23/05/2023 / Health and Fitness

Nutritious Plant-Based Milk

Rethink your drink! When it comes to health, plant-based milk is an excellent alternative for 1 glass of dairy milk with added benefits.

Nutritious Plant-Based Milk
Juveriya Anwar MominJuveriya Anwar Momin
Juveriya Anwar Momin
Pharmacist, Research Associate
Medically Cited
Fact Checked

Table of Content

What is Plant-Based Milk?

What is Plant-Based Milk

Plant milk is a simple plant beverage with a milk-like appearance. These are made from water-based plant extract. These beverages have been consumed for centuries with the term “milk-like plant juice”.

Today these are known as alternative milk, non-dairy milk, vegan milk, and plant based-milk.

The plant-based milk/ non-dairy milk is a fast-growing alternative to dairy milk.

Why choose plant-based milk?

Dairy milk comes from cows, goats, sheep, and camels with plenty of nutrients.  Cow’s milk allergy, lactose intolerance, hypercholesterolemia, and diet concerns spiked plant-based milk alternatives as an excellent option for healthy living.

As nutritional supplements and diet are concerned, plant-based milk offers many options with a wide range of flavors, textures, nutrition, and color.

Plant-Based Milk Types

These are basically the results of the breakdown of plant materials like cereals, legumes, oilseeds, nuts, etc. These are extracted with water and homogenized to get a particle size of 5-20 microns which imitates dairy milk’s appearance, texture, and consistency.

Plant-Based Milk Types

Plant-based Milk is generally classified into five categories-

1. Cereal-based- Oat milk, rice milk, corn milk, spilled milk.

2. Legume based-Soymilk, peanut milk, lupin milk, cowpea milk.

3. Nut based-Almond milk, coconut milk, hazelnut milk, pistachio milk, walnut milk.

4. Seed milk-Sesame milk, flax milk, hemp milk, sunflower milk

5. Pseudo-cereal-Quinoa milk, teff milk, amaranth milk 

The functional component of plant-based milk alternatives with their

1. Almond milk

It is plant-based milk with a watery texture and nutty flavor. It doesn’t contain any form of cholesterol and lactose hence it is a good option for lactose-intolerant and vegans.

Almond milk is the best alternative for people with lactose intolerance and vegans. Many children and adults are suffering from dairy product allergies which have increased the demand of plant-based milk.

Almond milk is rich in MUFA (monounsaturated fatty acids) which helps in managing weight.

As compared to other plant-based milk, almond milk is an excellent source of vitamin E which is an essential vitamin our body cannot synthesize.

Almond milk is surely a promising alternative with properties like lipid-lowering, antioxidant, and immunostimulant. 

Almond milk nutritional profile






Calcium-269 mg

Potassium-4700 mg

Vitamin E- 12mg

2. Soy milk

Soy is a unique dietary source that is very rich in proteins and fat. These seeds contain up to 35–45% protein and 20% fat and act as an important source of protein especially in people following a vegetarian diet.

Its components isoflavones are linked with anticancer actions. It is one of the important sources of preferred protein alternatives in various cuisines and diets.

Soy milk nutritional profile


Fats- 4.5g

MUFA- 0.23

Protein- 8.7g

Calcium- 1100mg

Potassium- 4700mg

Vitamin E- 12mg

3. Coconut milk

It is a liquid extract of grated coconut rich in saturated fats. It is one of the most widely consumed milk in Asia and South America. Coconut milk is one of the healthiest food ingredients in authentic dishes belonging to the Indian subcontinent.

Coconut milk has enough lauric acid that will increase your HDL level (good cholesterol).

The storage period of coconut milk is a maximum of 2 months, with increased storage time linked with reduced nutritional values.

Coconut milk nutritional profile



MUFA- 0g


Potassium-4700 mg

Calories- 48kcal

4. Oat milk

Recently oat milk consumption has increased due to its potential health benefits. It has anti-cancer, and hypercholesterolemia properties.

It is a good source of protein with a good amino acid balance.

Beta-glucan is one of the major components of oat milk that reduces blood glucose levels.

Oat milk is a good source of antioxidants and flavonoids. It is a good option for a gluten-free diet.

Oat milk nutritional profile




Despite the health benefits oat milk lacks calcium and it is not suitable for the population allergic to soy protein.

5. Peanut milk

It is one of the best plant-based alternative milk with many health benefits. Among all the seeds, the peanut is a promising raw material with beany flavor just like soy milk.

Its nutritional profile is somewhat similar to soy milk. This is a good source of proteins, fats, vitamins, antioxidants, and phytosterols.

Peanut milk improves blood sugar levels and blood lipid levels. Its potential action is due to the phenolic compounds that show protective action against stroke, coronary heart disease, and cancer.

Peanut Milk nutritional profile





6. Sesame milk

It is one of the most important crops in the world with a high-quality protein source.  Sesame milk overcomes the limitation of soy milk such as soy allergy, flatulence, and beany flavor.

It has recognized ingredients like sesamolin, and sesaminol with antioxidants, antitumor, and antivirus actions.

7. Walnut milk

Walnut is one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids. As per the WHO guidelines, walnut has cardio-protective effects.

Daily walnut intake should be 42g recommended by the American Health Association.

Walnut is rich in vitamin E, beta-carotene, alpha-linolenic acid, and omega-3 fatty acid.

The best milk for gut health

Gut health is essential for our body’s immunity and digestive system. Dairy milk is always an option for everyone but if you have a milk allergy, lactose intolerance (it is an inability to metabolize milk lactose and related dairy products due to lack of lactase enzyme).

As per your taste, nutritional needs, and diet are concerned you can choose the following plant-based milk alternatives-

  • Almond milk

  • Soy milk

  • Walnut milk

  • Coconut milk

  • Sesame milk

  • Peanut milk

Plant-based milk vs cow’s milk

Disadvantages of plant-based milk

Plant-based milk possesses the following disadvantages-

1. Nutritional value: The nutritional profile varies with the milk. Despite the health benefits, there is no single plant-based milk that is equivalent to dairy milk nutrition.

2. Price: Plant-based milk has prices significantly higher than dairy milk because of its method of production and added nutrients.

3. Added chemicals: The plant-based milk has fillers, texture modifiers, thickeners, etc ingredients to mimic the dairy milk. You can compare and decide the best milk option for your health.

4. Artificial sugars: To increase the sweetness just like dairy milk sweetness, sugar is added. Unsweetened milk versions are more healthy and beneficial.

5. Calcium levels: Highest level is calcium is found in dairy milk only. Calcium is an essential nutrient for growth and development, which is in less quantity in plant-based milk.  

Take-Home Points

  • There are many varieties of plant-based milk available as per your nutritional needs and taste.

  • Plant-based milk is basically the result of breakdown of plant materials like cereals, legumes, oilseeds, nuts, etc.

  • Alternative plant-based milks are much healthier than dairy milk when it comes to diet and cholesterol levels. 


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