Cow milk is a common beverage and key ingredient to many recipes. It is rich in vitamins and minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, B vitamins, and high-quality proteins. But while it is very nutritious, there are just some people who can’t or choose not to drink milk. This can be due to an allergy to dairy products, lactose intolerance or dietary preferences.
1 Coconut Milk
Coconut milk is squeezed from the white flesh of brown coconuts. It is very easy to make at home and is sold in the market in pure or diluted/watered versions. Compared to cow’s milk it contains half the fat, a third of the calories and very little to no protein and carbohydrates.
It has the least protein and carbohydrates among available milk substitutes and is the best choice for those with a low-carb diet. According to some studies, the medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) in coconut milk can reduce appetite and help aid weight loss.
2 Soy Milk
One of the most common plant-based milk that can be seen in most supermarkets is soy milk. It is made of soybeans or soy protein isolate and usually has a mild and creamy flavor. In terms of nutrient value, it is very similar to milk. It has the same amount of protein at half the amounts of fats, calories, and carbohydrates.
However, though there is no concrete evidence, there are concerns on possible health hazards of soy. It has high amounts of isoflavones which can affect the functions of hormones. Still, there is no harm to consuming small amounts.
3 Almond Milk
If you want something light with a little sweet and nutty flavor, almond milk is the best on the shelf. It is made with whole almonds or almond butter and water. It is one of the nondairy kinds of milk with the lowest calorie so it is a good choice for those with a low-calorie diet.
But because it is watered down, with some brands having as less as 2% almonds, it also contains much less fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals. Almond also has phytic acid, which can decrease the absorption of nutrients such as calcium, iron, and zinc in the body.
4 Quinoa Milk
Another nondairy milk made from water and quinoa grains. Quinoa grains are a good nutritional source of high-quality proteins. Quinoa milk is mostly diluted, with 5-10% quinoa grains.
It has well-balanced nutrients with low fat and moderate numbers of calories, protein, and carbohydrates. However, it is more expensive than other nondairy milk products and is harder to find.
5 Oat Milk
This is one of the current popular food trends this year. Simple, home-made oat milk can be made by just oats and water. On the other hand, manufactured brands may contain oils, salt, and other ingredients to adjust taste and texture.
Comparing to a regular cow’s milk, it contains up to twice the amount of carbohydrates, the same amount of calories and about half the amount of fat and proteins. A little extra about oat milk, it contains a soluble fiber called beta-glucan which can reduce cholesterol absorption.
Seeds may be small, but they play a key role in our overall healthy diet. As seeds contain all the materials necessary to the initial development of plants, they are packed with nutrients. This includes fiber, vegetarian protein, healthy fats, and other antioxidants.
Here are some healthy seeds you can simply snack on or add to your salads, oatmeal, and smoothies for better health:
Flax seeds are a good source of polyphenols such as lignans, a hormone-like substance which is an important antioxidant in the body. Experts claim that lignans can help slow the progression of certain cancers especially prostate cancer.
Meanwhile, the outer shell of flax seeds is also rich in omega-3 fats, which can help reduce the risks of heart-related diseases. Several studies reveal that it can reduce levels of bad cholesterol and regulate blood pressure especially when eaten regularly for at least three months.
2 Watermelon Seeds
If you are looking to shape up or build muscles, watermelon seeds are low in calories and filled with proteins. A half cup of roasted watermelon seeds contains about 15 grams of protein which is similar to two ounces of chicken or beef.
Watermelon seeds also have other nutrients such as magnesium which is essential for metabolism as well as immune, heart and bone health. Iron which is important in red blood cells which carry oxygen through the body. And folic acid which is good for proper brain function.
3 Chia Seeds
Similar to flax seeds, chia seeds have omega-3 fats which are good for promoting heart health. Chia is also rich in other nutrients such as fiber, vitamin B1, magnesium and protein.
Chia is often used in several weight-loss diets. The soluble fiber in the seed is proven to slow digestion and make us feel fuller longer, leading to reduced appetite. There are also studies which claim that eating chia after a meal can help reduce blood sugar.
4 Sesame Seeds
Sesame seeds have a lot of lignans, particularly the one called sesamin. Several studies linked this type of lignan to heart disease and breast cancer. Sesame seeds, whether in original or in other forms like oil or tahini (ground sesame paste) also contains many nutrients. This includes fiber, protein, omega-6, copper, manganese, and magnesium.
Studies reveal that sesame seeds can help reduce muscle damage and oxidative stress. Research on postmenopausal women also revealed that sesame seeds can help lower blood cholesterol and improve sex hormones.
5 Hemp Seeds
Hemp seeds have all the essential 20 amino acids, which makes them a complete source of vegetarian protein. Additionally, studies suggest that the protein in hemp seeds has better quality than most of the other plant sources of protein.
These seeds also contain omega-6, omega-3, vitamin B, magnesium, and zinc. Meanwhile, its gamma-linolenic acid is an essential anti-inflammatory fatty acid which is good for the skin. This is the reason why hemp seed oil supplements are selling on the market.
6 Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds are good sources of phosphorus, fiber, iron, zinc, vitamin K, magnesium, manganese, monounsaturated fats, and omega-6 fats.
There are many health benefits in pumpkin seeds. Several studies reveal that they can lower risks of bladder stones in children. Meanwhile, a higher intake of pumpkin seeds is linked to reduced breast cancer and prostate cancer. Magnesium is also important for maintaining blood sugar and blood pressure levels.
7 Sunflower Seeds
Sunflower seeds may help protect against various diseases and fight inflammation in older adults. They contain a good amount of protein, vitamin E, vitamin V1, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, folic acid, and monounsaturated fats.
Sunflower seeds are also proven to reduce the risk of heart disease, lower cholesterol as well as calm nerves and muscles.