Milk is an excellent source of nutrients which include Calcium, protein, vitamin D, and Selenium. It is a staple meal enjoyed by many all over the world, the most common being cow milk.
However, there are other non-animal sources of milk, some of which include almond milk, coconut milk, soy milk, and rice milk.
These are all alternative plant-based milk sources, and they are popular, especially among those with dietary or allergy concerns. Also, part of the reason for the popularity of plant-based milk is the growing worry over milk from industrialized dairy farms.
There have been reports of hormones and antibiotics administered to cows and animal mistreatment. Additionally, environmental pollution from manure runoff is something to worry about.
Almond milk and coconut milk are lactose-free vegan alternatives to cow milk that are fast becoming popular and easily accessible.
There may be a noticeable difference in the ingredients, and how they are made and their nutritional benefits can help you make the best choice for you and your diet.
Almond milk is made from toasted and finely-grounded almonds. The almonds are ground into a powder-like consistency and then blended with filtered water.
Almond milk contains some natural vitamins, and others are also added during the blending process.
Unsweetened almond milk is typically low in calories compared to other types of milk. The milk is lactose-free and contains no saturated fat.
A cup of unsweetened almond milk contains:
- 1 gram of protein
- 1 gram of carbohydrates
- 3 grams of fat
- About 30 to 60 calories
Benefits and Limitations of Almond Milk
Almond milk contains omega-3 fatty acids that are necessary for a healthy heart. It also contains the antioxidant, vitamin E and is naturally low in sugar. Almond milk is easily accessible and is available in a variety of flavours.
Although almonds themselves are rich in nutrients like protein and fat, almond milk is not considered a source of protein. This is because almonds are stripped of many of their nutrients while preparing the milk.
Another lost nutrient is Calcium – you should ensure you get Calcium in your diet from other foods. You can also search for brands that add Calcium as a supplement in the almond milk.
Coconut milk is made from the white fleshy parts of a mature coconut. Coconut milk differs from coconut water which is found naturally in coconuts.
The milk has a thick, creamy and milky consistency and is a common ingredient in Thai and Southeast Asian cuisines. It is also popular in Hawaii, India and some Caribbean and South American countries.
Coconut milk is produced from coconut cream and filtered water. The cream is made from the grated flesh of matured. Coconut milk is more commonly referred to as “coconut milk beverage” because it is a more diluted product than the type of milk used to cook, typically sold in cans.
Thickeners and other ingredients are often added to coconut milk, as with other plant-based milk alternatives.
A cup of unsweetened coconut milk beverage contains:
- 5 grams of fat
- 0 grams of protein
- 2 grams of carbohydrates
- About 50 calories
Coconut milk is high in fat compared to other plant-based alternatives. It contains up to 18.91 grams of saturated fat, 0.901of monounsaturated fat and 0.233 grams of polyunsaturated fat. These values, however, are for thick coconut milk produced from the first pressing.
Calcium, Vitamin A, or Vitamin D are not naturally present in coconut milk beverages. They can, however, be fortified with these.
Benefits and Limitations of Coconut Milk
Coconut milk is beneficial for lactose-intolerant people and people who are allergic to dairy products. It can also be consumed by patients receiving chemotherapy.
The milk can be fortified with vitamin A, vitamin D and Calcium. Coconut milk contains minerals like manganese, magnesium, copper, selenium and potassium.
It is versatile milk and is available in several varieties for different culinary needs such as drinks, sauces, cooking and baking.
People who are allergic to coconut cannot drink the milk beverage. They may experience hives, swelling, diarrhoea and vomiting. Coconut milk is not a good source of protein and may contain carrageenan, which can cause digestive issues in some people.
Due to the high oil content in coconut milk, it goes rancid quickly. Canned coconut milk should be consumed within a few days of opening.