Upgrade your milk for better health
Updated: Feb 29, 2020
Everything you put into your body should have a nutritional purpose. Episodic consumption of cows milk is generally safe however there are far healthier options than traditional cows milk for regular consumption. According to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine: "Milk (cows milk) and other dairy products are the top source of saturated fat in the American diet contributing to heart disease (1). Studies have also linked dairy to increased risk of breast, ovarian, and prostate cancers" (1,2). In addition to cancer links, cows milk has also been linked to inflammation (3), higher cholesterol (4), and allergies (5, 6). Often critics for the consumption of dairy milk argue that you need milk for calcium and vitamin D. This is not true since there are much healthier options to obtain calcium and vitamin D (2, 7). Here are two examples of non dairy milks that simply outperform cow's milk.
Top pick: Good Karma Flax Milk
So many reasons why Flax milk is better for your health
Flax milk only has 25 calories per serving (vs. 170 calories in cow's milk). Also Vanilla flavored flax milk has 70 calories per serving.
Flax milk contains 2.5 grams of fat, mostly healthy polyunsaturated fats (vs. 9 grams of fat, 5 grams unhealthy saturated fats in cow's milk).
Flax milk has 0% cholesterol (vs. 35mg/12% cholesterol in cow's milk).
Flax milk has 1 gram of carbohydrate and no sugars (vs. 13 grams of carbohydrates/12 grams of sugars in cow's milk).
Flax milk has 1200mg of anti inflammatory Omega-3 fatty acids (cow's mild has almost none).
Flax milk has more vitamin D 25% (vs. 10%) and more calcium 30% (vs 25%) than cow's milk.
Flax milk is non- GMO certified.
Flax milk has more calcium, vitamin D, less calories, cholesterol and fat than dairy milk. There are plenty of other plant based milks that offer superior health benefits - Dr. Hansra #Smartandeasyhealth
Let's do the math!
Let's say you drink dairy milk every day that's 170 calories per day x 7 days per week x 52 weeks per month = 61,880 calories per year = 17.7 pounds per year worth of cow's milk.
If you switched to flax milk you would save 170 calories in dairy milk - 25 calories in flax milk = 145 calories per day. You would save 52,780 calories per year = 15 pounds of weight loss per year by making the switch from dairy milk to flax milk!
Top pick: Elmhurst Milked Walnuts
Like flax milk, milked walnuts is jam packed with of 1400mg heart healthy omega 3 fatty acids with far less calories than cow's milk. Also the taste is delicious if you enjoy nutty flavors. This drink is made with few simple ingredients and is non-GMO certified.
A quick note on Omega 3 fatty acids:
Omega - 3 fatty acids are a type of polyunsaturated fat (PUFA). There are three major types of omega -3 s: alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docohexaenoic acid (DHA) which differ in the number of carbon atoms.
Research shows several benefits of Omega - 3 fatty acids including reduced heart disease risk (8, 9), reduced risk of depression (8), Alzheimer's disease (9) and inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis (8).
What about chocolate milk?
Here's a quick #chocolatemilkhack that has double heart benefits of both Omega -3 fatty acids and Cocoa. Compare our version of #hearthealthy milk to regular dairy based chocolate milks that have over 200 calories per serving, 25 grams of sugar, and all the potential health risks of dairy products. Cocoa has numerous health benefits mainly due to it's rich polyphenol content (anti-oxidants). Cocoa has been shown to lower risk of heart attack (10-12) and stroke (10,12), lower blood pressure (10, 12), improve blood sugar and weight control (10,12). #Smartandeasyhealth's #chocolatemilkhack not only tastes great, it has tons of health benefits at a fraction of the calories and sugars as traditional dairy chocolate milk.
1) 1 cup vanilla flax milk
2) 1 Tbsp cocoa powder (I use Droste brand as Nestle is more grainy)
Mix flax milk and cocoa powder in a blender or shaker bottle
Calories: 85 calories per serving (70 calories in flax milk, 15 calories in cacao powder).
The bottom line
There are so many healthier and less fattening options than traditional dairy milk. Above, we listed only two but there are many other plant based options out there that are healthy as well. If there is a food or drink that has been shown to be potentially detrimental to your health would you consume it? If there is a food or drink that has been shown to boost your health wouldn't you consume it? It is time to change the way we think about nutrition and depart from many things we have learned as children as the research has come a long way. Furthermore a major concept at #Smartandeasyhealth is reducing or replacing unhealthy foods with healthy foods that boost your health. These health boosting foods are known as "functional" foods. There are many alternatives to dairy that have an abundance of positive health benefits demonstrated so chose wisely.
1) Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. Health Concerns About Dairy. https://www.pcrm.org/good-nutrition/nutrition-information/health-concern-about-dairy. Accessed November 28, 2019.
2) Lanou AJ. Should dairy be recommended as part of a healthy vegetarian diet? Counterpoint. The American journal of clinical nutrition 2009:89:1638S-42S.
3) Michaelsson K, Wolk A, Langenskoild S, et al. Milk intake and risk of mortality and fractures in women and men: cohort studies. BMJ 2014; 349:q6015.
4) Gardener CD et al. Effect of two types of soy milk and dairy milk on plasma lipids in hyperholsterolemic adults: a randomized trial. Journal of the American College of Nutrition 2007; 26:669-77.
5) Rona RJ, Keil T, Summers C, et al. The prevalence of food allergy; a meta-analysis. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2007; 120:638-46.
6) Host A, Husby S, Osterballe O. A prospective study of cow's milk allergy in exclusively breast-fed infants. Incidence, pathogenetic role of early inadvertent exposure to cow's milk formula, and characterization of bovine milk protein in human milk. Acta Paediatr Scand. 1988 Sep;77(5):663-70.
7) Mayo Clinic. Boost your calcium levels without dairy? Yes you can! http://www.mayoclinic.org/boost-your-calcium-levels-without-dairy-yes-you-can/art-20390085. Accessed November 28, 2019.
8) Ruxton C. Health benefits of omega - 3 fatty acids. Nurs Stand 2004 Aug 11-17;18(48): 38-42.
9) Swanson D, Block R, Mousa SA. Omega - 3 fatty acids EPA and DHA: health benefits throughout life. Adv Nutr. 2012 Jan;3(1):1-7.
10) Healthline. 11 Health and Nutrition Benefits of Cocoa Powder. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/cocoa-powder-nutrition-benefits. Accessed November 28, 2019.
11) Kwok C S et. al. Habitual chocolate consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease among healthy men and women. Heart. 2015 Aug; 101(16):1279-87.
12) Ludovici V et. al. Cocoa, Blood Pressure, and Vascular Function. Front Nutr. 2017; 4: 36.
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