Plant Milks: Contraindications, Side Effects And Benefits

Plant milk bears that name because most of the drinks obtained from vegetables are white , however the term “milk” is typical of the liquid that mammals produce when they have young and need to feed them the first months of their life. lifetime. Cow’s milk is the most common; because it is what humans also consume and process to obtain its benefits, making various products with it.

Although cow’s milk provides many benefits; among them, the great contribution of calcium and proteins; not many people tolerate it due to allergy to milk protein (casein); or lactose intolerance; and they should refrain from even trying them; so as not to suffer the annoying consequences caused by animal milk.

For more information you can read this article on How to Improve Lactose Intolerance or Poor Digestion

For these lactose intolerant people there is the option of vegetable milks , obtained from oats, rice, soybeans and nuts ; among others, and they provide many nutrients although not in the same amount as cow’s milk; but if they are the best alternative that can be taken to obtain many benefits from losing weight, controlling bad cholesterol, meeting calcium needs and much more.

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What are vegetable milks?

Plant milks are drinks that are obtained from a plant source ; With an appearance similar to milk of animal origin but without being a dairy product, they are prepared using cereals, nuts, and seeds mixed with water; and they are sweetened as the consumer prefers. They could be made at home or they are also marketed under different brands; soy milk being one of the most popular on the market due to its contribution of calcium and proteins similar to cow’s milk.

These vegetable milks do not contain lactose, or casein and neither fats that increase bad cholesterol but on the contrary, unsaturated fats that benefit good cholesterol. They can be taken with coffee, in cereals and also taken cold or hot.

Origin and history of vegetable milks

The origin of vegetable milks could be located in ancient Rome for the 4th century AD, since Marco Gavio Apicio mentions that there is a gastronomic compilation of the Roman Empire called “De Re Co Maquinaria” where mention is made of the vegetable drinks that were obtained using a technique of grinding, filtering or emulsifying seeds and nuts.

At the time, milk of animal origin went bad very quickly because there was no way to refrigerate it and it was the cause of many digestive diseases, which is why milk of plant origin was chosen.

In the compilation of re coquinas we speak of Lacte Nucis or what translates to nut milk, milking some plants or seeds to obtain their milk by filtering them with a cloth.

Thus, the benefits and uses of vegetable milks are read in various books over time; at The English House Wife in 1614 CE ; writer Gervase Markham mentions them to lower fever, especially almond fever. In 1653 the writer Nicholas Culpeper mentioned in the book The Complete Herbal the use of cucumber seed milk to relieve the liver.

On the other hand in France in the fourteenth century it is mentioned in books “laict d’amandes” or almond milk used in various culinary recipes. As in Italy in 1470, great chefs such as Martino and Battista Platina used almond milk in their recipes.

In 1350 in the manuscript Das Buch von guter Speise the importance of vegetable milks in Germany is mentioned . And in 1492 in Europe humble people consumed nut milk while the nobility could consume almond milk; Peanut milk and tigernut seeds were popular in Spain at that time, where such a drink was known as horchatas de chufa.

In 1704 the existence of soy milk in Asia is mentioned in a book entitled: A collection of voyages and travels . And for 1899 Almeda Lambert of Battle Creek a vegetarian in her book Guide for Nut Cookery, in North America; describes how to prepare various types of non-dairy milk.

And finally in South America in pre-Columbian times they were already prepared by indigenous people but due to the Spanish influence they began to be called ¨Horchatas¨ of sesame and rice were the most common.

Thus, it can be seen that vegetable milks are not a thing of this century, but have their history settled in different books from the oldest such as that of re-machinery to the most current that today can be obtained in different blogs of internet, where the properties and benefits of plant milks are disclosed.

Are they known by other names? What are they?

They are known as Vegetable Drinks and also especially in Spain and South America as Horchatas.

Characteristics of vegetable milks

  • They are drinks made from seeds, nuts, cereals, pseudo-cereals and legumes.
  • They have an appearance very similar to that of milk of animal origin.
  • Its flavor is not the same or similar to that of milk of animal origin.
  • They have a neutral flavor, more watery and sweet if a sweetener is added.
  • It is taken hot or cold.
  • Can be used as milk of animal origin; in coffee and with cereals.
  • They should be shaken quite well before taking them.
  • They can add table sugar, honey, syrup, glucose syrup to sweeten them.
  • They contain calcium and protein in less quantity than milk of animal origin.
  • They can be enriched with vitamin D, calcium, and vitamins of group B.
  • They do not keep for more than 48 hours in the refrigerator.

How are vegetable milks obtained?

They are obtained by grinding seeds, cereals or legumes previously soaked for 5 to 12 hours not only to soften them; but to release their enzymes; and later cast with cloth or mesh strainer. You can use a seed grinder or blenders.

How much vegetable milk can you consume per day?

A glass of 200 milliliters of oat milk gives us about 3 grams of protein and about 0.8 grams of fiber. A low content that indicates that you can drink three glasses of oat milk a day without any inconvenience ; while soy milk provides eight grams of protein, four of fat, one and a half of fiber; a little more than oat milk , however you can also take 600 milliliters of soy milk daily between meals if you prefer.

