Milk comes in many different varieties.
Sources of milk and milk products do not only come from cows, but also camels, goats, and other mammals.
There are also plant-based milk alternatives to buy, like for instance soy milk, almond milk and coconut milk.
Milk's healthfulness depends on the individual and the type of milk being consumed.
Pasteurized milk that's high in protein, low in fat, and free of unnecessary additives can be exceptionally healthful for many people.
In our opinion, the best milk of these 8 different kinds is camel milk! Continue reading if you want to learn why!
If you want to buy camel milk, we recommend you buy this 100% natural camel milk on Amazon. It's shipped in frozen form to preserve it's freshness.
Table of Contents
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Different Types Of Milk, Their Benefits And Potential Side-Effects
Cow's milk is no longer the only choice you have when buying milk. In common stores, you can often find several plant-based alternatives.
Somewhat harder to find is other mammalian kinds of milk. But it's worth looking for those as well!
There are so many options when you think of milk, and even cow's milk is not a single product.
It can be fresh or long-life, fat-free, lactose-free, fortified with added omega-3s, hormone free, organic, raw, among other options.
People who are intolerant to cow's milk could also have reactions to goat and sheep milk.
One study looked at how 500 people reacted to different types of milk, from mammalian to non-dairy milk.
Some people even reacted to traditionally non-reactive kinds of milk including almond, soy, and coconut milk.
In the same study, researchers provided a perfect alternative to cow's milk; camel milk, which was the second least reactive milk in this study, right after human milk.
Cow's milk is still the most common milk people drink. The milk can be very healthy for you mainly because of all its high content of essential nutrients.
Cow's milk is a significant source of protein, vitamin D, vitamin A, and above all else, calcium.
Benefits of cow's milk
- The best source of calcium
- Contains high-quality proteins
- Contains all nine essential amino acids you need
- Good for your bones
- Good for your muscles
- May prevent osteoporosis
Potential side-effects of cow's milk
As mentioned above, some people may be lactose intolerant and some could also have a milk allergy.
Overconsumption of milk could have serious side-effects
A study from Sweden indicate that high levels of cow milk consumption, regularly every day, may in fact shorten your life. Especially for women.
But the researchers stress that their findings needs further research before their findings could be used to change dieatary guidelines.
We've written an article about the benefits and side-effects of drinking milk every day if you're interested in learning more about cow's milk.
What kind and where to buy cow's milk
There are plenty of different brands and varieties of milk available. We recommend you to buy a variety that's the healthiest and also the most convenient.
We recommend a 100% real whole milk on Amazon. It comes in a perfectly sized 8 ounce carton which makes it easy to portion or to put in your child's lunchbox.
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Soy milk is one of the most popular dairy milk alternatives today, mainly because so many people are lactose intolerant.
It's made from the extract of soybeans, and it comes in sweetened, unsweetened, and flavored varieties, such as chocolate and vanilla.
The best variety is, of course, the unsweetened milk if you are after the healthiest alternative.
But that might not be the one who tastes best. That's a matter of opinion.
Benefits of Soy Milk
The soy milk contains a similar amount of protein as cow's milk and has a mild flavor.
A warning about high levels of pesticide residues
Soy milk has one big disadvantage, and that is pesticides. Ninety-four percent of total acres used for growing soybeans are herbicide-tolerant, which means that the soybeans can be sprayed with glyphosate, glufosinate, and dicamba.
Glyphosate is one of the most toxic chemicals used in agriculture today.
According to a food chemistry report GM-soy contained the highest residues of glyphosate, meanwhile the organic soybean batches contained none of these agrochemicals.
Studies have linked glyphosate to several health issues like cancers, kidney diseases, and DNA damage.
What and where to buy soy milk
If you are after soy milk, look for organic milk. Organic soybeans have showed a healthier nutritional profile with more sugars, such as glucose, fructose, sucrose and maltose, significantly more total protein, zinc and less fiber than both conventional and GM-soy.
Here's an organic brand of soy milk that we recommend on Amazon that's the best we've been able to find.
Almond milk is one of the most popular dairy milk alternatives today. Almond milk is made from ground almonds, water, and, in most cases, a sweetener.
It's also commonly fortified with vitamins and minerals.
Almond milk has a creamy texture, similar to that of dairy milk.
It's known as
America's favorite plant-based milk.
This plant-based alternative is lower in calories and fat than cow's milk. Although almond milk is not nearly as nutritious as cow's milk, enriched products come close.
