By Eileen Ferrer, Skinny Gene Nutritionist
Happy National Dairy Month everyone!!! Raise a glass of your favorite milk and toast to the wonderful health benefits milk has to offer. Today, milk of all varieties can be found at your local supermarket. For those, like myself that can’t drink cow’s milk (but I can eat ice cream just fine), it’s great that I have my choice of non-dairy options. Taste, mouth feel or the visual effect of milk is your preference, so what type of milk is right for you?
WHAT TYPE OF MILK IS RIGHT FOR YOU
Dairy milk is packed with nutrients that promote bone health, such as calcium, potassium, vitamin D and protein.
Calcium helps with building bones and teeth and aids in maintaining bone mass. In conjunction with calcium, vitamin D, which is usually fortified into milk, assists with the maintenance of appropriate levels of calcium and phosphorus. This ultimately helps to build and preserve healthy bone. Potassium maintains a healthy blood pressure, which is not only found in cow’s milk, but soymilk too.
The main types of dairy milk sold in stores are: whole, reduced-fat (2%), low-fat (1%) and non-fat milk.
Whole milk has a delicious rich and creamy texture, but it is the highest in fat. Typically, the benefit of whole milk is for toddlers after the age of 1 year until age 2 because the fat in whole milk can help with the development of their brain and nervous system.
In trying to reduce calories, 2% low-fat milk has all the benefits, but not all the fat. It is a popular substitution to whole milk. Going even lower in calories and fat is the low-fat 1% milk, which may be an option of your cutting back on daily calories. Low-fat 1% milk is still rich in calcium and vitamin D, but the taste may be significantly less milky. Lastly, non-fat also known as skim milk has about 45% less calories than whole milk, and still supplies all the same nutrients. Skim milk may be an option if you’re looking to avoid weight gain, but again the creamy, milky flavor is lacking.
NON- DAIRY SOURCES
Like I mentioned I’m okay with dairy, but have a specific reaction to drinking milk by itself; therefore, I depend on the non-dairy sources.
One that has risen to popularity is almond milk. Almond milk has that nutty flavor that is slightly sweet. The best qualities of almond milk is that low in calories, and is fortified with calcium, vitamin A & D, and vitamin E that helps fight against UV damage. If you want to drink almond milk for the protein, it may not be the best option, as almond milk is low in protein. Also, it is higher in sodium.
Another, milk with a lot of popularity is coconut milk. It contains less calories and salt per serving, and on the plus side anything you put this milk with have that tasty coconut flavor. The fat in coconut milk is saturated, so be careful, and keep to the serving size.
Then there’s soy milk. It is low-fat and cholesterol-free, and usually fortified with calcium. However, like most non-dairy options, there is not as much protein as traditional cow’s milk.
Lastly, rice milk is a good option because it is the least likely to trigger an allergic reaction, and maybe a better option of you can’t drink any of the above. Rice milk is low fat, but has almost no protein.
Do you know what milk is right for you? Whatever your favorite is enjoy your glass of milk, and celebrate June for being National Dairy Month.