Alternatives to traditional dairy milk products have never been as popular as they are today. Walk the isles at your local grocery store and you will find dairy alternatives that use a number of primary ingredients.
There is soy milk, of course, but there are now a number of other options that customers can consider, too. Rice, almond and coconut alternatives sit near the soy-based products. Though soy milk now competes with those other options out there, it does have several advantages that make it an incredibly healthy and nutritious choice.
Soy milk can serve not only as a substitute to dairy milk, but also can surpass traditional dairy products thanks to its known health benefits. But if you are wondering what it is about soy milk that makes it so healthy, then continue reading to discover more about this awesome product.
Why people continue to choose soy milk
Soy milk has a history in the U.S. that stretches back many years. It was the first widely available alternative to traditional milk. Soy milk first started to show up in the U.S. in the 1930s, but faced an uphill battle to get where it is today. Its popularity ebbed and flowed up to the 1990s when its many health benefits started to be recognized by the media.
Soy milk media coverage took off in 1995 when The New England Medical Journal published an article citing research that connected the consumption of soy protein to lower levels of LDL - or bad - cholesterol and increased the levels of HDL - or good - cholesterol. Four years after that, soy milk producers were given the green light by the FDA to market this benefit on their packaging.
Around this time, media coverage also started to begin picking up soy milk's other health benefits - including better bone health, menopause symptom management and weight loss benefits. Today, even as more competitors have popped up over time, soy milk still has been able to hold its own thanks to the many health advantages it offers to those who introduce it to their diets.
What is soy milk?
Soy milk is a plant-based beverage that is made by cooking soybeans in water, grinding them up and them pressing them. By pressing the ground up soybeans, you can then separate the insoluble fiber from the liquid.
If bought at a story, soy milk can take on different textures and appearances. Some soy milk products can be chalky and maybe a little thin, while other brands have a very rich and sweet flavor. Other brands add thickening agents to their recipes so that their soy milk has a texture more similar to dairy milk.
Overall, soy milk is very comparable with traditional milk as far as nutritional value goes. Soy milk is the closest you can get to dairy milk in terms of protein content per serving.
What about soy milk makes it so healthy?
However, where soy milk really shines is the amount of vitamins and nutrients it contains. Its thanks to these that soy milk proponents can boast about its many benefits when compared to cow's milk and soy milk's other non-dairy competitors.
Soy milk has so many of these vitamins and nutrients that it can compete with dairy milk in terms of nutrition. You can't say the same for many of the other dairy alternatives. According to a 2018 study, soy milk is the most nutrient-dense of any of those other alternatives, such as rice, almond and coconut milk.
Soy milk contains plenty of protein and calcium. It actually has seven grams of protein per serving. Traditional milk contains eight grams. Other options do not even come close. As far as calcium goes, both soy milk and cow's milk have 300 milligrams of calcium per serving. Again, most of soy milk's competitors can't really compete here.
In addition to that beneficial protein and calcium, soy milk also has plenty of vitamin A, D and K that our bodies need.
Benefits of a plant-based dairy milk alternative
Because it is a plant-based alternative to traditional cow's milk, soy milk has even more benefits that make it an excellent, go-to dietary option. You may have also heard about the isoflavones present in soy milk.
These isoflavones are phytoestrogens, a type of plant chemical. Isoflavones have been studied frequently and many scientists have pointed to benefits that provide plenty of reason for drinking soy milk.
For example, isoflavones could help improve bone health and prevent osteoporosis. That's true of cow's milk, too, but these isoflavones offer another benefit that dairy products do not. There is also a lot of research that shows isoflavones can help reduce the symptoms of menopause.
Other research has returned with results that show the plant compounds present in soy milk are very beneficial for heart health. A diet that includes soy milk can help combat the risk of heart disease and lower cholesterol levels. Recent claims have begun popping up that try to challenge soy's benefits for a healthy heart, but time and time again, research has pointed to the fact that this is a valid pro of consuming soy milk.
Finally, whenever soy milk is being discussed, it's good to note what soy milk does not have in it that milk does: calories and fat. Soy milk is lower in calories and fat than cow's milk. However, keep an eye on the nutrition labels of sweetened soy milk.
Make your own soy milk with Laura Soybeans
Now that you have read up on why soy milk is so good for you, why not learn how to make your very own soy milk at home using Laura® Soybeans? We have an excellent recipe that is easy to follow and makes some seriously delicious soy milk. Plus, the cost to make your own soy milk is less than half of what you would need to pay at the grocery store.
The recipe uses our soybeans - known for making the best soy milk, tofu and other soy products. Laura® Soybeans are a non-GMO and vegan-endorsed source of 100% natural protein grown on our family farm in Iowa.
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