You can find almond milk in different varieties. Be sure to read the label before you buy.
For the healthier choice, you should choose almond milk that has no added sugar.
Benefits of almond milk
- Unsweetened doesn't raise blood sugar
- Enriched with calcium may strengthen your bones
- Quite easy to make yourself
Almond milk is not as healthy as almonds!
Controlled studies have linked whole almonds to a variety of health benefits, but many of them may not apply to almond milk. This because almond milk is strained and usually made from blanched almonds.
The process removes most of the almonds naturally occuring fiber and a large portion of its antioxidants.
What variety and where to buy Almond milk
You can make almond milk yourself if you want but there are also good varieties in store. If you don’t want to make it yourself, we recommend this brand of almond milk on Amazon. It's absolutely delicious and has no added sugar.
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Rice milk may be useful for people who are susceptible to allergies. It is often free from soy, gluten, and nuts.
Rice milk is the least allergenic of all plant-based milk.
However, if you have any allergy you need to check the label before consuming it.
Rice milk is made by pressing rice through a mill using diffusion to strain out the pressed grains.
Commercial brands of rice milk are often fortified with vitamins and minerals, including calcium, vitamin B, and iron.
Compared to cow's milk, rice milk contains more carbohydrates, but does not contain significant amounts of calcium or protein, and no cholesterol or lactose.
Benefits of rice milk
- Good choice if you have allergies
- Contains antioxidants that can help boost the strength of the immune system
- May boost digestion due to the lack of lactose
If you want to try some rice milk, we recommend the unsweetened milk. This organic rice milk available on Amazon is tasty with a smooth and creamy texture without that added sugar.
Oat milk is very mild in flavor with a thicker consistency, making it a great addition to coffee.
Oat milk is a good alternative because it's cheaper to make than nut milk and may be more environmentally friendly. But it's generally more expensive than cow's milk.
Oats contain the B vitamins thiamin and folate, the minerals magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, zinc, and copper, as well as a variety of other vitamins and minerals.
Not all of the nutrients survive the milk making process but there are still quite a good amount left to give you the added health benefits of choosing oat in milk form.
Benefits of oat milk
- Contains lots of good fibers
- High in beta-glucans, a soluble fiber with heart health benefits
- May lower cholesterol
Some varieties of commercial oat milk can be high in sugar, especially if they're sweetened or flavored.
That's why it's best to purchase unsweetened options. Here's an unsweetened brand without gums or stabilizers on Amazon, that we recommend.
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Coconut milk may be the milk alternative with a texture closest to that of whole milk. It can be thick or thin depending on how much of the coconut flesh the manufacturer put in the product.
It is relatively high in saturated fats and a good source of several vitamins and minerals.
Coconut milk is rich in vitamins and minerals, but the nutritional contents vary by product. For instance, coconut milk drinks have a different nutritional profile from canned coconut milk.
Benefits of coconut milk
- Contains medium-chain triglycerides which have been linked with weight loss and metabolism
- Might reduce inflammation
- Might be able to fight viruses
You can either buy unsweetened and organic coconut milk as a beverage or you can buy the canned unsweetened, organic variety that might be better in you food (both are available on Amazon).
Goat milk is a good alternative to cow's milk, because goat's milk is slightly lower in lactose than cow's milk and it actually becomes even lower in lactose when cultured into yogurt.
People with mild lactose intolerance may find that they can be able to eat goat's milk dairy.
Goat milk has a high presence of "prebiotic" carbohydrates called oligosaccharides.
They are the same type of carbohydrate that's present in human breast milk and are responsible for helping to support the good bacteria in a baby's digestive tract.
Goat's milk contains a higher level of vitamin A than cow's milk due to the fact that goats convert all carotene's into vitamin A.
Goat milk production is of significant importance to the economy and survival of large populations of many countries in the world.
Benefits of goat milk
- May prevent cardiovascular disease
- May prevent neurological degeneration
- Promotes intestinal health
Due to its potential health benefits, goat milk is recommended for infants, older adults, and convalescing people.
Goat milk has to be kept cool, so goat milk powder is a very good alternative for storage outside of the fridge. It’s very easy to use.
Here's a great tip for preparing the milk for consumption
- Start mixing powder with hot water first
- Once powder is smooth and creamy in texture, add cold water instead
- Best when chilled in your refrigerator overnight.
