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Choosing the Best Milk for Your Smoothies

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Which Milk Option is Best for Smoothie Recipes

You can make a great smoothie with fruit juice or water as a base but milk can be a great nutritional additive.  As people age, they need for the nutritional benefit of milk increases.  This is particularly true for women who need the protein, calcium and potassium of milk to keep bones from becoming brittle. Milk in your smoothie doesn’t always have to be cow’s milk.  Here, in addition to cow’s milk, are some of the different types of milk you can consider including in your smoothie.

milk for smoothies

Cow’s Milk

Cow’s milk is full of calcium, and is fortified with vitamin D which aids in the absorption of calcium.  Potassium and phosphorus help build strong bones and teeth.  Research has also shown that cow’s milk will help reduce the risk of osteoporosis, colon cancer and Type 2 diabetes.  But it’s not low in calories.  So consider nonfat milk.  [1]

Some people lack the enzyme lactase which helps to digest lactose the naturally occurring milk sugar.  If this applies to you, there are lactose-free options that include a liquid form of lactase or you can take an enzyme supplement.

Almond Milk

Almond milk a natural calcium source made by soaking ground-up almonds.  You can purchase almond milk in plain, vanilla and chocolate flavors.  But watch for the sugar content found in some supermarket brands.  It provides 20-30% of the recommended daily value.  Unlike cow’s milk, almond milk is low in calories and saturated fat.  Almond milk does not contain cholesterol or lactose but it is a natural source of vitamin E which works as an antioxidant to fight cell damage. [2]

Soy Milk

Soy milk is traditionally made from a mixture of soybeans and water and is common substitute for those who are lactose intolerant or vegetarian. It is lactose-free, rich in calcium and protein and contains no saturated fat.  It’s a popular milk alternative that’s made by soaking soybeans and grinding them with water.  According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), consumption of soy milk may reduce the risk of heart disease. [3]

Soy milk isn’t recommended for infants or young children, particularly girls because it has the potential to disrupt hormone production.  Also keep in mind that soy milk can interfere with the absorption of minerals like iron.

Coconut Milk

The meat and juice from coconut are combined to make this rich, creamy milk.  It has a strong, sweet flavor, so a little goes a long way.  That’s important to remember if you’re watching your calories.  One cup of coconut milk has 552 calories.   Consider using the lighter variety to include in your smoothie.  You’ll get the health benefits and some of the sweetness but fewer calories.

Coconut milk contains good amounts of phosphorous, potassium and fiber.  But, it’s lower in calcium.  These minerals and fibers help prevent things like gallbladder stones, liver diseases, and inflammation and skin diseases.  [4]

Goat’s Milk

Unless you raise your own goats, goat’s milk may be difficult to find in the United States.  You’re more likely to find it in cheese in America. Because it contains different proteins and fats than cow’s milk, goat’s milk can be easier for some people to digest.

Goat’s milk includes phosphorus, zinc, and essential fatty acids.  It has more calcium than cow’s milk it also contains as much potassium, magnesium, iron and calcium as cow’s milk. Studies have shown that goat’s milk can help reduce cholesterol levels and help to regenerate hemoglobin and fight anemia.[5]

Rice Milk

Rice milk is made from unsweetened brown rice.  It has no cholesterol, no saturated fat and no lactose, so it can be a healthy choice with those who have trouble with dairy.  But it is low in calcium and protein. Rice milk isn’t as thick as cow’s milk.  But rice milk is a carbohydrate just like the grain.  It has twice as many carbs per cup as cow’s milk. [6]

Oat Milk

Oat milk is made from ground up oat groats and has a mild, nutty flavor.  It has a rather grainy consistency.  Oat milk is high in fiber, folic acid and vitamin E.  It has a mild oat flavor.  The antioxidants in oat milk can help prevent heart disease, strokes and some types of cancer.  Oat milk is low in saturated fat and has no lactose or cholesterol.  Oat milk is not gluten free and it contains less protein than cow’s milk.  [7]

The choice you make for your smoothie may depend on your own nutritional needs and tastes.  But now you know there’s no need to lose the benefits of milk just because you don’t care for cow’s milk.


[1] LifeScript: http://www.lifescript.com/health/centers/digestive/articles/whats_the_best_milk_for_you.aspx

[2] Joy of Smoothies: http://www.joyofsmoothies.com/almond-milk.html

[3] Soya: http://www.soya.be/benefits-soy-milk.php

[4] Lifescript: http://www.lifescript.com/health/centers/digestive/articles/whats_the_best_milk_for_you.aspx

[5] Lifescript: http://www.lifescript.com/health/centers/digestive/articles/whats_the_best_milk_for_you.aspx

[6] BenefitOf.net: http://benefitof.net/benefits-of-rice-milk/

[7] Lifescript: http://www.lifescript.com/health/centers/digestive/articles/whats_the_best_milk_for_you.aspx