Depending on the nutritional contribution of each vegetable milk, you can consume no more than three glasses a day . However, if it is for medicinal use or to lose weight or gain weight, this amount will vary. Consuming it in excess can cause serious side effects.

Benefits of plant milks

Plant milks have multiple benefits, and vary depending on the seed, cereal or legume used. However, almost all plant milks contain unsaturated fats that benefit you in cardiovascular diseases and balance your cholesterol levels.

Plant milks contain B vitamins, which are important during pregnancy and in the growth stages. They also contain fatty acids and minerals like iron; and they are rich in fibers to promote intestinal transit.

Some plant milks such as almond and sesame milks are rich in calcium, phosphorus and magnesium to support bones and teeth. They are also low in sodium and potassium which makes them beneficial for people with irritable bowel problems.

Another benefit of vegetable milks do not require enzymes to be digested, improve circulation and healing, also favors m ú muscles and brain, and prevent osteoporosis.

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Good for babies? Why?

As previously stated , plant-based milks are not recommended for children under two years of age; however those made from cereals such as oats and rice could be appropriate for babies older than ten months without presenting any side effects.

Plant-based cereal milks have nutrients that are necessary for the development of children , to strengthen their bones and for their physical and intellectual capacity; This is why they are a good healthy option for the little ones in the house.

Beneficial for the skin

Plant milks contain vitamin A, B2, vitamins E and minerals that promote the health of the skin, as well as that of the hair and nails, the antioxidant substances delay cell death and with this premature aging.

Contain benefits for pregnancy

Plant milks are recommended in pregnancy because some contain lecithin that promotes circulation, a problem that some pregnant women have, for this reason their hands and feet become inflamed; They also contain B vitamins such as B6 and folic acid, which are recommended in pregnant women to prevent neural tube diseases in the fetus. Plant milks also contain minerals such as iron which is good for preventing anemia.

Used to lower cholesterol

Plant milks are rich in fatty acids such as linoleic , unsaturated fats that lower bad cholesterol (LDL) and increase good cholesterol (HDL).

Control hypertension

Thanks to the content of minerals such as potassium and magnesium; vegetable milks are ideal for controlling high blood pressure. Not to mention, they are low in sodium and can be taken by people with high blood pressure.

What are the benefits for diabetes?

Plant milks are low in sugar because they have a neutral flavor, but if you do not add added sugar, the benefits for diabetes are excellent since it releases sugar in the blood little by little and maintains it for longer, making it ideal for diabetics.

Recommended for irritable bowel

Plant milks stimulate peristaltic movements, prevent constipation and protect the intestinal flora due to its fiber and mineral content such as potassium; relieving irritable bowel syndrome.

Possible contraindications of drinking plant milk

As for the contraindications ; there are some plant milks that could alter the intestinal flora so it is not recommended for people with diarrhea or intestinal problems. It is also contraindicated for people with hypothyroidism due to the high content of isoflavones. It is not recommended for children under two years of age because it has allergens that could cause reactions in children.

Foods to extract vegetable milk

You can express milk from the following foods:

  • Rice
  • I am or I am
  • Almonds
  • Hazelnuts
  • Oatmeal
  • Peanuts
  • Chestnuts
  • Sesame seeds
  • What’s good
  • Walnuts
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Pinions
  • Pistachio
  • Quinoa
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Ground flaxseed
  • Coconut
  • Cashew

Medicinal uses of plant milks

These milks that are extracted from the vegetables, cereals, seeds and legumes mentioned above have medicinal uses such as:

  • They strengthen the central nervous system
  • Improve metabolism
  • They prevent arteriosclerosis and high blood pressure.
  • They prevent diabetic neuropathy and stabilize blood sugar levels.
  • Improve memory
  • They fight osteoporosis and strengthen teeth.
  • Fight physical exhaustion, depression and insomnia
  • Lower cholesterol
  • They prevent myocardial infarctions and arterial thrombosis
  • Avoid constipation and hemorrhoids
  • They treat menstrual irregularities (amenorrhea and dysmenorrhea).

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What diseases do plant milks prevent?

In addition to medicinal uses, it also prevents some diseases such as:

  • They prevent prostate cancer
  • Strengthen blood vessels
  • Relieve symptoms of menopause
  • Improve the immune system
  • They prevent other types of cancers.
  • They prevent ulcers, hyperuricemia, and cirrhosis.
  • Prevent premature aging of cells
  • Fight liver and pancreas problems
  • Prevent anemia
  • They reduce the pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis.

Side effects and risks of consuming plant-based milks

Plant milks do not have side effects as long as the recommended daily dose is not exceeded.

Excessive use of plant milks could inhibit iodine absorption and this can damage the thyroid glands as well as cause tumors.

Plant milks could cause gastrointestinal problems if you exceed your daily intake.

They do not present risks, only if you are allergic to nuts, or you have celiac disease because oats contain gluten; they should avoid their consumption.

