Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.
Whether you’re looking for an alternative to cow’s milk or are already on the non-dairy bandwagon, it’s becoming easier than ever to find options thanks to the fact that plant-based milks are a booming industry. According to Innova Market Insights, the global market for plant-based dairy alternative drinks are expected to reach $16 billion in 2018, up from $7 billion in 2010. But which type is the most nutritious? McGill University researchers from Quebec, Canada, have found that soy milk stands out as the most nutritious. The popular beverage, while being rich in protein and high in added calcium, also contains isoflavones – phytonutrients believed to protect against some types of cancer. If you’re allergic to soy or don’t care for its flavor, try one of these other plant-based options:
ALMOND MILK has as much added calcium as soy milk in addition to monounsaturated fatty acids that are known to help manage weight and support heart health. It is lower in protein, however. Here’s how to make your own.
COCONUT MILK contains medium-chain triglycerides, which have been found to support metabolism and weight loss, as well as monounsaturated fatty acids. It contains little to no protein (depending on the brand) and small amounts of added calcium, so try pairing it or alternating with another nut milk for the most nutritional benefit.
While a great source of added calcium, RICE MILK didn’t stack up nutritionally given its high carbohydrate-to-protein ratio. But if you like the taste and want to include it in your rotation once in awhile, go for it!
Other plant-based beverages include OAT, PEA, TIGERNUT AND CHICKPEA MILK. While these drinks weren’t part of the study, they still bring nutrients to the mix, including protein and added calcium and vitamin D (depending on the type). Make sure to consider the pros and cons of each to find the one that’s right for you.