Milk: Does it really do a body good?

Milk. It’s an American favorite. And who doesn’t love milk? Many people have an affinity for the creamy white beverage, but most individuals’ bodies aren’t so in love with the drink. More than 60 percent of adults are incapable of digesting dairy. That statistic probably sheds some light on your mysterious stomachache a couple days ago, right?

Some are forced to drink other variations of the tried and true cow’s milk for medical reasons, while others are simply looking for a healthier option. Deciding what type of milk is the healthiest seems to get more complicated as the years progress. A new type of milk seems to hit the market every month, and it’s important to remember that the new product is not necessarily the best for your body.

The three most common forms of milk are cow, almond and soy milk. Each beverage has pros and cons. Take a look at this comparison list of the different types of milks.

Cow’s milk. Milk is considered a “nutritional powerhouse” by many. It has more nutrition than both fruit juices and sports drinks. Cow’s milk is also considered the best source of dietary calcium. Cow’s milk has high levels of vitamins A and C. It also contains casein and whey protein, which are good for building muscle. Cow’s milk should only be consumed in the low- or non-fat varieties because of its high fat content— unless you are a child younger than two years old.

Almond milk. This type of milk is naturally gluten free. Almond milk is considered healthier than cow’s milk because of its low fat content and high levels of antioxidants and vitamins. Almond milk also has fewer calories than cow’s milk and is less starchy than soy milk. However, almond milk has only 1 gram of protein compared to cow’s milk 8 grams and soy’s 7 grams of protein.

Soy milk. Although soy milk clearly trumps almond milk in the protein category, it also has more than double the calories of the nutty milk. Soy milk, popular among coffee shops, is frequently consumed by those with lactose intolerance. Soy protein has been found to reduce bad cholesterol (LDL) level and increase good cholesterol (HDL) level, and is naturally gluten free. However, studies have shown that soy milk may cause problems for women during reproductive years.

Whether you’re looking to switch milks because of dislike, the inability to digest dairy or for other health reasons, know that the best thing you can do for your body is research your options. Remember, each person is different, so what your body requires may be different from someone else’s needs.


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