Its high protein content and mild flavor may appeal to people looking for a quality alternative to cow’s milk.
Non-dairy milk is becoming more and more popular.
From soy to oatmeal to almond, a wide variety of plant-based milks are available on the market.
Milk made from peas is a non-dairy milk alternative.
Here are 6 reasons to try pea milk
1. An excellent source of plant-based protein
Unlike many plant-based milks, such as almond and coconut milk, pea milk is comparable to cow’s milk in protein content.
1 cup (240 ml) of pea milk contains 8 grams of protein, the same as 1 cup (240 ml) of cow’s milk.
Other plant-based milks cannot compare to the protein found in pea milk. For example, 1 cup (240 ml) of almond milk contains only 1 gram of protein.
The high protein content of this milk is due to its content of yellow peas.
Peas are one of the best plant-based protein sources you can eat.
In fact, pea-based protein powders have become popular with consumers looking to increase their protein intake.
Regular consumption of protein-rich foods, such as pea milk, can help regulate your appetite and make you feel full between meals, promoting weight loss.
High-protein diets have been linked to many health benefits, such as lower body weight, increased muscle mass, and better blood sugar control.
Pea protein is also rich in branched chain amino acids (BCAAs), a group of specialized amino acids that can promote muscle growth and regulate blood sugar.
Pea milk is much higher in protein than other types of plant-based milk alternatives, providing the same amount as cow’s milk.
2. It is a good source of important nutrients
In addition to protein, pea milk contains many nutrients such as potassium, iron, and calcium. Like many other plant-based milks, it is enriched with some of these nutrients.
1 cup (240 ml) of original unsweetened pea milk contains:
- Calories: 70.
- Protein: 8 grams.
- Carbohydrates: 0 grams.
- Total fat: 4.5 grams.
- Potassium: 13% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI).
- Calcium: 45% of the RDI.
- Vitamin A: 10% of RDI.
- Vitamin D: 30% of RDI.
- Iron: 15% of the RDI.
Pea milk is rich in potassium, calcium, vitamin A, vitamin D, and iron, nutrients that may be missing from your diet, especially if you are vegan or vegetarian.
In fact, 1 cup (240 ml) of pea milk provides 45% of the RDI for calcium, a mineral that plays a vital role in bone health, nerve transmission, and muscle contraction.
Additionally, this milk contains omega-3 fatty acids from seaweed oil, which is derived from seaweed.
Seaweed oil is a concentrated source of plant-based omega-3 fats, particularly DHA.
DHA plays vital roles in heart health, immune function, nervous system function, and brain health.
Although low in calories, pea milk contains important nutrients such as calcium, iron, potassium, and omega-3 fats.
3. A hypoallergenic alternative to lactose-containing cow’s milk and nuts
Lactose intolerance is estimated to affect more than 68% of the world’s population.
Those who are lactose intolerant should avoid dairy products, including cow’s milk, to eliminate unpleasant symptoms such as:
- Diarrhea .
Because pea milk is dairy-free, you can enjoy it even if you are lactose intolerant.
Many plant-based milks are available for people with lactose intolerance. However, some people do not consume soy- or nut-based milks due to allergies, intolerances, or health problems.
Because pea milk does not contain soy or nuts, it is a safe option for people with allergies or other health problems.
Also, pea milk is even higher in protein than soy milk, which is known for its impressive protein content.
Pea milk is also gluten-free and is appropriate for those who follow vegan diets.
Pea milk is lactose, soy, nut, and gluten-free, making it a safe option for people with allergies or food intolerances.
4. It’s low in calories, but creamy and satisfying
Pea milk contains fewer calories than cow’s milk, making it an easier drink to lose weight.
1 cup (240 ml) of unsweetened pea milk provides 70 calories, while 1 cup (240 ml) of skim milk has 87 calories.
Although pea milk is lower in calories than cow’s milk, it has a richer and creamier texture than many other plant-based milks.
Pea milk is made by mixing whole peas together and combining them with other ingredients like water and sunflower oil.
The result is a smooth liquid that is easily added to a variety of dishes like oatmeal and smoothies.
While other dairy alternatives like almond milk tend to be thin and watery, pea milk is thicker and can be more palatable.
Pea milk is lower in calories than cow’s milk, but has a rich, creamy texture.
5. Unsweetened pea milk is low in carbohydrates and sugar
Unsweetened pea milk (produced by Ripple Foods, a company specializing in milk and pea-based products) is low in calories and carbohydrates, making it an excellent choice for those on low-carbohydrate diets.
1 cup (240 ml) of unsweetened pea milk (Ripple brand) contains no sugar and zero grams of carbohydrates.
In comparison, 1 cup (240 ml) of 2% cow’s milk contains 12.3 grams of carbohydrates and the same amount of sugar. Both sugar and carbohydrates come from lactose, a natural sugar found in cow’s milk.
