Many people have chosen sides for which type of milk they prefer. Cow, soy and almond varieties all provide nutritious sources of vitamins and minerals, but let’s look at which are the healthiest for your body and teeth.
For a healthy mouth, calcium and vitamin D rank as two of the best nutrients. As your mom told you, calcium helps promote strong bones and teeth. Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium, thereby increasing bone density and reducing the risk for softening. This will help lower the risk of cavities and other oral health problems, including gum disease. Besides soaking up the sun, you can get a healthy dose of vitamin D from fortified cow’s milk.
What we normally call “regular” milk is cow’s milk, a product of the cow’s mammary gland. In the store, you’ll typically find four various types of milk made from cows: whole (which is 3.5 percent milk fat), 2 percent, 1 percent and fat-free. Consumers who want to cut calories typically opt for fat-free milk. As far as nutrients go, milk is a great a source of calcium, vitamin D and protein.
Lactose, the primary carbohydrate in cow’s milk, creates a digestive problem for some people who are lactose intolerant. They are often deficient in the enzyme lactase, which is required to break down milk sugar. Too much milk (or milk products) with not enough lactase can trigger bloating, gas and diarrhea.
Soy milk, on the other hand, is not technically milk, but rather a beverage made from soybeans. It is made from soaking, grinding and boiling soy beans with water. This milk contains twice as much vitamin B-6 and a lot more iron than cow’s milk.
Almond milk is a beverage ground from almonds. Many people prefer its sweeter flavor to other milk alternatives. Since almonds are naturally very nutritious, almond milk does not need to be fortified with other ingredients like regular and soy milk. It is often the healthiest of these three milk options.
While 1 percent milk has around 30 percent of your recommended daily intake of calcium, soy milk contains roughly 6 percent of calcium. Unsweetened almond milk surpasses both of those, with 45 percent of your daily intake. There is around 25 percent of vitamin D in regular milk, none found in soy and 25 percent in almond milk. Cow’s milk has half of the total fat of soy, still less fat than almond, with almost the same amount of sugar. All nutritional facts are based on a one cup, 2,000 calorie diet.
The bottom line: Almond milk is healthier than cow’s and soy milk. It is a great alternative for those who are lactose intolerant, as well as people looking to strengthen their smile and ward off cavities.