Combining coffee with milk is quite popular. In addition to cow’s milk, there are also plant-based alternatives such as oat milk, for which there has been a sharp increase in demand in recent years. This raises the question of which milk is actually the healthier one.
In order to assess whether coffee with oat milk or cow’s milk is healthier, the advantages and disadvantages of consuming both types of milk must first be considered, taking into account individual factors such as lactose intolerance or celiac disease.
Oat milk generally more environmentally friendly
Basically, cow’s milk is an animal product, while oat milk is purely vegetable. This means that milk made from oats is also suitable for people with a vegan diet.
Another advantage of oat milk is its sustainability, since the cultivation of oats requires less water and agricultural land than dairy farming with cows and also fewer greenhouse gases are released.
How healthy is cow’s milk?
Coffee made with cow’s milk has traditionally been very popular and there can actually be health benefits when coffee is combined with cow’s milk. Because cow’s milk provides the body with many important nutrients, with vitamins, calcium and protein in particular being beneficial for health.
In view of the trend towards products that are as natural as possible, raw milk is increasingly being used to supplement coffee instead of being heated. However, according to a study published in the English-language journal “Food Control”, raw milk can pose a health risk due to possible contamination with pathogens.
Many people think that heating raw milk negates the health benefits, but this is not the case, the research team reports. In any event, the raw milk should be heated prior to consumption and heating does not result in a significant change in the nutritional value of the raw milk or any other benefit associated with raw milk consumption.
Cow’s milk healthy for bones and muscles
Cow’s milk is rich in healthy ingredients such as vitamins, calcium and protein. The calcium it contains promotes the formation and maintenance of bones, while the vitamin D it contains ensures that the body can absorb calcium better.
The protein it contains supports muscle building, helps to maintain them and also promotes the repair of damage to the muscles. Protein and carbohydrates from cow’s milk also keep you full for longer, which can be helpful in achieving or maintaining a healthy body weight.
Furthermore, cow’s milk contains vitamin B12, which takes on numerous important functions in the body and is of crucial importance, for example, for the formation of red blood cells and the function of nerve cells. Here, cow’s milk can also help to avoid vitamin B12 deficiency.
- Also read: Vitamin B12 deficiency: who is at risk and what to watch out for?
Cow’s milk provides important micro and macro nutrients
One study also reports that milk provides important micro- and macronutrients, especially in childhood, when bone mass growth is at a critical stage. Cow’s milk could also have a potentially protective effect against overweight, obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
Possible disadvantages of cow’s milk
However, some people are sensitive to cow’s milk or even have an allergic reaction. Cow’s milk contains lactose, which can lead to various symptoms in people with lactose intolerance. The same applies to the protein it contains for people with a milk protein allergy.
Consuming large amounts of cow’s milk also appears to increase the risk of certain types of cancer, according to a study involving around 500,000 participants. According to the researchers, the saturated fatty acids in cow’s milk also increase cholesterol levels.
Health benefits of oat milk
Oat milk contains many healthy phytochemicals, trace elements, vitamins and minerals and, according to research, has a particularly high fiber content, while at the same time containing only a few saturated fatty acids.
Promotes digestion and lowers cholesterol
This fiber is beneficial for digestion and can also lower cholesterol levels. For example, consuming oat milk can help lower both plasma cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL).
Oat milk also contains something called beta-glucans, which are soluble fibers that are beneficial for insulin sensitivity and insulin resistance. Oat milk has a lower glycemic index and is therefore a good alternative to cow’s milk, especially for people with diabetes.
In contrast to cow’s milk, oat milk is also free of lactose, which makes it particularly suitable for people with lactose intolerance.
Adverse effects of oat milk
However, oat milk often contains added sugars, which contribute to weight gain and other health problems. In addition, oat milk can contain gluten, which can lead to health problems for people with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease.
In addition, oat milk may contain the thickening agent carrageenan, which improves the consistency of the milk but may also promote inflammation, according to a study.
Health benefits depend on individual factors
The results make it clear that the question of whether cow’s milk or oat milk is healthier in coffee is not that easy to answer, as both have specific advantages and disadvantages and individual factors contribute to the fact that cow’s milk is more beneficial than oat milk for some people and vice versa. (as)