20 Plant-based milk alternatives: Information, Production and Health Benefits

Table of contents

Why choose a non-dairy milk alternative?

Production process of Plant-based milks – How are plant-based milks produced?

Oat Milk

Rice Milk

Soy milk

Peanut Milk

Lupin Milk

Almond milk

Cashew Milk

Pistachio milk

Walnut Milk

Macadamia nuts milk

Sesame seeds milk

Hemp Milk

Pea Milk

Flax seed Milk

Hazelnut milk

Quinoa Milk

Coconut Milk

Banana Milk

Potato Milk

What is the fortification of milk?

What are the Potential Downsides of Plant-based Milk?

Plant-based milk alternatives are fluids that result from the breakdown (size reduction) of plant material (cereals, pseudo-cereals, legumes, oilseeds, nuts) extracted in water and further homogenized. This results in particle size distribution in a range of 5–20 μm which imitates cow’s milk in appearance and consistency. Although there is no stated definition and classification of these plant-based milk alternatives in literature, a general classification of the plant-based milk alternatives is attempted into five categories, which are as follows:

  • Cereal-based: Oat milk, Rice milk, Corn milk, Spelt milk, Kamut
  • Legume-based: Soy milk, Peanut milk, Lupin milk, Cowpea milk, Bambara groundnut,  Kidney bean,  Chickpea
  • Nut-based: Almond milk, Hazelnut milk, Pistachio milk, Walnut milk, Cashew milk, Macadamia
  • Seed-based: Sesame milk, Flax milk, Hemp milk, Sunflower milk, Pumpkin seed
  • Pseudo-cereal based: Quinoa milk, Teff milk, Amaranth milk.
  • Other: Banana milk,  Coconut milk, Potato milk, Moringa, colocynth (Citrullus colocynthis) seeds,  cantaloupe-seeds milk alternative

Why choose a non-dairy milk alternative?

  • The raw material processes in plant-based milk production allow for the enhancement of nutritional content. These milks can be fortified with essential vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, providing a balanced beverage.
  • Plant-based milk is derived from a variety of sources, such as cereals, legumes, nuts, seeds, and others. This diversity allows consumers to choose from a wide range of flavors, nutritional profiles, and dietary preferences and requirements.
  • Many plant-based milks, including almond, soy, and oat milk, are naturally low in saturated fat and cholesterol. Additionally, they often contain beneficial compounds like antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids, contributing to heart health and overall well-being.
  • Plant-based milk is an alternative for people with allergies or intolerances to dairy products. Common allergens such as lactose, casein, and whey are absent, making these milk alternatives suitable for a broader population. According to research by the U.S. National Library of Medicine (2020), a reduction in the digestion of lactose has appeared in 65% of the world population. 
  • The production of plant-based milk is generally considered more environmentally sustainable than traditional dairy farming. Plant agriculture tends to have a lower ecological footprint, requiring less land, water, and emitting fewer greenhouse gases, contributing to a more sustainable food system. Notably, studies have highlighted the substantial water footprint of milk production, indicating that it requires 600–800 liters of water to produce one liter of milk—four times more than the water needed for the production of one liter of soymilk, a plant-based alternative derived from soybeans. 
  • Plant-based milks, particularly those derived from legumes like soy and peas, offer a rich source of plant-based proteins. 
  • The formulation stage allows for customization, enabling the addition of flavors, sweeteners, and other ingredients to enhance taste and palatability. This flexibility encourages innovation in the development of new and diverse plant-based milk products.
  • The plant-based milk market is witnessing continuous growth, fostering innovation and expanding accessibility. By 2033 the market for plant-based milk is expected to reach 47.2 Billion dollars, while by 2023 is 19.8 Billion dollars.

The production process of Plant-based milk – How is plant-based milk produced?

As mentioned above, a wide range of cereals, legumes, nuts, and seeds can be used to make plant-based milks. After harvesting, several processing techniques are used in order to produce these non-dairy beverages.

