pinterest Save

are plant milks good for you?

In cultures around the world, plant milk from nuts, seeds, grains, and beans, have been extracted for their nutritional value in foods and beverages. In medieval times, almond milk became a staple in kitchens because it stored longer than cow’s milk, and Spanish horchata has remained a popular drink for centuries. Today, plant milks provide the perfect dairy substitute—cruelty-free, hormone-free, lactose-free and cholesterol-free. As you compare the plant milks below, bear in mind: Different brands vary in sugar, fat, carrageenan (seaweed-derived thickener), nutrients, and sodium content. So choose wisely, or better yet, make your own plant milks without any additives and sweeteners. 

Almond Milk
A close second to soy in popularity, almond milk is made with toasted ground almonds. It contains less calories than soy milk, but also less protein, so you’ll need another primary protein source. The light, nutty flavor works well in French toast, mashed potatoes, creamy curries, and shakes.

  • Nutrients: niacin, riboflavin, thiamine, vitamins B6, C, E; calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc; fiber; protein
  • Fat and calories: about 2.5 grams fat (polyunsaturated, monounsaturated) and 30 calories per cup
  • Make your own
Coconut Milk
Made from the white flesh of mature brown coconuts, coconut milk imparts a light sweetness and creaminess ideal for smoothies, coffee creamers, and coconut rice. Thicker and more nutritious than coconut water (from immature green coconuts), coconut milk is high in fat, so try a “lite” version. Its lauric acid fights viruses and bacteria, while its medium-chain fatty acids kill the bacteria that cause arterial plaque, and it fortifies your skin and hair.
  • Nutrients: antioxidants, antimicrobial lipids, lauric acid, vitamins B, C, E; iron, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium
  • Fat and calories: about 48 grams of fat (43 grams saturated!) and 445 calories per cup
  • Make your own
Hemp Milk
Made from hemp seeds, this milk brings a slight grassy flavor and darker hue to smoothies, shakes, and puddings (great in a banana/chocolate shake!). While lower in protein than soy, it’s a source of complete protein with all 10 essential amino acids; contains four times more omega-3s than soy, and is low in saturated fat.
  • Nutrients: B vitamins; calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium; fiber; protein (3 grams per cup)
  • Fat and calories: about 5 grams of fat (5 to 1 grams saturated) and 140 calories per cup
  • Make your own
Oat Milk
Oat milk contains less protein but more fiber than others, with no saturated fat. The subtle grain taste is perfect for pouring over cereal, baking in breads, or for recipes needing a lighter-flavored substitute. Gluten-intolerant? Buy gluten-free oats and make your own oat milk, which is super easy and inexpensive. Watching your weight? Oat milk’s the lowest in fat, sugar, and calories.
  • Nutrients: antioxidants, vitamins A, B, E; calcium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium; fiber; protein (4 grams per cup)
  • Fat and calories: about 2.5 grams of fat (unsaturated) and 130 calories per cup
  • Make your own
Soy Milk
Since 202 B.C, in China’s Han dynasty, soy has reigned as the ultimate plant milk for its high protein content, creamy taste, and silky consistency. Today, it’s often used to make vegan “cheese,” as found in Veestro’s Veggie Lasagna and Enchilada Casserole, or for adding richness to Raspberry Cheezcake and Oatmeal Breakfast Pie. Check product labels for non-GMO.
  • Nutrients: choline, folate, vitamin K; fortified with vitamins A and D; magnesium, potassium; fortified with calcium; protein (8 to 10 grams per cup)
  • Fat and calories: about 3.6 grams of fat (0.5 grams saturated) and 105 calories per cup
  • Make your own

Sources: “How to Choose Your Plant Based Milk? Vegan Milks 101,” The Vegan Woman 
Jessie Szalay, “Almond Milk: Nutrition & Benefits,” Live Science 
Kari Hartel, “Almond Milk: What Is It and Is It Good for You?FitDay 
Jody Braverman, “The Health Benefits of Coconut Milk,” Livestrong.com 
Tanya Brown, “The Health Benefits of Coconut Milk,” SFGATE
Sara Ipatenco, “What Are the Benefits of Hemp Milk?Livestrong.com 
Laura Shultz, “The Benefits of Oat Milk (with Recipe),” Care 2
Soymilk, original and vanilla, with added calcium, vitamins A and D,” SELFNutritionData

Related Blog Posts

your sugar detox guide

are you vitamin d deficient?

here’s what happens to your body on a juice cleanse

top 5 benefits of a detox diet to reset yourself

war on waste: are fresh veggies healthier than frozen?

got milk? the dairy industry’s mass deception

what happens to your body when you go vegan?

what difference can one person make by going vegan?

how easily can the pope go vegan?

supercharge your sex life

is it possible to prevent and reverse disease?

5 ways plants power us in 2019

detox your body

4 reasons plant-based eating helps with weight loss

eating healthy doesn’t have to be scary - 5 simple tips

the most unusual facts about berries

can you get enough protein from plants?

5 foods you should never eat

spotlight on: activated charcoal

5 superfoods for women's health

ancient remedies we use today

5 plant-based foods that help you lose weight

five magnesium-rich foods for stress relief

why detox?

10 ways to sneak in more veggies

high fiber foods you can snack on

myth vs fact: 5 things you didn't know about vitamin c

plant-based aphrodisiacs that work

5 heart-healthy foods

8 underrated veggies & why you should be eating them

probiotics - your best friend around the holidays

5 winter superfoods for more energy

5 easy ways to detox after overindulging

the key benefits of juicing

should you take supplements?

veggie anatomy 101: carrots

is plant-based good for kids?

are plant milks good for you?

good carbs vs. bad carbs

food facts: tomatoes

frozen vs. fresh: know your veggies

10 seasonal superfoods

5 summer foods to keep you hydrated

how much water should you really drink?

plant foods that boost your energy

men's health month: five plant-based benefits for men

5 protein-packed veggies

five concerns about plant-based calories

is soy good or bad for men?

sodium's effects on health and weight

5 winter squashes you need for better health right now

halloween inspired veggies to help you live longer

fat vs. sugar: the battle rages on

the soybean saga: myths and facts

5 reasons to fall in love with kale all over again

top reasons to have an apple a day

food facts: watermelon

plant based protein to keep you satisfied

rockin the rhubarb

iodine on a vegan diet

the truth behind antioxidants and food

eat your greens

do you get enough energy from your food?

healthy snacking tips for you & your kiddos

is it a flower or a vegetable: discover the artichoke

foods that fool you

root down with your root veggies

6 foods that help reduce inflammation

cacao for your loved ones

cha-cha-chia

pulses-the superfood that always has bean

cooking without oil

it's all about the pomegranate

grains to protect your immune system this winter

linking breast cancer and diet

pumpkin seeds and their health benefits

benefits of basil

plant-based nutrition and obesity in children

check out cherries!

nih guide: how to lower blood pressure with a dash eating plan

eat more dark chocolate and lower your blood pressure!

beans v. beef: an infographic

boost your healthy gut bacteria with plant-based foods

stop the madness! treat heart disease with a healthy diet -- not drugs!

cabbage-it's history, use, and nutritional benefit

a plant-based diet is key to controlling diabetes

want to lower your cholesterol? a pill is not a magic bullet!

are you at risk for heart disease?

can eating more veggies save your eyesight?

don't have breakfast without one of these three!