If you're interested in purchasing goat milk we recommend the powdered form as it's easy to use and stores longer. Here's whole, non GMO powdered one that's gluten free on Amazon that's from a producer with more than 80 years of experience.
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Camel milk has enough nutrients to sustain a person through a whole day. In many countries, camel milk is given to babies suffering from malnutrition.
Camel milk has been the primary type of milk consumed by many Bedouin cultures for generations.
Camel milk is three times higher in vitamin C than cow's milk and 10 times higher in iron. It's also high in unsaturated fatty acids and B vitamins but lower in vitamin A and B2, than cow milk.
Camel milk is a more environment-friendly way of obtaining milk, as camels do not need the massive amount of grazing areas like goats and cows.
Camel milk is more nutritious than milk from cows, sheep, and other animals because it contains low amounts of sugar lactose along with superior fat content.
Camel milk contains high concentrations of potassium, magnesium, copper, sodium, zinc, iron, B vitamins, and vitamin C.
The cost of producing a quart of camel's milk is considerably higher than that of producing a quart of cow's milk, approximately fifty times more expensive.
Benefits of camel milk
One review of 24 human and animal studies found that camel milk offered a clinical benefit for various diseases:
- Various infections
- Heavy metal toxicity
- Alcohol-induced toxicity
- It's safe for anyone with cow's milk allergies
- It can help with autism
- It's a proven cancer protector
- It helps with gut health
The camel milk we recommend to you is a 100% natural milk on Amazon that's been frozen for safe transport.
If you don’t want it frozen or have some difficulties storing fresh milk, camel milk powder is a great alternative. We recommend this freeze dried, gluten free camel milk powder on Amazon. It has absolutely no additives which is a big plus in our view.
Milk is a great beverage that many of us drink. Nowadays there are lots of different milk varieties to choose from.
Cow's milk is still the most common commercial milk.
But the plant-based milk is growing in popularity.
If we compare all of the milk varieties we have reviewed above there's only one that actually beats the cow's milk.
In our opinion it's Camel Milk! It's expensive, but reviewing the health benefits from it, it's worth it. The aspect that even lactose intolerance might be able to drink the milk is quite amazing, because of it's low content of lactose.
Some researchers evaluate the allergenicity and antigenicity of different mammalian and plant-based milk substitutes in healthy people.
They measured antibodies against cow, goat, sheep, camel, human milk, and soy, almond, and coconut plant-based milk substitutes.
The results showed that human milk was the least antigenic and allergenic, followed by camel milk. Cow's milk showed the highest percentage of elevation or reactivity.
Among plant-based milk substitutes, the almond-based substitute was the most allergenic.
Immune reactivity against coconut, almond and soy milk in some individuals who were non-reactive to mammalian milk, therefore, we should not assume that consumption of these milk is automatically without risk of allergenic response.
As with many things in life, we recommend you drink milk or milk alternatives in moderation. Especially if you have some kind of allergy.
As stated in first half of this article we've written an article about benefits and side-effects of drinking milk every day if you're interested in learning more about cow's milk.
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Frequently asked questions about Milk
Is cow’s milk bad for you?
No, cow’s milk can be very healthy for you. Cow’s milk has, in recent years, gotten a somewhat bad reputation. It’s no longer the only choice you have when buying milk. But cow’s milk is still the most common milk that people drink. Cow’s milk can be very healthy for you mainly because of its high content of essential nutrients.
What different kinds of milk are there?
There are two kinds of categories of milk; dairy milk and plant-based milk. The dairy milk comes from mammals like cows, goats and camels. The plant-based milk comes mainly from soy, almond, rice, oats and coconut.
Is plant-based milk the best alternative if you’re lactose intolerant?
Not necessarily, plant- based milk is a good alternative if you have a lactose intolerance because it’s lactose free, but it’s not the only alternative. For example goat milk is a good alternative if you have a mild lactose intolerance. The lactose is sightly lower than in cows milk, and gets even lower when cultured in to yogurt. Another choice with even lower lactose content is camel milk. Camel milk contains less lactose than goat milk.
Does milk contain sugar?
All dairy milk contain some amount of sugar. Lactose is a naturally occurring sugar. Lactose is also known as milk sugar. Usually dairy milk has no added sugar beyond its normal lactose content. The plant-based alternatives do however quite often have added sugar in them. Sugar is from a health perspective something to avoid so make sure you choose a plant-based alternative that’s unsweetened.