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On World Plant Milk Day, here’s a guide on how to determine the best plant-based milk for you

August 22 marks the annual World Plant Milk Day – a day to celebrate and promote dairy alternatives and expose the alleged cruelty of the dairy industry.

The day was founded by Robbie Lockie, co-founder of Plant-Based News, in 2017, and it was established as a partnership with ProVeg in 2018.

The campaign has grown and acquired the attention of millions of people around the world, accelerating the transition from dairy milk to plant-based alternatives.

In celebration, below we look at which plant-based milk is best for you. There is a large variety of plant-based milk available on the market.

Whether it is oat milk, hemp, cashew, coconut, pea, soy milk, and others, we are spoilt for choice.

If you are not sure which type of milk is best for you or simply curious about the major health benefits of different types of milk, the information below by the head of nutrition at Four Paws Sonja Svensek will help you.

Svensek said there is much to consider before consumers can make a purchase. She said like dairy milk, plant-based milk is also packed with essential vitamins and minerals, including calcium.

“Some plant-based milk brands are fortified with more additional nutrients than others, so looking at the nutritional values and ingredients list can help you decide which plant-based milk is right for you. When looking at ingredients of plant-based milk, you want to ensure you are making the healthiest choice out of all plant-based milk available, and that they are fortified with additional nutrients such as calcium, Vitamin B12, and Vitamin D,” said Svensek.

She explained the daily recommended amount of calcium for most adults is about 1 000mg, so a glass of dairy milk gives you about 30%.

“With this in mind, you can opt for plant-based milk that can reach or even surpass this recommended value that can make you easily achieve your daily recommended amount. Look for plant-based milk that is organic. This also ensures that you are not consuming genetically modified organisms,” said Svensek.

She said consumers can also look for unsweetened versions. Svensek recommended that people avoid products with the word “cane” in the ingredients list, meaning sugar. She also suggested that consumers with an allergy or intolerance, make use of the gluten or soy-free versions.

“There is a wide variety of plant-based milk derived from a range of plant sources. Theoretically, any type of legume, grain, nut or seed can be made into a milky drink. While some people prefer a certain flavour, texture, and consistency to others, there are a variety of plant-based milk options that you can try to see what you prefer best.

“Studies generally conclude that soya milk is the most adequate substitute for cow’s milk in terms of protein content. According to manufacturers, pea milk, which has a protein content of 3.33g per 100ml can also serve as a good source of protein. In contrast, beverages made from hemp are low in protein. It’s helpful to learn a little background information about the brand and its philosophy before deciding which one to purchase,” she said.

Svensek emphasised that the plant-based milk market is booming and is expected to rise even more.

“With more people becoming aware of the cruelty behind dairy factory farming as well as the environmental implications it entails, it’s not a surprise that more consumers are choosing plant-based foods also for health reasons. This in turn triggered a surge of brands entering the market. The fact that different brands cater to different tastes and needs, means there are many plant-based kinds of milk available that provide a variety of flavours, textures, and nutritional value,” she said.

Svensek believes some of the plant-based milk is better with cereal, some for baking and others as drinks but this is dependent on personal choice.

“Organic soy milk and oat milk for example tend to be the creamiest and can make a delicious latte. Coconut milk, which is less creamy, can be great in cold cereal or used as a milk substitute in baking,” she said.

This article was originally published on IOL.

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