Scottish TikToker wins 'lumpy' oat milk war with Lidl
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Cow’s milk has been a part of the UK staple diet for more than 6,000 years, but the tide seems to be changing as more people ditch animal produce to go vegan. There’s nothing wrong with cows milk and it has plenty of benefits, but if you’ve made the choice to cut out dairy then you might as well know a bit more about the plant milk you’re drinking. Express.co.uk chatted to Dr Deborah Lee from Dr Fox Online Pharmacy to find out which plant milk is the healthiest – almond, coconut, oat or soy?
If you’ve gone vegan, are lactose intolerant, or have a medical condition that is worsened by drinking dairy milk, plant milk is your only option.
The choice of plant milk is bewildering because there is a huge range of variations and brands to choose from, but which is the healthiest?
To put it simply, each plant milk has its pros and cons and what’s best for YOU might not be best for others.
Dr Lee has broken down the best plant milk for bones, weight loss, lowering cholesterol, heart health, protein intake, bowel disorders, inflammation, allergies and menopause.
Best for bones
Oat milk is the best plant milk to choose if you want strong, healthy bones.
Dr Lee said: “It contains a similar amount of calcium to cow’s milk, along with vitamin D which is needed for the absorption of calcium in the gut.
“Oat milk also contains B vitamins which are linked to good bone health.”
Best for weight loss diet
If you’re on a low-calorie diet or want to lose weight, almond milk is the lowest in calories, fat and carbs.
This means almond milk is your best bet if you are on a low-fat, low-carb or keto diet.
Soy milk is also low in fat, but don’t go anywhere near coconut milk if you’re on a low-fat or low-carb diet.
Best for lowering cholesterol
If you’ve been told to lower your cholesterol, go for oat milk or soy milk.
Dr Lee said: “Oat milk is the only plant milk that contains beta-glucans which increase the excretion of bile acids from the gut, the liver then has to use up cholesterol in order to produce more bile acids – this lowers cholesterol levels in the bloodstream.
“Soy milk is also recommended for those following the cholesterol-lowering, Portfolio diet.”
Best for the heart
If you’re got heart problems or want to keep an eye on your heart health, soy, almond, rice, oat, and potato milk are heart-healthy as they are all low in saturated fat.
Coconut milk, however, contains 65 percent saturated fat and is not generally a good choice for anyone with risk factors for, or established, cardiovascular disease, according to Dr Lee.
Best for protein
Gym-goers often worry that going plant-based will take away their main protein source. but soy milk contains the most protein (and has even more protein than cow’s milk!)
Dr Lee said: “Increasing the protein in your diet is beneficial as it helps you feel fuller for longer.”
Best for bowel disorders
Got IBS or another bowel disorder? Almond milk is recommended for you.
Dr Lee said: “Almond milk is lactose-free and can help reduce tummy cramps and bloating.
“It is also a low FODMAP product – these are certain types of carbohydrates that can cause gastrointestinal symptoms such as bloating, diarrhoea, and constipation – so is suitable for anyone on a low FODMAP diet.”
Best for inflammation
Recent research does not suggest that eating dairy products worsens inflammation, in fact, it may help reduce it.
Unless you suffer from lactose or cow’s milk allergy, even those with chronic inflammation can safely drink cow’s milk.
However, Dr Lee said: “it’s always important to increase your intake of plant-based foods, and plant milk and plant milk products can also be added to the diet.”
It doesn’t matter which you choose if you’re just worried about inflammation.
Best for allergies
Rice milk is particularly hypoallergenic and may be a good option for anyone suffering from allergies, Dr Lee said.
Best for menopause
If you’re perimenopausal, stock up on soy milk!
Dr Lee said: “Soy isoflavones – plant estrogens – are thought to help relieve hot flushes and night sweats in perimenopausal women.
“Soy milk is rich in isoflavones, but some women opt to take isoflavone supplements.”
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