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With growing awareness about lactose intolerance and about health issues related to factory cows and their milk, alternatives have popped up in grocery stores and coffee shops across the country. While we’ve all heard about and often consume soy or almond milk, what are the differences between all of these milk alternatives?  Below is a quick guide to help you choose between them.

Soy milk

Soy milk has a creamy yet plain taste so it does not overpower the food you are consuming. It’s also packed with protein in an amount comparable to cow’s milk, and is a great source of calcium. It is low in fat, has no cholesterol and has isoflavones that help to reduce your body’s LDL. Generally, soy milk is great milk-alternative for everything from cereal to cooking.

Almond milk

Almond milk has a nuttier taste compared to soy milk. This might not be a good first option for those looking for a substitute that tastes similar to cow’s milk. In general and compared to soy or cow milk, almond milk has higher amounts of vitamins and minerals, including calcium, magnesium, manganese, selenium and vitamin E. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps to fight against cell and tissue damages. Selenium is important against inflammation, production of thyroid hormones, and prevention of cell and tissue damage. With fewer calories than soy milk and no saturated fat, almond milk is great for your figure too.

I love it with my chai latte, or added into my smoothies.

Hemp milk

Yes, you heard right. Hemp milk is made from hemp seeds, which come from the same cannabis plant used to grow marijuana. But don’t worry, the seed does not contain THC, so you are safe to consume as much of hemp milk as you want. Hemp milk has a nuttier and creamier taste, like almond milk. It is easier to digest than soy milk and so is a suitable alternative for those with stomach issues. Hemp milk is also a good candidate for those with soy or nut allergies. Rich in 10 amino acids, hemp milk is a great source of protein and fiber as well, on top of being cholesterol-free. Hemp milk is also a good source of iron, magnesium, vitamin B12.

Try it for baking or hot cocoa!

Rice milk

Rice milk has a sweet, light taste. It is less creamy than other milk products. Considered the most hypoallergenic of all the milks, it is a great option for those who have multiple allergies and sensitivities. It is also the least fattening of all the milks. There are plenty of heart healthy nutrients in rice milk. The rice bran oil in rice milk can help lower cholesterol. Rice milk is also rich in vitamins and minerals, including niacin, magnesium, Iron and copper. Rice milk is starchier than other types of milk, so be careful about the sugar content.

Rice milk is great with cereal, dessert recipes, or straight out of the glass!