Almond

Low in fat; usually fortified with calcium and vitamin D.

* Not an option for those allergic to nuts.

nondairy delight

Nondairy milks made from soybeans, grains, and nuts can be a healthy alternative.

If you're considering giving up dairy products, either for ethical considerations or because of sensitivity to milk or its components, the choice has never been easier. With an abundance of milk substitutes made from ingredients such as soybeans, oats, rice, and almonds, you won't have to forgo cereal—or any of your other favorite milk pairings.

From nonfat versions to coffee creamers, and from plain to chocolate flavored, nondairy milk comes in many varieties. And some of its benefits may surprise you. Soymilk, for example, contains isoflavones, which some research suggests can help protect against cancer, maintain bone health, and help prevent menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes. It also contains the most protein of the nondairy alternatives. Debra Boutin, an associate professor at the School of Nutrition and Exercise Science at Bastyr University in Seattle, says that almond milk is a good source of vitamin E, a heart-healthy antioxidant. And many nondairy milks are fortified with nutrients like calcium and vitamin D. Best of all, they are naturally low in fat and are cholesterol free.

Going dairy free may be the healthiest choice you can make. The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine links the consumption of dairy products with heart disease, some cancers, diabetes, and other health concerns.

Nondairy milk can almost always be substituted for cow's milk: Try it on cereal, drink it straight from a glass, or use it in baking. But not all varieties work equally well in all circumstances. Rice and oat milk, for example, tend to be sweeter and thinner than soymilk, so aren't favored for creamy sauces. And consistency and flavor can vary from brand to brand. When it comes to nondairy milk, taste preferences may be your best guide.

"Try different brands to find one you like, mix up the types of nondairy milk you use, and read labels to make sure you have a balance of the nutrients you need," Boutin says. angela pirisi f' There's an x ^

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