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Milk: Choices for Optimal Benefits

By Stepy Kamei

A nostalgic peek into the past might show a young child eating a hearty meal with a full glass of cold cow's milk sitting patiently next to the plate. I think it's safe to say that we all grew up learning about how important it was to drink a glass of milk every day. Milk, we were taught, is good for our bone health, and it provides us with the calcium we need to have strong bodies and minds. Decades later, these claims still have merit, for sure. Yet, there are more options than ever before when it comes to the many different types of milk which are available for us to purchase at the grocery store (or local specialty stores). Some people may find that certain types of milk are better for their own specific health needs than others; this is precisely why it's a good idea to be as informed as you can on all the choices available to you. 

Cow's Milk: Traditional, but Really Good for You?

Good old-fashioned milk from a cow still remains the most popular choice out there, and for good reason: It's plentiful, affordable, and packed with healthy nutrients such as Vitamin D, protein, and calcium. However, it should be clarified that only whole milk can provide you with the most nutrients. Skim milk and 1 or 2% milk have been stripped of most of their nutrients, which makes them far less healthier than some people claim them to be. If you have no allergies or sensitivities to dairy, stick with whole milk for the most benefits to your health.

Soy Milk

Soy milk is probably the top alternative to cow's milk, and it's not hard to see why. It's a great choice for the millions of people out there who cannot tolerate standard cow's milk for any reason. Soy milk still provides protein content, which is important for people who cannot receive protein from dairy sources. Soy milk also contains fiber and many vitamins and minerals which benefit the body. Just be sure to choose a brand which does not add any sugar or artificial sweeteners.

Almond Milk

Almond milk is another popular choice in people who are sensitive to dairy, or who are just uneasy about the fat content found in whole cow's milk. Almonds are great for benefitting heart health, but almond milk contains very little protein, making it less beneficial than soy milk as a dairy alternative.

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