9 best and worst milks for your heart

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1 / 10 Not All Milks Are Alike

9 best and worst milks for your heart

The milk aisle is changing, and has a growing number of options for what to douse on your cereal or drink down as a late-night snack. But what do the newer types of milk mean for your heart health? Old-fashioned cow’s milk, for example, is loaded with vitamins A, C, D, and calcium, which are all good for your heart. But the saturated fat and cholesterol in whole milk — and even 2 percent milk — may counteract those health benefits. Alternative milks can provide similar nutritional benefits if you are lactose intolerant, allergic to certain proteins in cow’s milk, vegan, or simply prefer something other than cow's milk. “People choose a milk based on tolerability and taste — in addition to health beliefs,” says Deborah Krivitsky, RD, LDN, a dietitian at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. “Each milk will provide different pluses and minuses.

2 / 10 Organic Cow’s Milk

Whole cow’s milk contains 146 calories, 5 grams (gm) of saturated fat, and 24 milligrams (mg) of cholesterol per cup (8 ounce) serving. “It’s a tremendous source of protein and nutrients, contains nine essential vitamins and minerals, and provides a third of a person’s daily recommended intake of calcium,” Krivitsky says. A December 2013 study in the journal PLOS ONE found that organic cow’s milk contains significantly more anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids than conventional milk, which is important because omega 3s promote heart health.

But when it comes to your heart health, “high fat dairy could get you into trouble,” says John Day, MD, a cardiologist and Medical Director of Heart Rhythm Services in Salt Lake City, Utah. Saturated fat in your diet raises LDL cholesterol, which increases your risk of heart disease and stroke according to the American Heart Association (AHA). If you drink milk, most doctors recommend low-fat or nonfat versions. A cup serving of skim has 83 calories, no saturated fat, and only 5 mg of cholesterol. Cow’s milk also contains potassium, which can prevent high blood pressure (hypertension).

3 / 10 Raw Cow’s Milk

Thinking about switching to raw cow’s milk, also known as unpasteurized milk? It has about the same amount of calories, saturated fat, and cholesterol as regular dairy milk, and some claim it has even more nutrients. However, pregnant women and children should avoid drinking raw milk, or eating dairy products such as cheese made from raw milk, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Raw milk does not go through the process of pasteurization that kills potentially harmful bacteria like Salmonella, Listeria, and E. coli. Though people with compromised immune systems are at higher risk of getting foodborne illness from raw milk, it has the potential to sicken anyone. According to the Centers for Disease Control, unpasteurized milk is 150 times more likely to contain bacteria that cause foodborne illnesses than pasteurized dairy products.

4 / 10 Soy Milk

With 80 calories and only 4 gm of fat per cup serving, soy milk is a great alternative for people who cannot tolerate the lactose found in dairy milk. Because the source of soy milk is a plant, it has no cholesterol and only negligible amounts of saturated fat. Soy milk also contains 7 gm of protein per serving, which is great for a heart-healthy diet. Twenty-five gm per day of soy protein, like that found in soy milk and tofu, may also reduce your risk of heart disease. That's due to soy's high levels of polyunsaturated fats, minerals, vitamins, and fiber, and low levels of saturated fat, according to the National Institutes of Health. However, Krivitsky says, it’s important to read the label to know what you are getting: “Make sure there’s no added sugar and that it’s fortified with calcium.”

5 / 10 Almond Milk

“Almonds are heart healthy,” says cardiologist Dr. Day, who recommends almond milk to his heart patients. Unsweetened almond milk contains between 30 and 40 calories per serving, no saturated fat, and no cholesterol. Fortified versions contain the same amount of vitamin D as skim cow’s milk, but up to 50 percent more calcium. Almond milk also contains omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to lower bad cholesterol, reduce inflammation, and improve cognition (brain function), according to research out of the University of Maryland Medical Center.