  1. Raw Material Pretreatment: Raw materials undergo pretreatment to enhance extraction, improve nutritional quality, and eliminate off-flavors. Techniques include dehulling, soaking, and blanching.
  2. Extraction: The extraction process is crucial in product composition. Various methods, including alkaline solutions or enzymatic hydrolysis, are used to increase yield and efficiency.
  3. Separation: Filtration, decantation, or centrifugation removes coarse particles from the slurry. Excess fat, especially in high-fat content raw materials, can be separated for further use.
  4. Product Formulation: After removing insoluble materials, additional ingredients like vitamins, minerals, sweeteners, flavors, and stabilizers are added. Fortification is essential to enhance nutritional quality.
  5. Homogenization: Insoluble particles are reduced in size through homogenization using mechanical devices such as high-shear mixers or colloid mills. This improves stability by disrupting aggregates.
  6. Heat Treatment: Heat treatment contributes to preservation by reducing microbial counts and inactivating enzymes. High-temperature processes such as pasteurization, sterilization, or UHT (ultra-high temperature) are utilized to prolong the shelf life of plant-based milk by eliminating microorganisms.
  7. Nutrient Fortification: Processing may affect micronutrient concentrations, so supplementation of water-soluble vitamins and minerals is recommended after thermal treatment to ensure nutritional adequacy.

plant based milk

A general outline  of the  manufacturing process of  plant-based milk  alternatives (Source: Reyes-Jurado)

Producing a daily glass of dairy milk for a year consumes 650 square meters (7,000 square feet) of land, equivalent to two tennis courts, which is over 10 times more than the land required for the same amount of oat milk. Almond milk, has a higher water footprint compared to soy or oat milk. The production of a single glass demands 74 liters (130 pints) of water, surpassing the water usage of a typical shower. Rice milk is also relatively water-intensive, needing 54 liters of water per glass (Poore, 2018). It’s important to note that almond and rice milk still have a lower water footprint than the traditional glass of dairy milk.

Which milk has the highest greenhouse emissions?- Which milk needs the most water to be produced?

plant based milk

Source: (Poore & Nemecek (2018), BBC )

What are the differences in nutritional value in plant-based milks?

plant based milk

Source: (Reyes-Jurado et al., 2021 and Pointke M et al. 2022) 

Other plant-based milks, such as millet, amaranth, melon seed milk etc. are prepared and/or commercially available in some countries; however, scientific literature on these milks is not available.

Cereal Based Milk

Oat Milk: Information, Production and Health Benefits 

Oat milk is made from whole oat grains or oat groats. It has a mild, slightly sweet flavor and a creamy texture. Oat milk primarily consists of water and oat flour, and ingredients like vegetable oil, salt, stabilizers, vitamin blends, sweeteners, and flavors. Brands offer diverse options, such as original, extra creamy, low-fat, and flavors like vanilla and chocolate. 

The production process involves combining rolled oats with water to form a slurry. After that, there is a hydrolysis to prevent starch gelatinization at high temperatures. Filtration is the last step, resulting in a shelf-stable product through ultra-high temperature (UHT) processing. 

Oats have garnered significant attention due to their rich content of dietary fibers, phytochemicals, and high nutritional value. They offer diverse health benefits, including hypocholesterolemic and anticancerous properties. These health advantages are linked to the presence of dietary fibers like β-glucan, functional proteins, lipids, starch components, and phytochemicals found in oat grains, making it a promising raw material for the production of functional plant-based milk. Oat fibers are recognized for their hypocholesterolemic effects, effectively reducing total and LDL cholesterol.

Additionally, oats offer a rich source of antioxidants and polyphenols. However, despite the health benefits, oat milk lacks calcium, an essential nutrient for growth and development. This is why it needs to be fortified before its consumption as a milk alternative.

Rice Milk: Information, Production and Health Benefits 

Typically made from brown rice and its derivatives, rice milk shares similarities with dairy milk in taste and behavior in recipes. Rice milk doesn’t have saturated fat. 

The industrial process of producing rice milk involves multiple steps. In the beginning, rice grains are milled, either fully or partially. “Fully milled” means removing the husk, germ, and bran, leaving only white rice. In contrast, “partially milled” means removing only the husk keeping brown rice. While the fully milled process creates an optimal texture, it leads to losses of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. The milled rice is ground, turned into a slurry by mixing with water, and filtered to eliminate large or coarse particles. Enzymes are then added to partially break down starch. When the desired thickness is achieved, additional ingredients like oil, salt, stabilizers, vitamins, minerals, flavors, and sweeteners are introduced. After adding oil, homogenization forms an emulsion, providing creaminess and stability to the rice milk (Makinen et al., 2016).

