With milk being used in such large amounts in so many dishes and cuisines around the world, it was bound to eventually be expanded upon by the diverse consumerism culture of today. Regular milk obtained from a cow or a goat is not the only kind of milk available on the market now. When you go grocery shopping, you’ll come across all kinds of different milk types. The most common ones you might see would include almond milk, soy milk, and oat milk, among others.
If you’re new to this, however, you’ll probably be left scratching your head wondering what all of these are. This post will focus on one particular alternative type of milk; soy milk. We’ll go over what it is, why and when you should drink it, and any other uses it might have. So, let’s get started and learn something new today.
What is Soy Milk?
Soy milk, simply put, is plant-based milk. It is composed of soybeans, which are soaked and ground into a liquid mixture. This mixture is then boiled before it has any remaining solid chunks removed from it. The substance left behind is soymilk in its most basic form. You might now be wondering why anyone would want to drink this over regular milk. Or perhaps you’re intrigued and want to know if soymilk is just as beneficial as normal milk.
Let’s answer these questions and start listing the benefits of drinking soy milk and why it’s a good alternative to regular milk.
1. Best Option for Lactose Intolerant People
If you’re lactose intolerant or know someone who is, you have probably seen the struggle first hand. You go out, and you have to take extra care to not consume a dairy product. You might want to try an ice cream or a milkshake, but your body simply will not allow it. This is where alternative milk types, and indeed soymilk itself, come in. This is perhaps the biggest reason the alternative milk market has grown so much in popularity. With soymilk, you don’t have to fear missing out on milk and its derivatives. You can have cereal with soymilk or make your own milkshakes and protein shakes. You can use it for baking goods or simply gulp it down on a hot afternoon. A whole world of possibilities opens up to you.
2. It has a Different Taste
And that is a valid argument for its defense. Some people simply cannot bear the smell or taste of regular milk. Some can just stand it but are definitely not a fan of it. These people may come across soymilk, try it, and find they actually like it. So, if you’re someone that absolutely hates milk, give soymilk a try. Its texture is different, its smell is different, and its taste is different as well. So, who knows, maybe you’ll finally find a type of milk you enjoy.
3. It’s Vegan Friendly
If you’re a vegan and you avoid any products derived from animals, you won’t have to worry about having no milk. With soymilk being completely made of soybeans, water, and additional additives, you can drink a glassful without any lingering guilt. Who says you’re depriving yourself of normal food? You’ve got all the milk in the world.
4. It Is Rich in Proteins
Soymilk is sometimes thought of as the alternative milk that is nutritionally the closest to regular milk. Soybeans are full of good nutrients and proteins. Thus, naturally, so is soymilk. So, if you’re worried about missing out on the health benefits of milk by switching over to soymilk, you need not worry. Soymilk is just as good or for some people, certainly better than other alternatives.
5. It Has Less Calories
One major critique of regular milk is that it is quite fatty. People that go on diets therefore, often switch over to an alternative milk, like soymilk. You don’t have to be on a diet to do so, though. Has anyone of us ever complained about fewer calories? You don’t want your gut to start expanding, do you? If you’re worried about your calorie intake and are looking for ways to cut it down, simply switching over to soymilk would have an immense difference, given that you consume milk a lot.
6. It Won’t Raise Your Cholesterol Level
Scared of your cholesterol level rising? Avoiding fatty food items like milk to keep your cholesterol in check? Well, fear no more. Soymilk, being the plant-based milk it is, contains no cholesterol whatsoever and is also extremely low on saturated fat. So, you can continue to have cereal for breakfast and not worry about anything going wrong.
7. You Can Get Fortified Versions
You might remember your parents and teachers telling you how milk made your bones strong. Calcium, the magical bone enhancer. You might be thinking, why you would go for soymilk if you’re going to be missing out on calcium. Well, you’re not. That’s right. There are many types of soymilks out there. You can choose from sweetened and unsweetened soymilk variants and choose if you want a fortified brand. Fortified soymilk is basically soymilk that has had missing benefits added. Wanting soymilk but with all the nutritional value of regular milk? It’s available. Wanting soymilk that has calcium in it too? No problem. So, if you go fortified, it’s basically milk but so much better. And it tastes better too.
8. It Might Lower Risk of Heart Disease
Though more research is being done on this, and no concrete evidence has been presented yet, studies suggest that soymilk probably lowers the risk of heart disease. In support of this claim is the fact that soymilk actually actively lowers cholesterol in people who consume it. And obviously, low cholesterol is never a bad thing.
9. It Reduces the Risk of Cancer
Due to soymilk being rich in isoflavones, there is a very good chance, according to multiple studies, that soymilk actually lowers the risk of a person contracting cancer. Not only that, but it also helps reduce the risk of osteoporosis, a disease that leaves the bones of a person withered and brittle. Stronger bones and protection against cancer can definitely be a strong defense of soymilk.
10. It Cures Skin Issues and Promotes Hair Growth
Dreading an acne outbreak? Or maybe you’re slightly dismayed at your hair’s growth rate. Not to worry. Studies suggest switching to soy is a good way of reducing skin issues. And combining soymilk with further protein-rich food items will have your hair looking healthier and longer than you’ve ever seen it.
11. It Makes You Happier
That’s right. Soymilk is the gift that keeps on giving. And happiness is a great gift to receive. To explain it a bit better, thanks to the presence of Vitamin B6, Vitamin B Complex, and Magnesium, soymilk actually makes your body release serotonin. Serotonin, of course, is the hormone that boosts contentedness and feelings of joy and overcomes sad and negative emotions. At this point, soymilk is starting to sound like a miracle drink, isn’t it?
12. Ecological Impact
Using soybeans to make milk instead of raising cattle is better for the ecosystem as raising cattle require much more energy. Soybean plants replenish the soil’s nitrogen content in which they are grown. Greenhouse gas emissions for 200 grams of cow milk is 600 g CO2-Ceq while it is only 200 g CO2-Ceq for 200 grams of soy milk.
13. Healthy for the Brain
Soy milk is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids. These fats are essential for your body, which it cannot produce on its own. Omega-3 fatty acids have been linked to a lowered risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. However, the effects of soymilk on these diseases are still under study.
14. Reduced Symptoms of Menopause
Soymilk contains isoflavones; isoflavones are polyphenolic compounds that possess estrogen-agonist and estrogen-antagonist properties. These compounds are known to act like artificial estrogen. Due to this property, studies have shown that consuming soymilk might help reduce menopause symptoms like chills, hot flashes, and sleep problems.
15. Helps Prevent Osteoporosis
In simple words, osteoporosis is a bone disease that weakens bone mass and bone mineral density. This disease can decrease bone strength, increasing the risk of fractures. The phytoestrogen in soy helps calcium absorption by your body and prevents loss of bone mass, leading to reduced chances of osteoporosis. Therefore, soymilk is an excellent choice if you are at risk of osteoporosis.
And that wraps up our list of some of the uses and benefits of soymilk. Convinced yet? Not a bad deal, is it. And of course, there are other variants available as well. Each with its own pros and cons. If you’re interested, here’s our post on almond milk and its benefits. Wanting to read about something else? How about something completely random, like the history of maple syrup.