But to maintain a healthy heart, Day says, drink the unsweetened version. “The biggest issue with alternative milks is that most of them are sweetened,” he says. “Added sugar in any form can be dangerous to your heart and heart health.”

6 / 10 Hemp Milk

Hemp milk is one of the newer options on the market. This milk comes from the seeds of the hemp plant (cannabis), but it does not contain THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, a different variety of cannabis. Hemp milk is a good choice if you’re lactose intolerant or if you have soy allergies. A cup serving of hemp milk contains 80 calories, 0.5 gm of saturated fat, and no cholesterol. Its flavor and consistency are similar to those of almond milk. Hemp milk is packed with omega-3 fatty acids, especially heart-healthy alpha-linolenic acid. This milk is also a good source of calcium and magnesium, which are essential for heart health, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Getting enough magnesium helps your heart keep a normal rhythm, whereas too little can lead to arrhythmias — irregular heart rhythms like atrial fibrillation, for example.

7 / 10 Coconut Milk

This beverage adds natural sweetness to your coffee, oatmeal, or cereal with only 45 calories in an 8 ounce glass. Although one cup of unsweetened coconut milk contains 4 gm of saturated fat, most of it is made up of medium-chain fatty acids, which may have some health advantages. “Some populations eat a lot of coconut and don’t get heart disease,” Day says. But there is not yet enough research to conclude that coconuts and coconut milk are a heart-healthy choice.

“The final verdict is still out,” says Lavinia Butuza, RD, a dietitian in preventive cardiology at the University of California, Davis. “Heart patients need to be careful with anything coconut, and treat all saturated fats as the same, for now.”

8 / 10 Rice Milk

Although a cup serving of rice milk contains about the same number of calories as skim milk (90) and has no saturated fat or cholesterol, it is naturally higher in carbohydrates — not the best option for heart health. A November 2014 study published in PLOS ONE found that a diet high in carbohydrates is linked to diabetes and heart disease risk. Rice milk is also very low in protein. So if you do drink rice milk, be sure that you are getting enough protein from other sources in your diet. “Protein is related to a heart-healthy diet,” Butuza says. “If you don’t get enough protein you may be taking in too many carbs, and too much of that can turn into cholesterol.”

9 / 10 Goat's Milk

Goat's milk is a good option if you want milk with a similar nutritional profile as cow’s milk, but you have trouble digesting lactose. However, goat's milk is high in calories (168 per cup serving) and saturated fat (6.5 gm), and it contains 27 mg of cholesterol per serving.

According to the Mayo Clinic, limiting saturated fats in your diet can help reduce your blood cholesterol and lower your risk of coronary artery disease. This is because high levels of cholesterol in your blood can lead to the plaque buildup in your arteries, called atherosclerosis — a condition that increases your risk of stroke and heart attack.

Butuza notes that it is difficult to find a low-fat version of goat's milk, and the beverage has fewer essential vitamins and minerals than cow's milk. “There’s a lot less folic acid and B vitamins in goat milk,” Butuza says. And if it’s raw, she says, "There’s a risk of foodborne illness unless you have a goat in your backyard.”

10 / 10 Camel's Milk

The latest milk craze to make its stamp on the market is camel's milk. One 8-ounce glass contains 107 calories, 3 gm of saturated fat, and 17 gm of cholesterol. And this milk option is packed with vitamins and minerals. According to research published in Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety, camel's milk has 10 times more iron and 3 times more vitamin C than cow's milk. Small studies also show that camel's milk could be beneficial to diabetics because it contains insulin. A January 2015 study published in the Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism found that drinking camel's milk, compared with cow’s milk, was associated with increased insulin levels in patients with type 2 diabetes.

“It’s certainly something to look out for, and it needs to be pasteurized,” says Krivitsky. As a note of caution, camel's milk may be one of the animal sources of the MERS coronavirus in the Middle East. This type of milk is still hard to come by in the United States and is expensive.

Fuente: www.everydayhealth.com
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