Fortified rice milk offers benefits, such as promoting bone health due to calcium and vitamin D content. Adequate calcium intake is crucial for preventing osteoporosis, and vitamin D aids in calcium absorption. Calcium in rice milk supports not only bone health but also nerve-muscle communication, blood vessel health, and hormone release. Calcium citrate, often added to rice milk, is easily absorbed, making it suitable for individuals with low stomach acid or absorption disorders.

Rice milk can also be helpful in preventing vitamin B12 deficiency, particularly for individuals with absorption issues or certain dietary restrictions.

Rice milk is often considered the least allergenic among dairy and non-dairy milk options, making it suitable for those with common allergens like soy, gluten, milk protein, or nuts.

Legume based milk

Soy milk: Information, Production and Health Benefits 

Soy milk is made from soybeans. Soy milk, first reported 2000 years ago in China, served as a nutrient source in areas with inadequate milk supply. It was a substitute for those allergic to milk proteins and lactose intolerant. 

The production of soy milk involves dehulling, heating, soaking, and rinsing whole soybeans to eliminate a beany flavor and reduce antinutrient content. The beans are then ground and filtered, with the soy pulp, containing insoluble fiber and some protein, removed while retaining most of the soy protein. Commercially, soy milk ingredients typically include water, soybeans, a vitamin and mineral blend, salt, natural flavor, and a thickening gum. Some brands may add soy protein concentrate and sugar in sweetened, flavored varieties. Soy milk is commonly fortified with calcium and vitamins A and D, available in various types and flavors like original, light, organic, unsweetened, vanilla, and chocolate. It is rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids and it supports cardiovascular health. Soy milk lowers plasma LDL cholesterol levels, decreases lipid peroxidation, and improves gastrointestinal health. Isoflavones contribute to soy’s protective effects against cancer, cardiovascular disease, and osteoporosis. Soy proteins and phytochemicals like phytosterols further provide therapeutic benefits and cholesterol-lowering properties.

Soy milk is cholesterol-free, lactose-free, and has high nutritional value, digestibility, and cost-effectiveness. It has four times more vitamin D content that cow’s milk. It has a creamy texture and is a good source of protein.

Environmentally, growing soy requires low land and water use and doesn’t produce high greenhouse gas emissions.

soy milk

Peanut Milk: Information, Production and Health Benefits

Peanut milk is made from peanuts and water. It has a distinct peanut flavor and is a good source of protein. 

Oilseeds are increasingly recognized as an alternative to non-dairy beverages, with peanuts standing out. However, the presence of a beany flavor has restricted its widespread applications. Peanut milk is extensively used in developing countries, catering to low-income groups, malnourished children, vegetarians, and individuals with cow’s milk allergies. The growing awareness of the health benefits associated with plant-based milk has further contributed to its increased consumption.

Peanut milk is prepared by normal soaking of the peanuts, soaking in 1% NaHCO3 to remove beany flavor, and roasting followed by soaking. Peanuts are ground with hot water, the slurry is sieved, and peanut milk is produced. 

Peanuts are hailed for their nutritional profile, containing proteins, fats, fibers, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytosterols, and more. This nutrient-rich composition positions peanuts as a healthy choice, potentially positively impacting blood lipid levels, blood sugar regulation, and overall longevity. The functional properties of peanuts are primarily attributed to the presence of phenolic compounds, renowned for their antioxidant functions and protective roles against oxidative damage-related diseases such as coronary heart disease, stroke, and various cancers.

Lupin Milk: Information, Production and Health Benefits 

Lupin milk is made from lupins. Lupin is a native legume of Latin America.

In the production process (Patent EP0449396A1), pre-swollen lupin seeds are ground, and the resulting mash is stirred, if necessary, with additional water to give a thick paste. The protein-containing lupin milk is pressed at room temperature, processed at higher temperatures, and packaged.

