Why Soy Milk is Such a Healthy Alternative to Cow's Milk
Soy milk has so many benefits that it really does offer something to everyone who may be interested in finding an alternative to traditional cow's milk.
Whether it is health concerns or simply finding another healthy option, more and more people are finding that they can turn to soy milk as a replacement to cow's milk.
At Laura® Soybeans, where we grow, package and sell our very own non-GMO soybeans, we have long championed soy milk and its benefits.
We could go on and on about how much we love soy milk, but here are some of the reasons why many people who give it a try never turn back - and often become huge fans themselves.
Cow's milk simply isn't an option for some people
Cow's milk certainly has its own benefits, but those pros, for many people, do not actually outweigh the cons of cow's milk.
The most obvious example of this is intolerance and allergies to cow's milk and other products that may contain it.
Lactose intolerance vs. dairy allergy
Lactose intolerance is quite common among adults in the U.S., according to WebMD. About 30 million adult Americans are lactose intolerant by 20 years old. This is when the body doesn't produce lactase, an enzyme needed to digest the sugar in milk called lactose. This can cause the lactose to go undigested into your colon. There, bacteria breaks down the lactose, causing bloating and gas.
Though lactose intolerance is uncomfortable, it's not considered dangerous. An outright dairy allergy, on the other hand, can be. Symptoms of dairy allergies can range from mild to severe.
Dairy allergies are pretty common among children. WebMD states that up to 2 in 100 children younger than 4 years old are allergic to milk.
For people who suffer from lactose intolerance or dairy allergies, soy milk can be an enjoyable, healthy alternative.
Soy milk is packed with protein, vitamins and other benefits
Protein is vital for our bodies' growth and health. Of all the plant-based milk alternatives available, soy milk has the most protein. In fact, each cup of soy milk has 7 grams of protein. Compare that to cow's milk, which has 8 grams of protein. Not too bad.
But how do other alternatives match up? Pretty poorly, to be honest. A cup of almond milk has only 2 grams of protein. Coconut milk has no protein.
Soy milk clearly has the advantage over other dairy alternatives when it comes to protein.
In addition, though, soy milk also is a great source of Vitamin A, Vitamin B-12, potassium and isoflavones. We will dive more into the benefits of isoflavones later.
Many soy milk varieties can be fortified with calcium and vitamin D, as well.
Soy milk is cholesterol-free
Over 102 million adults in the U.S. have cholesterol levels that are considered unhealthy, the CDC says. Among those people 35 million have levels of cholesterol high enough that they're at a high risk for heart disease.
One way doctors recommend managing cholesterol is for people to better watch their diets.
Here's where soy - and soy milk - enter into the discussion. Soybeans and foods made from soy can be a good way to lower cholesterol levels. Harvard Medical School says analyses have shown that 25 grams of soy protein consumed per day can lower LDL, a harmful particle that carries cholesterol, by 5 to 6 percent.
In soy milk, 25 grams equals 2.5 cups. That's perfectly doable for people looking to make diet changes.
You could also add 10 ounces tofu, which is made from soybeans, to your daily diet to reach the recommended 25 grams.
Soy milk is very low in saturated fat
One cup of soy milk contains just 0.5 grams of saturated fat. Cow's milk, on the other hand, contains 1.5 grams in 1 percent fat milk, 3.1 grams in 2 percent and 4.6 grams in whole milk.
Consume too much saturated fat and you could be headed toward heart disease and other health problems, according to the National Library of Medicine.
Saturated fat is known to cause adverse health effects, one of the more obvious being weight gain. Fats contain 9 calories per gram of fat. If you're counting calories, then all fats - especially saturated - are probably best avoided.
The National Library of Medicine also lists heart disease risk as one of the top health concerns linked to consuming too much saturated fat. Too much saturated fat, the agency states on MedlinePlus.gov, can increase cholesterol.
Sound familiar? We just covered this above!
When it comes to your heart, soy milk is a better option than cow's milk.
Soy milk helps with menopause
Women who preparing for menopause should consider introducing soy milk - or increasing soy milk consumption - to their diets.
During menopause, estrogen levels in a woman's body lower very quickly. This can often cause common symptoms, including hot flashes, discomfort, exhaustion and mood swings.
Soy milk naturally contains isoflavones, or phytoestrogens, which are safe compounds that can help replace lowered levels of estrogen.
Make your own soy milk - and mix it up
Think replacing cow's milk in your diet means no more chocolate milk or other fun milk varieties? Think again.
We have recipes for chocolate milk and milk smoothies that use our non-GMO Laura® Soybeans. Want more flavoring options, including vanilla and strawberry soy milk? We have recipes for those, too. Give them a try!
For the bes soybeans, go with Laura®
We grow the highest quality soybeans here at Laura®. Our family, the Chambers, has more than 100 years of experience in farming. We grow, harvest, process and package all of our non-GMO, vegan-endorsed products on our fifth-generation family farm in Iowa.
If you are interested in giving soy milk a try, or want a soybean you know comes straight from one family's farm to your family's table, then give our Laura® Soybeans products a try today.