Sugar-free pea milk (Ripple) may also be attractive to people with diabetes who need to track carbohydrates to control blood sugar.
However, it is important to note that other flavors of pea milk (Ripple), including vanilla and chocolate, contain added sugars.
Ripple’s Sugar Free Pea Milk is sugar free and zero grams of carbs, which may appeal to people with diabetes or low carb diets.
6. More environmentally friendly than almond or cow’s milk
Food companies claim that pea-based milk is more environmentally friendly than cow’s or almond milk.
Dairy cows emit large amounts of methane, a greenhouse gas. Milk also requires a lot of water and energy to produce.
This combination has a negative impact on the environment and contributes to climate change.
Although the production of almond milk emits fewer greenhouse gases than cow’s milk, it requires massive amounts of water.
In fact, the state of California (USA) uses an average of 3.2 gallons (12 liters) of water to produce just one kernel of almond.
It is claimed that 86% less greenhouse gas emissions are needed to produce pea milk than almond milk.
It was also claimed by a food company that cow’s milk requires 25 times more water to produce than pea milk.
The renowned food company Ripple Foods, states that the production of pea milk consumes less water and emits less greenhouse gases than cow or almond milk.
Possible downsides of pea milk
Although pea milk provides some health benefits, it does have several potential downsides.
Certain types are high in sugar
While Ripple foods’ sugar-free version of pea milk does not contain sugar, the product comes in various flavors, some of which are packed with added sugar.
For example, 1 cup (240 ml) of Ripple Chocolate Milk contains 17 grams of sugar.
This equates to almost 4 teaspoons of added sugar.
While the added sugar in Ripple pea milk is much lower than in many chocolate milk brands, it is still considerable.
Added sugars, especially those in sugar-sweetened beverages, contribute to obesity, diabetes, fatty liver, and heart disease.
You should avoid added sugars whenever possible.
Contains sunflower oil, which is high in omega-6 fats
The rich, creamy texture of Ripple Pea Milk is due in part to the sunflower oil it contains.
Although adding sunflower oil can result in a smoother product, it does not provide any nutritional benefits.
Sunflower oil is rich in omega-6 fatty acids, a type of fat found in vegetable oils that most people consume in excess, and low in omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial for health.
When consumed too much, omega-6 can contribute to inflammation, which can increase your risk for chronic diseases such as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.
Fortified with vitamin D2, which is not as absorbable as D3
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that performs many important functions in your body, including regulating bone growth and supporting your immune system.
Vitamin D3 is derived from animal sources, while D2 is found in plants.
Ripple Foods uses vitamin D2 in its pea milk, which may be less absorbable than D3.
Recent research shows that D3 is twice as effective in raising blood levels of vitamin D as D2.
Because many people are deficient in vitamin D, it is important to choose supplements and foods that contain vitamin D in a form that your body can use effectively.
Some of the downsides to Ripple pea milk include its high omega-6 content and its less effective form of vitamin D. Additionally, certain flavors are high in added sugars.
How to Add Homemade Pea Milk to Your Diet
Like other plant-based milks, homemade pea or pea milk is a versatile liquid that can be added to many drinks and dishes.
Here are simple and delicious ways to include pea milk in your meal plan:
- Pour over oatmeal to boost plant-based protein.
- Use it as a base for your favorite smoothie.
- Use in place of cow’s milk when baking or making homemade salad dressings.
- Make your coffee with pea milk instead of cow’s milk.
- Pair it with rolled oats, nut butter, cinnamon, chia seeds, and apples for a tasty overnight oatmeal mix.
- Make the chia pudding by mixing chia seeds, chocolate milk, and cocoa powder.
How to make your own pea milk
- To make your own pea milk, combine 1.5 cups (340 grams) of raw peas with 4 cups (950 ml) of water and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat and simmer peas until soft, about 1–1.5 hours.
- When fully cooked, combine the peas in a blender with 3.5 cups (830 ml) of water, 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract, and three unflavored dates for sweetness.
- Mix the ingredients until smooth and add more water to reach the desired consistency.
- Pea milk can be strained using a walnut milk bag for a smoother texture.
- If you want to reduce the amount of sugar in your pea milk, just exclude dates.
Homemade pea or pea milk can be added to a variety of recipes, such as oatmeal and smoothies.
You can easily make pea milk at home by mixing cooked peas with water, dates, and vanilla extract.
The bottom line
Pea milk is a plant-based milk made from yellow peas.
It is much higher in protein than most other plant-based milks and provides a good amount of important nutrients, such as calcium, vitamin D, and iron.
It is also very versatile, making it an excellent addition to a number of recipes.
However, pea milk (Ripple) contains sunflower oil, which is rich in omega-6 fats, and certain flavors are loaded with added sugars.
Nonetheless, unsweetened pea milk or homemade pea milk is a smart choice for those looking for a high-protein, hypoallergenic substitute for cow’s milk.