles.
Health Benefits of Plant-based Milk
Research shows that plant-based milk offers a wide range of health benefits. Let’s look at the main health benefits of plant-based milk:
Rich in various vital nutrients
Plant milk is important for your health as it contains various nutrients. These nutrients include antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins. For instance, soy milk has higher levels of proteins. Proteins are important for building and repairing muscles. In addition, almond milk contains Vitamin E, which protects body cells from free radical damage. Other plant milk alternatives are rich in calcium and other macro minerals.
Low in calories
Most types of plant-based have lower calories than dairy milk. For instance, unsweetened almond milk only contains 30 to 40 calories per cup. Skim milk contains approximately 90 calories per cup. What is the health benefit of the low-calorie level? The low calories make plant milk the best option when you’re struggling with weight loss.
Easy to digest
Studies show that the gut finds it easier to digest plant-based milk than dairy milk. Why is it easy to digest plant milk? It’s easy to digest plant-based milk as it contains fewer irritants and allergens than dairy milk. Lactose in dairy milk makes it difficult for individuals with lactose intolerance to digest. In addition, plant milk also lacks antibiotics and hormones that may cause digestive issues.
Enhances heart health
How does plant milk enhance heart health? Plant-based milk has lower saturated fat levels. Saturated fats are fats responsible for increasing the risks of heart disease and raising cholesterol levels. Besides having lower levels of saturated fats, this milk is rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. These fats help to lower bad cholesterol levels.
Helps to reduce cancer risk
Several studies have linked plant-based milk like soy milk to reducing the risk of cancer. This plant-based milk has various compounds that are key to reducing the risk of certain types of cancer. Soy milk contains isoflavones, which can help reduce the risk of prostate and breast cancer. Furthermore, the high antioxidant content helps protect the body against cancer.
Good for bone health
Plant-based milk is the best food alternative to enhance your bone health. How does milk help you with bone health? Most alternatives are fortified with Vitamin D and Calcium. Calcium and Vitamin D are vital for your bone health. For instance, a glass of fortified almond milk can contribute to up to 45% of your daily calcium requirements.
What Should You Consider When Buying Plant-based Milk?
When purchasing plant-based milk, there are numerous things you have to consider. These considerations help you get a high-quality and nutritious product. Below are the factors to consider when buying plant-based milk:
Plant-based milk comes with different ingredients. While purchasing, ensure you check the ingredients. What should you focus on when checking the ingredients? Ensure the milk you choose comes from natural and whole ingredients. Remember the milk should be free from artificial sweeteners, preservatives, or additives.
It’s important to consider fortification when purchasing plant milk. Experts recommend you consider plant milk fortified with calcium, Vitamin D, & B12. Why are these nutrients important? These nutrients in plant milk have numerous health benefits for your body.
Checking the sugar content is vital when purchasing plant-based milk. Ensure you’re aware of the sugar content in the specific milk. Remember that some brands may contain added sugars and sweeteners. So, what’s the best option? Experts advise that you choose unsweetened varieties to reduce the amount of excess sugar in your diet.
Texture and taste
Different plant-based milk types have varying tastes and textures. The textures vary due to the ingredients and the manufacturing process. With the different textures and tastes, it’ll be good to choose the one suiting your needs and preferences. You can get the milk by trying or tasting a few options to find the appropriate one.
Ensure you’re aware of the environmental impact of the plant milk you’re purchasing. What’s the best alternative? It’ll be appropriate to choose brands that prioritize sustainability. Brands that prioritize sustainability use eco-friendly packaging, renewable energy, and ethical sourcing of ingredients.
Different Types of Plant-based Milk
We’ve got various types of plant-based milk in the Malaysian market. These plant-based milk types have varying nutritional profiles, tastes, and textures. Below are the most popular types of plant-based milk:
It’s a popular plant-based milk type that manufacturers make by soaking oats in water. After soaking, they blend the mixture to achieve a semi-solid liquid. Manufacturers then strain the liquids to remove any solids. Oat milk comes with a slightly sweet taste and a creamy texture. Oat milk is a good source of Vitamin E, fiber, iron, and calcium.
Manufacturers make almond milk by blending almonds with water. Afterward, they strain the resulting mixture to get rid of all the solids. Almond milk has a creamy texture and nutty flavor. It’s the best plant-based milk rich in healthy fats, calcium, and Vitamin E.
Like most plant milk, manufacturers create this milk by blending walnuts with water. After blending the walnuts, they strain the mixture to remove all the solids. This plant-based milk has a creamy texture and nutty flavor. Experts recommend this plant milk as it’s a good source of fiber, healthy fats, and vital minerals (phosphorus & magnesium).
You can get Pistachio milk by blending pistachios in water and straining the mixture. Straining the mixture helps to remove any solids. You can enjoy pistachio milk’s slightly thick consistency and nutty flavour. The plant-based milk is rich in potassium, calcium, healthy fats, and minerals.
Coconut milk originates from water and mature coconut flesh. This plant-based milk has a rich, creamy texture and tropical flavor. In addition, the high healthy fat levels make it the best plant-based milk for cooking and baking.
Plant-based milk offers numerous benefits for health-conscious Malaysians seeking a dairy-free alternative. Coconut, almond, walnut, oat, and pistachio are the popular plant-based milk in the market. With these various types, it’s vital to consider the ingredients, sugar content, texture, taste, and sustainability to purchase the appropriate one. Choosing the most appropriate options allows you to enjoy the numerous health benefits that plant-based milk offers.