Did you know the milk you add to your coffee could impact your health significantly? Dietitians weigh in on the healthiest option.
For many, morning coffee is indispensable. Interestingly, studies indicate that coffee can offer health benefits, including aiding in weight loss. Yet, adding the wrong ingredients to your coffee might do more harm than good. Common coffee additives, often loaded with sugar and unhealthy substances, can increase the risk of weight gain and inflammation. So, what should you do if black coffee isn’t your preference? The solution is to opt for the healthiest milk available.
Regrettably, if you’re using flavored and sweetened milk, it’s not the best choice for your health. However, there are many healthy alternatives! In our quest to find the best option, we consulted Kelsey Costa, MS, RDN. She recommends soy milk, especially fortified soy milk, as one of the healthiest additions to your coffee.
Why Soy Milk Tops the List
When it comes to enhancing your coffee with milk, not all options are created equal. Leading dietitians have voiced a clear preference: soy milk. This might come as a surprise in an era where almond and oat milk are gaining popularity, but soy milk’s health benefits are hard to ignore.
Fortified Soy Milk Benefits
Despite the rising popularity of almond and oat milk, Costa endorses soy milk as the “best health choice for your coffee.” She highlights its numerous health benefits and its smooth, creamy texture.
So, why is soy milk so beneficial? Costa explains that soybeans, the base of this milk, are a rich source of plant-based protein, offering 7 grams per serving, making it the highest protein plant-based milk. Notably, fortified soy milk is recognized by the USDA as a nutritional alternative to cow’s milk.
But soy milk’s advantages aren’t limited to protein. Costa also notes its heart-healthy fatty acids and fortification with essential vitamins and minerals, like calcium and vitamin D, vital for bone health. Consequently, fortified soy milk is an excellent choice for your coffee, balancing protein, beneficial fats, and key nutrients.
Unsweetened Soy Milk: A Healthier Choice
Costa advises choosing unsweetened soy milk to minimize added sugar intake, aiding in weight loss and promoting overall health. This approach is essential, as high sugar consumption poses significant health risks, including weight gain.
The Verdict on Coffee Additions
While experts often recommend black coffee, possibly with some healthy spices, for those desiring creaminess, Costa suggests soy milk as the healthiest option.
Health Benefits of Fortified Soy Milk in Coffee
Fortified soy milk stands out for several reasons. It’s packed with plant-based protein, offering about 7 grams per serving, which is higher than other plant-based milk alternatives. Moreover, the presence of beneficial fatty acids promotes heart health, and its fortification with essential nutrients like calcium and vitamin D supports strong bones.
Understanding Misconceptions About Soy Products
Despite common myths, soy products, including soy milk, are safe and beneficial. Studies have debunked the myth that soy stimulates hormone-dependent cancers, instead suggesting protective effects against breast and prostate cancer.
Nutritional Comparison: Soy Milk vs. Other Milks
When compared to almond, oat, and cow’s milk, soy milk stands out for its higher protein content and comprehensive nutrient profile. It’s especially beneficial for those adopting a plant-based diet or looking to increase their protein intake.
The Professional Perspective
Dietitians recommend choosing unsweetened soy milk to reduce sugar intake, a crucial factor in managing weight and overall health. Their advice aligns with the latest dietary guidelines that emphasize the importance of minimizing added sugars in our diets.
Choosing the Right Soy Milk
When selecting soy milk, opt for the unsweetened varieties to avoid excess sugar. Also, check for fortification with vitamins and minerals to maximize the health benefits.
Precautions When Using Soy Milk in Coffee
While soy milk is a healthy option, it’s important to consider individual dietary needs and allergies. Some people may be allergic to soy or have sensitivities to it. It’s also crucial to check for added sugars or artificial additives in soy milk, especially in flavored varieties.
Conclusion: Your Healthier Coffee Choice
Switching to soy milk in your coffee can be a small change with significant health benefits. It’s not just about taste; it’s about making a healthier choice for your body.
Regarding concerns about soy products and hormone-related cancers, Costa reassures that this is a misconception. Numerous studies confirm the safety and health benefits of soy, with some suggesting that isoflavones in soy may even protect against cancers like breast and prostate cancer.