Is it better to drink cow's milk or a dairy-free alternative? - Deepstash

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Nutrients in cow's milk

Nutrients in cow's milk

Cow’s milk is a good source of:

  • Protein 
  • Calcium
  • Vitamin B12 
  • Iodine
  • Magnesium, which is essential for bone development and muscle function.
  • Whey and casein that play a role in lowering blood pressure.

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Calcium intake

Calcium intake

  • If children between one and three consume half a pint of milk, they will consume enough calcium for healthy bone development. 
  • Calcium is crucial during our adolescence for the development of bone strength. If you don't get enough calcium in your teenage years, you run a higher risk of bone weakness.
  • For adults, research is conflicting on whether cow's milk helps to keep bones healthy.

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Hormones in cow's milk

Hormones in cow's milk

The estrogen levels of cows increase 20-fold when they are pregnant. Although one study linked estrogen levels to breast, ovarian and uterine cancers, ingesting hormones through cow's milk is no cause for concern.

Researchers found estrogen levels only affect the reproductive systems in mice when supplemented with 100 times the levels found in cow's milk.

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Milk and heart diseases

Milk and heart diseases

There is a link between saturated fat and heart disease, but whole milk only contains around 3,5% fat, semi-skimmed around 1,5% and skimmed milk 0,3%.

Only very high milk intake can be harmful, but there's no research to suggest that moderate consumption is bad for you.

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Lactose intolerance

Those with lactose intolerance can drink small amounts of cow's milk.

A nutrition scientist carried out a study comparing the symptoms of people with lactose intolerance when they drank two cups of soya milk, raw milk or regular milk every day. He found many of them didn’t suffer severe symptoms.

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Dairy-free alternatives

Dairy-free alternatives

Dairy-free alternatives for milk include soy, almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, coconuts, macadamia nuts, rice, flax, oats or hemp. The main ingredient is processed and diluted with water.

Soya milk is the best replacement for cow's milk in terms of protein. But the quality protein is substantially lower than milk, making it less suitable for children and the elderly.

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Milk alternatives 

Milk alternatives are usually fortified with the nutrients that occur in cow's milk, such as calcium. Yet, it is not sure if fortified vitamins and minerals provide the same health benefits.

The bioavailability of calcium may be different when it's fortified compared to when it's found naturally.

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Cow milk and the alternatives

Cow milk and the alternatives

It is important not to assume that milk alternatives are the same as cow's milk. 

  • Cow's milk is a very nutrient-dense food, and fortified plant milk doesn't always cover all nutrients. 
  • Cow's milk contains lactose, a naturally occurring sugar, while milk alternatives often contain added sugar, which is harmful to our health.

If you do decide to use a dairy-free alternative, you won’t necessarily be missing out on vital nutrients if you eat a balanced diet.

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CURATED BY

corahh

Friend of animals everywhere. Hardcore internet enthusiast and avid reader. My favorite topic is how to live a healthy life

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