Sweet lupin has a low glycemic index, making it a versatile ingredient in various food products. Lupin milk has a mild and nutty flavor. Additionally, it is low in calories and fat, and free from cholesterol. Its applications span traditional fermented items like Tempe and Miso to dairy substitutes, bakery products, pasta, noodles, and beyond. It has numerous advantages for creating plant-based milk. It is rich in protein, fiber, and vitamins B and E, it presents a nutritious option. Australian lupin, in particular, has high protein content ranging from 29% to 44%, substantial dietary fiber at 30%, and low-fat content at 6%. Plant-based milk is usually fortified with methionine at a rate of 0.1% to enhance its nutritional value.

Nut-based milk

Almond milk: Information, Production and Health Benefits 

Almond milk is made from roasted or raw almonds. It has a slightly nutty flavor and is often fortified with vitamins.

Commercial almond milk brands typically consist of filtered water, almonds, vitamin and mineral blends, salt, and various additives like gums, ascorbic acid, and sunflower lecithin, among others. The production process involves heating almond powder in water at 90°C, removing large particles through centrifugation, and homogenizing the fluid to achieve a texture similar to cow’s milk. To ensure safety, the almond milk undergoes treatment at ultra-high temperature (UHT) for shelf stability, or it may be pasteurized, requiring refrigeration due to a shorter shelf life. However, the high temperatures employed for safety reasons can lead to nutrient losses in the final product. 

Compared to other plant-based milk, almond milk is a natural provider of essential vitamins, particularly vitamin E, a nutrient the human body cannot produce and must be obtained through dietary intake or supplements. Alpha-tocopherol, the active component of Vitamin E, functions as a potent antioxidant, playing a crucial role in safeguarding against free-radical reactions. Almonds are abundant in various nutrients, including calcium, magnesium, selenium, potassium, zinc, phosphorus, and copper.

Additionally, almonds exhibit potential prebiotic properties (arabinose). This contributes to their functionality by aiding in reducing cholesterol levels, adding to the overall health benefits. It is nutritionally better than other plant-based milks because it is a rich source of calcium and fat and low in calorie count.

However, from an environmental point of view, it’s not a good choice. Almonds are grown intensively in California, which has suffered significant drought in recent years. Important to note is that it takes 130 pints of water to make just one glass of almond milk.

almond milk

Cashew Milk: Information, Production and Health Benefits 

Cashew milk is made primarily from a blend of cashews and water.It has a creamy texture and a rich flavor. 

Cashew is ranked as the third most consumed tree nut in the United States. The production process begins with washing and drying cashew kernels, followed by soaking them in hot water to eliminate the hull. Subsequent soaking in cold deionized water, draining, rinsing, and wet-milling lead to a slurry. This slurry undergoes filtration and is pasteurized or subjected to ultra-high temperature (UHT) treatment for shelf stability. To enhance texture, emulsify, and intensify flavor, ingredients like gums, lecithin, and flavors are added in the final steps of production. Additional ingredients may include calcium carbonate, vitamins E, A, and D2. If the milk is flavored, sugar and other ingredients are also added. 

Cashew milk provides an alternative for those with lactose intolerance. Cashew milk presents a lower-calorie option compared to cow’s milk, while still delivering similar amounts of calcium, vitamin A, and vitamin D.

In alignment with USDA Dietary Guidelines, cashew milk, contains low levels of saturated fat. The primary fatty acid in cashews is oleic acid, which is associated with cardiovascular benefits. However, it’s important to note that the amount of cashews in a serving of commercial cashew milk is approximately 3 cashews per serving, which is limiting the potential health benefits compared to consuming whole cashews. It is not recommended for people with nut allergies or sensitivities

Pistachio milk: Information, Production and Health Benefits 

Pistachio milk is made from pistachios. It has a unique, slightly sweet flavor. 

Pistachio milk offers various nutritional benefits. One serving provides a notable percentage of the reference daily intake (RDI) for essential nutrients, including potassium, phosphorus, vitamin B6, vitamin B2, copper, and manganese. Pistachios are known for their antioxidant properties and they contain lutein, zeaxanthin, polyphenols, and tocopherols. These antioxidants play a role in preventing cell damage, reducing the risk of diseases like cancer, and protecting eyes from blue light damage and age-related macular degeneration.  In terms of weight loss, pistachios are considered a low-calorie nut, and pistachio milk may contribute to weight management. Studies suggest that the fat content in pistachios may not be fully absorbed due to its plant cell wall structure, potentially aiding in weight loss. 

