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From oat to almond and soy to hemp, alternative milks have long been ingratiating themselves with our fridges. Reasons for swapping dairy for a plant-based
alternative are often concerns about allergies or intolerances, an effort to be more sustainable or a preference for the taste.
However, some alt-milks are more nutritious than others – and research has indicated that the most nourishing of them all is probably not the one you’re sipping on right now. Indeed, a study from the US-based Institute of Food Safety and Health have revealed that pea milk is the most mineral-packed of them all.
Indeed, the researchers found that only pea and soy milk had higher levels of magnesium, phosphorus, zinc and selenium than even cow’s milk. Of these two, pea milk was the highest – with 50 per cent more phosphorus, zinc and selenium. Although, soy milk did contain greater levels of magnesium.
To come to their conclusion, the researchers, who presented their findings at the autumn meeting of the American Chemical Society in Chicago, looked at the nutrient profiles of almond, cashew, coconut, hemp, oat, pea, rice and soy milks. As part of this, they measured the levels of magnesium, phosphorus, zinc and selenium.
In case you weren’t aware, pea milk is actually made from pea protein extracted from yellow – rather than green – peas. This is then purified and blended with water along with other ingredients. While you might not have yet clocked them, Sproud and Mighty both have versions on supermarket shelves in the UK.
The scientists – who included researchers from the Illinois Institute of Technology and the Food and Drug Administration – noted that they weren’t trying to necessarily recommend one type of plant-based milk over another, but to help consumers make more informed choices. They also warned that the mineral content could vary brand to brand.
Additionally, if you like cow’s milk, then it still remains a very nutritious option, containing high amounts of vitamin B12 and calcium. Previous research has also found it to be associated with greater bone density, which can reduce your risk of osteoporosis – which increases as women get older, due to hormonal changes.
So, there’s a lot to consider before you make your next cuppa – talking of which, a couple of mugs of tea a day has been linked to boosted longevity…