A few years back, the hardest decision to make in the milk section of the dairy aisle was whether to buy reduced-fat or whole milk. Now, you can find a whole aisle of dairy-like beverages made from foods you’d never thought could be “milked” from almonds, oats, rice, and peas. Plant-based milk can be consumed on its own or added into other beverages for texture and flavour such as coffee, tea or smoothies; or be added to cereals or granola for a cold and crunchy breakfast. Although dairy milk is still the most popular form of milk, the demand for plant-based milk is on the rise. Since plant-based milk or vegan milk is readily available, let us get to know more about plant-based milk and its benefits on human health.
Plant-based milk is a lactose-free substitute to mammary milk. It is also a cruelty-free alternative for dairy milk as it is not produced by farm animals, making it vegan friendly. In the dairy industry, milk is produced by animals under extreme confinement and stress, and cows are sent to the slaughter house to produce ground beef once their milk production declines. Therefore, plant-based milk prevents cruelty and inhumane treatment of cows. How are plant-based products “milked”? Its made by soaking the legumes, nuts, grains and/or other main ingredients, and then pressing and straining the liquid “milk”.
One might ask what makes plant-based milk healthier than dairy milk? For one, its free from antibiotic or painkillers, which are commonly given to cows in dairy industries. Unlike dairy milk, which is known to trigger the release of hormones that promotes acne and cancer cell growth, plant-based milk is safe for all. Secondly, plant-based milk is the new hope for those who are lactose-intolerant. Dairy milk contains lactose that is poorly digested by some people, which leads to digestive problems and inflammation that may cause chronic diseases or conditions. Plant-based milk on the other hand is lactose-free and has good protein content.
Not many are aware of the nutritional needs that can be fulfilled by plant-based milks. For instance, almond and coconut milk have higher amounts of vitamin E as compared to other plant-based milks. This gives consumers the opportunity to pick suitable plant-based milk which can be particularly life changing for those with vitamin deficiencies. Plant-based milk has also received much attention from fitness freaks, since plant-based milk is lower in sugar and calories as compared to dairy milk, making weight loss programmes a great hit.
Plant-based milk is a necessary substitute for dairy milk as dairy industries can cause negative environmental effects. Shockingly, the dairy milk industry uses nine times more land and releases more greenhouse gases as compared to industries of plant-based milk despite the fact that it also uses land to grow crops. In dairy industries, clearing lands to build farms tends to cause climate change that contributes to significant pressures on the food system. Besides, raising cattle for milk are known to be a major contributor of greenhouse gases.
Plant-based milk shines a ray of hope on the concerns brought upon by the dairy industry. Not only are plant-based milk a remarkable substitute for dairy milk, but also a solution to fulfil the demands of a global growing population. Looking at all these benefits and positive effects of plant-based milk, one should definitely consider consuming plant-based milk as part of their diet, in addition to its environmental benefits.