Additionally, pistachio milk stands out for its environmental friendliness. Plant-based milks, including pistachio milk, are recognized for their low environmental impact, requiring less water and land and emitting fewer greenhouse gases. Pistachios require significantly less water than some other nuts like almonds, contributing to a more sustainable agricultural practice. More specifically, pistachio milk uses about 6x less water than dairy and almost 4x less water than almond milk.

Walnut Milk: Information, Production and Health Benefits 

Walnut milk is made from walnuts. It has a creamy texture and a mild walnut flavor.

The process of producing walnut milk starts when the fresh walnuts are dehusked, soaked in hot water, and peeled. After washing, the walnuts are transferred to a colloid mill machine to create walnut pulp. The walnut pulp undergoes filtration, blending, pasteurization, and homogenization. Finally, the produced walnut milk is filled into bottles or cans for packaging. Regarding the health benefits, it is rich in antioxidants as they contain ellagitannins and tocopherols which provide protection against inflammation. It is a source of essential fatty acids as they are high in polyunsaturated fatty acids, with alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and linoleic acid being dominant. ALA has been associated with a lower risk of heart disease, and it’s neuroprotective. It is a good fiber source that promotes a healthy gut microbiome and helps in weight management. In a study involving obese individuals, a daily smoothie with walnuts reduced appetite and hunger compared to a placebo drink.

Macadamia nuts milk: Information, Production and Health Benefits 

Macadamia is made from macadamia nuts. It has a creamy texture and a subtle buttery taste. Macadamias are rich in monounsaturated fats and are known to reduce oxidative stress, inflammation, and signs of aging. Despite being high in fat, they can improve cholesterol levels. This milk is packed with essential nutrients like calcium, thiamine, iron, B6, potassium, and manganese. Many times may be fortified with vitamins and minerals. 

Compared to other non-dairy milks, macadamia milk stands out for its higher manganese content and good fats. While macadamia nut milk doesn’t have a lot of protein, it offers a diverse range of vitamins and minerals and it is cholesterol-free 

Seed-based milk

Sesame seeds milk: Information, Production and Health Benefits 

Seame milk is made from sesame seeds. It has a nutty flavor and is a good source of calcium. 

Sesame is a crucial oilseed crop globally, finding its way into various preparations like tahini and sweet treats. 

The production process of sesame milk comprises of washing, water extraction, filtering via high-performance centrifuge, mixing sesame milk with other ingredients and packaging, sterilizing and cooling down.

It has high-quality protein content with a distinctive amino acid balance; sesame seeds have significant levels of lignans (sesamin, sesamolin, and others), recognized for their functional properties. These sesame lignans exhibit nutraceutical benefits, showcasing antioxidative, hypocholesterolemic, anticarcinogenic, antitumor, and antivirus activities. While sesame seeds contain significant anti-nutritional factors such as oxalates and phytates, the oxalates are mainly located in the outer hull, with a significant portion removed during decortication. Moreover, compounds responsible for the bitterness of sesame seeds are confined to the hulls, making decortication an essential process that improves flavor and eliminates associated bitterness.

The consumption of sesame milk presents a promising alternative to address some limitations linked to soy milk consumption, including the presence of flatulence-inducing factors, allergies to soy proteins, and the beany flavor often associated with soy products.

Hemp Milk: Information, Production and Health Benefits 

Hemp milk is made from hemp seeds. 

The production of commercial hemp milk involves mixing hemp seeds are mixed with hot water, allowing them to absorb water and soften. This mixture is wet-milled until the desired consistency is achieved. The resulting slurry is filtered, homogenized for stability, and then cooled to prevent oxidation. Additional ingredients like water, emulsifiers, stabilizers, sweeteners, and flavorings are added to customize the hemp milk. Finally, aseptic processing, including ultra-high temperature (UHT) treatment, is employed to extend the shelf life of the product.It has a slightly nutty flavor and is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids.

Hemp seeds are unique among plant-based foods as they provide all essential amino acids, making them a complete protein. They are also rich in omega-3 fats. Limited research shows, though, the potential benefits of hempseed oil on skin health, reducing dryness and itchiness.  In cardiovascular health, hemp seed protein contains arginine, which is converted to nitric oxide, promoting blood vessel relaxation. However, hemp milk has low hemp seed content per serving, possibly limiting its cardiovascular benefits.

