Ever been to the grocery store and had to decide which milk is healthier for you? We’ve all looked for other alternatives to dairy products as some of us may be lactose intolerant. You’ve even tried to buy things with less fat or fat free products to cut down on the amount of fat intake from these dairy products. When you walk up and down the dairy aisle at your local grocery store, you see a variety of milk that range from plain dairy or cows milk, to soy milk, almond milk. I’ve even seen cashew milk. As you search for healthier alternatives, your eyes land on coconut milk. You study it for a minute, questioning is this a healthier alternative. You pick it up turn it to the side and read the nutrional facts: 45 calories per serving, 4.5 grams of fat and 0 grams of sugar. You then compare this to the amount of calories in dairy milk. You decide that because the caloric intake, grams of fat, and the amount of sugar is less than that of dairy milk, you go with it. You feel you have found your alternative. But, have you ever taken the time out to discover the benefits of coconut milk?
While the benefits of coconut meat are tremendous, coconut milk isn’t that far off. For starters, coconut milk contains a rich source of niacin or vitamin B-3. This is essential for breaking down food so the body can use it for energy. It also produces sex hormones needed for reporductive health. Dairy milk produces less than half of the daily recommended value for women and men.
For those of us who suffer an iron deficiency, you’ll be glad to know that each one cup of coconut milk provides more than half of the daily recommended value. So next time you’re at the doctors office and he recommends an iron supplement, reach for the coconut milk.
Another advantage that helps aid in the use of energy from the body is it’s copper content. Copper is a main mineral that helps keep the immune system strong. Coconut milk provides 71 % of the daily recommended value.
While coconut milk packs a punch in the minerals and vitamins essential for immune health and iron deficiency, it can’t completely replace dairy milk. Coconut milk is a plant based product as it grows from trees. Dairy milk on the other hand is cow’s milk. It provides a rich source of calcium that keeps teeth and bones strong. It also provides vitamin D which maintain phosphorus and calcium levels ensuring bone health.
Yogurts made with cow’s milk is essential for producing live healthy bacteria cultures. Yogurt is great for preventing cold sores as the bacteria counter acts with bad bacteria in your body. It fights it off lessening your chances of ever getting them.
Another benefit to eating yogurt made with cow’s milk is it prevents yeast infections in women. Again yogurt contains live cultures that ward off the bad bacteria and cause an cause an over growth of yeast. It is also good to consume certain medicines and antibiotics with yogurts as some of these can throw of your pH levels. Remember to consume this in moderation as to much bacteria can throw off your pH levels and cause a yeast infection.
Because cow’s milk is essential for bone health, diets rich in calcium and vitamin D, may reduce the risk of osteoporosis, which is the weakening of bones, cause them to be brittle and break easily.
So the next time you’re at the grocery store, and you’re trying to decide which milk is healthier, remember the benefits of both. Coconut milk is a plant based food, so it can’t give you strong bones or teeth. While it can keep your immune system healthy and balance iron levels, this is only half of what your body needs. So it’s ok to reach for cow’s milk as it is more affordable, and equally beneficial. If you’re going to go for dairy milk, avoid milks high in saturated fats found in whole milk. I would suggest fat free or skim milk. If you are going to go for coconut milk go for unsweetened milk. This cuts down on the caloric intake as it is added to many foods. Not only that, unsweetened coconut milk contais 0 grams of sugar.