Types of vegetable milks

  1. Soy milk: it is the one that contains the highest nutritional value and it is preferred to replace animal milk because it provides a large amount of vegetable proteins, phytoestrogens that help prevent the symptoms of menopause; It is very beneficial for growth and development, which is why mothers prefer it for their children.
  2. Coconut milk: it is a very popular milk with a pleasant flavor that can be made with coconut water and its pulp; It is very rich in saturated fat unlike the rest of the vegetable milks, so it is very good for those who want to gain weight.
  3. Rice Milk: rice milk is recommended for the little ones, which have not yet started with animal milk, it is very low in fat and protein, with properties that are ideal for indigestion problems, and gastroenteritis.
  4. Almond milk : Almond milk contains a good amount of vitamin E and unsaturated fats, it does not provide almost any protein but it favors cardiovascular and intestinal health. Thanks to the calcium and phosphorus it contains, it is consumed by adolescents and children to promote their growth stage.
  5. Oat milk: it is rich in soluble fiber, is very digestive and favors people with constipation, and cholesterol problems also people who suffer from insomnia and digestive disorders of nervous origin.
  6. Hazelnut milk: This milk is widely used to lower bad cholesterol, also ideal for pregnancy as it contains calcium and folic acid.
  7. Sesame, tigernut, and walnut milk; among other …

Advantages and disadvantages of vegetable milks

The advantages of vegetable milks are the following :

They are more easily digested, they do not contain saturated fats or lactose, but they have unsaturated fats that promote cardiovascular function and good cholesterol. They are also rich in B vitamins necessary for proper brain function and minerals that also support the brain and muscles.

Plant milks are also low in sodium, and low in calories and rich in fibers that benefit people with constipation.

Its disadvantages are:

Calcium is not so easily absorbed because it does not contain vitamin D to facilitate its absorption; Besides, its protein content is insufficient for the daily requirements of each person; and finally, another disadvantage is that, due to its generally tasteless and neutral flavor, it requires added sugar or flavorings.

Plant milk vs animal milk, which is better?

Plant milk, as has been said, provides many benefits due to its components, however in some plant milks they are very minimal contributions. People need calcium and vitamin D to absorb calcium, and proteins that some vegetable milks provide and others in very low amounts; however plant milk is an alternative for vegans, vegetarians and lactose intolerant people.

While cow’s milk is a food with enough protein for the daily requirement, calcium and vitamin D, fats and minerals in greater quantity than vegetable milk; It is an excellent alternative for health but if on the contrary it hurts you, it is best that you opt for vegetable milks.

We have a perfect item for people with lactose problems.

How to prepare vegetable milks at home?

The vegetable milks from cereal grains are soaked for 24 hours, drained and boiled for thirty minutes and then blended; 40 grams of cereal requires a liter of water for its preparation. While the vegetable milk of legumes such as soybeans should be soaked for about twelve hours, 40 grams also require a liter of water, soybeans are cooked while peanuts do not need to be cooked, when soaking it is beaten and strained.As for the preparation of vegetable milk from raw seeds, for every one hundred grams use 800 milliliters of water, leave them the same to soak for eight hours, blend them and strain them. Same for nuts . To sweeten the vegetable milks of cereals, legumes, seeds and nuts you can use table sugar, or sweeteners; and to give it a different flavor you can use; cinnamon, vanilla, turmeric, cocoa, or ginger.

Gastronomic use of vegetable milks

Plant milks can be used the same way as cow’s milk in some recipes only; such as: rice pudding, creams, purees, béchamel, ice cream, sauces among other culinary uses.

Nutritional information for plant-based milks

Food 100 gr (3.5 oz) Calories Carbohydrates Fats Protein
rice milk 73 15.5 1.0 0.0
I am or I am milk 30 1.2 1.3 3.0
almond milk 33 3.3 1.0 0.4
hazelnut milk 46 7.5 1.5 0.8
oat milk 38 5.0 1.0 0.8
peanut milk 58 7.1 1.5 1.3
chestnut milk 56 2.5 2.0 1.5
sesame seed milk 54 1.2 2.2 1.2
millet milk 55 10.5 1.1 0.7
nut milk 41 0.8 4.1 0.9
macadamia nut milk 48 0.9 5.1 0.5
pine nut milk 42 1.4 4.0 0.9
pistachio milk 37 1.0 3.4 1.1
quinoa milk 52 8.8 1.4 1.6
pumpkin seed milk 35 0.9 2.8 2.2
sunflower seed milk 35 1.3 2.9 1.8
flaxseed milk 10 0.4 1.0 0.0
coconut milk 18 5.0 1.8 0.0
cashew milk 10 0.4 0.8 0.4

Glycemic index

To name a few; that of coconut milk has a glycemic index of 40, that of soy milk has a lower glycemic index of 20 as well as that of almond milk which is also 20.

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Kathie Sand always saw the world of beauty as the terrain on which to build her professional career, a goal that was clear to her when she was only 15 years old. Her great concern to expand knowledge led her to settle in Paris where she studied hand in hand with the best beauty professionals and with the most advanced techniques for skin care.

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