A positive aspect of hemp milk is its unsaturated fats, aligning with dietary guidelines to reduce saturated fats for cardiovascular health. One disadvantage of hemp milk is that it has a low protein content per serving. Users should ensure adequate protein intake from other sources or enhance hemp milk with protein powder if replacing cow’s milk.

Pea Milk: Information, Production and Health Benefits 

In contrast to nut-based milk, which involves soaking and blending nuts, pea milk is produced by grinding yellow split-peas into a flour. 

The process involves creating pea flour, separating protein from fiber and starch, resulting in a white-colored liquid. Following purification, the protein is mixed with water and additional ingredients for enhanced taste and texture. 

In terms of nutrition, a cup of pea milk generally contains 70 to 100 calories, 6 to 15 grams of carbohydrates, 7 to 8 grams of protein, 4 to 5 grams of fat, and 6 to 15 grams of sugar, depending on the type. Additionally, it offers around 465 milligrams of fortified calcium and includes iron, potassium, vitamin A, and vitamin D.

Pea milk has many benefits. Firstly, it provides a dairy-free and soy-free alternative for those seeking the creaminess of cow’s milk without lactose-related digestive concerns. Rich in protein, comparable to 2% cow’s milk, it aligns with vegan and vegetarian diets, offering a plant-based protein source like soy milk. Fortification with essential nutrients like calcium and vitamin D makes it suitable for growth and development, particularly beneficial for children. Some varieties also include added vitamin B12, addressing a common deficiency in vegan diets. 

Additionally, beyond nutritional advantages, pea milk production is environmentally sustainable, utilizing fewer resources compared to traditional dairy milk.

Flax Seed Milk: Information, Production and Health Benefits 

Flaxseed milk is made from flax seeds. It has a mild, slightly nutty flavor, like almond, and is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids.

Flaxseed has gained global recognition as a health food due to its rich content of diverse nutrients and bioactive compounds, including oil, fatty acids, proteins, peptides, fiber, lignans, carbohydrates, and micronutrients. These components give flaxseed various beneficial properties, making it suitable for applications in nutraceuticals, food products, cosmetics, and biomaterials. Flaxseed milk stands out as a nutrient-rich beverage, offering omega-3 fatty acids which are crucial for heart health, blood pressure, brain function, and overall well-being. It encompasses a range of essential nutrients such as protein, fiber, calcium, iron, and vitamin B12, contributing to robust bone development, immune system enhancement, and overall health support. It also helps at weight management. It is low in calories and fat composition. The high fiber content in flaxseed milk induces a feeling of fullness, reducing the likelihood of overeating and facilitating adherence to weight management goals. 

Hazelnut milk: Information, Production and Health Benefits 

Hazelnut milk has a rich, nutty flavor similar to hazelnuts. 

In terms of production, hazelnut milk is typically made by soaking hazelnuts, blending them with water, and straining the mixture for a smoother consistency. Commercial varieties may have added flavorings and sweeteners, with some fortified with vitamins like D and B12. The pasteurization or UHT treatment ensures safety and shelf stability, and the final product is ready for consumption.

Hazelnut milk contains essential nutrients, including healthy fats, proteins, and various vitamins and minerals like calcium, magnesium, and potassium, hazelnut milk supports overall well-being. Its healthy fat composition, contributes to heart health by lowering bad cholesterol levels. Rich in antioxidants, particularly vitamin E, hazelnut milk helps combat free radicals, potentially reducing the risk of chronic diseases. Additionally, hazelnut milk provides dietary fiber that is good for digestive health. 

Pseudo-cereal based milk

Quinoa Milk: Information, Production and Health Benefits 

Quinoa milk has a mild, slightly earthy taste and is gluten-free.

Quinoa has high nutritional value as it contains essential fatty acids (omega-3 and omega-6), potassium, calcium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, magnesium, and vitamins B and E. The production of quinoa milks follows the steps of the cleaning process to remove any impurities or debris in quinoa. After, the grains are soaked in water. This soaking process helps soften the grains and begins the breakdown of complex compounds. The soaked quinoa is blended with water to create a quinoa slurry. The quinoa slurry is then strained to separate the liquid from the solid residue. This process removes the fibrous components of quinoa, leaving a smoother liquid. To enhance nutritional content, commercial quinoa milk may undergo fortification. This involves adding vitamins and minerals such as calcium, vitamin D, and B-vitamins to mimic the nutritional profile of cow’s milk. The last step is pasteurization which helps eliminate harmful bacteria and enzymes, extending the shelf life of the product.

Quinoa milk emerges as a protein-rich, low-fat, and low-carbohydrate alternative with zero cholesterol. Its suitability for diverse demographic groups, including babies, children, the elderly, and pregnant or lactating women, stems from its nutritious vegetable protein content, which is easily digestible. Apart from this, quinoa milk is advantageous for people dealing with diabetes and lactose intolerance. 

Other milks

Coconut Milk: Information, Production and Health Benefits 

Coconut milk has a rich, tropical flavor and is commonly used in cooking as well. Coconut milk has a vital role in Southeast Asian cuisine. 

Known for its high-fat content, coconut milk is commonly employed in curries to give thickness and substance to the dish. Coconut milk consists of water and coconut cream. It is possible to addl components like lecithin for emulsification and gums for thickening. Some brands fortify coconut milk with calcium, vitamins A and D, or even B12. 

Coconut cream is derived from dry-pressed coconut meat, later diluted with water to create coconut milk. Alternatively, soaking grated mature coconut meat in water and heat processing provides prodcut stability. It’s essential to distinguish coconut milk from coconut water, as the latter is a sweet, translucent fluid available directly from coconuts or in commercial packaging. 

Beyond its culinary uses, coconut is a nutrient-dense product and an excellent source of dietary fiber. The health benefits associated with coconut milk are diverse, including anti-carcinogenic, anti-microbial, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral properties. Lauric acid, a saturated fat in coconut milk and is linked to promoting brain development. Lauric acid is also known to boost the immune system and maintain the elasticity of blood vessels.

Additionally, coconut milk is a rich source of antioxidants, particularly vitamin E, which aids in combating the effects of aging. It is important to note that allergic reactions to coconut milk consumption are rare. Additional benefits of coconut milk include aiding digestion, nourishing the skin, and possessing cooling properties. However, the presence of saturated fats imposes limitations on its consumption despite its overall health advantages.

coconut milk

Banana Milk: Information, Production and Health Benefits 

Banana milk is a beverage made by blending bananas with water. It serves as an alternative to traditional milk and can be used similarly. It is also nut-free.  The main ingredient, bananas, contributes various nutrients and potential health benefits. However, the nutritional content may vary based on recipes, with some commercial brands adding sweeteners, flavorings, or other ingredients that may be less healthy. The store-bought versions might differ from homemade ones in terms of taste, nutritional profile, and allergen content. Banana milk contains micronutrients like potassium and vitamin B6 present in bananas. Commercial banana milk brands enhance their products with added potassium, calcium, and vitamin D.

Potato Milk: Information, Production and Health Benefits 

Potato milk is a creamy beverage made from potatoes, similar to almond, oat, soy or coconut milk.  Commercial Potato milk products contain water, potato, protein, fibers, and rapeseed oil. Sugars, flavors, vitamins, and emulsifiers. In a 100 ml serving, potato milk provides 39 calories, 1.5g fat, 4.4g carbohydrates, 1.1g fiber, and 1.3g protein. Notably, this serving offers 15% of daily calcium, vitamin D, riboflavin, and folic acid requirements. The unsweetened varieties have slightly higher fat content, with the unsweetened ones having less added sugar and fewer carbs. 

Fortification of plant-based milk

Fortification of plant-based milk is essential to ensure it serves as a suitable substitute for traditional cow’s milk. A substitute food is designed to resemble a common food, but nutritionally, plant-based milk differs from cow’s milk. While they are affordable alternatives for those who cannot afford or are allergic to cow’s milk, they may lack essential nutrients, especially protein and calcium.

What are the Potential Downsides of Plant-based Milk?

  • High Added Sugar Content
  • Additives 
  • Potential Allergies
  • Cost and Availability


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Utah State University: https://extension.usu.edu/nutrition/research/dairy-milk-alternatives

University of Florida: https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/publication/FS412







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