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Healthy milk brands to reach for in the dairy aisle

Remember the ubiquitous “got milk?” ad campaign from a few years back? Take a stroll down the dairy aisle of most stores these days and you might be inspired to answer with an emphatic “Yes, too much milk!” With the many brands and types of milk available – lactose-free, organic, grass-fed, ultra-filtered, etc. – it can be hard to know which is the best moo juice for your diet and health.

We took a closer look and came up with the best milk brands to reach for if you love cow’s milk, but are looking for healthier or more digestible options.

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Best organic: Stonyfield Farms 

When it comes to nationally available organic milk brands, Stonyfield Farms takes a top spot, according to The Cornucopia Institute. The Institute is an education and information provider focused on sustainable and organic agriculture. The institute recently rated dairy producers around the country on a “five-cow” rating system according to their practices and organic commitments. 

As one of the few nationwide organic dairy providers, Stonyfield Farms received a four-cow “excellent” score, receiving high marks for its certified organic products, non-GMO verified products, lack of antibiotic use, and treatment of its cows. The Cornucopia Institute also points out that Stonyfield stands out as a larger corporation that still supports family-scale farms, even if it might cost a little bit more.

Best grass-fed: Organic Valley and Maple Hill 

Organic Valley and Maple Hill are the leaders in grass-fed organic dairy, in 2019, the brands took their commitment even further. These companies launched a third-party certification system, administered by Organic Plus Trust Inc., that consumers can look to for assurance when it comes to picking dairy products. Prior to the development of this third-party certification, there was no standardization for grass-fed organic dairy. 

Now, customers can find a certified grass-fed organic livestock seal on select dairy products throughout the entire industry. This seal verifies that the farm producing the product is certified organic and all animals receive 60% of their dry matter intake from pasture for at least a 150-day grazing season. 

Why should grass-fed matter? The nutrients cows ingest from the grass they munch filters through to their milk, which has more omega-3s than both conventional mil and organic milk. So, if grass-fed, happy cows are a priority for you when perusing your local dairy aisle, reach for any milk that boasts the certified grass-fed organic livestock seal. If you’re interested in tried and true brands, be sure to look out for Organic Valley or Maple Hill products.

Best lactose-free, ultra-filtered: Lactaid

Believe it or not, if you’re lactose intolerant, you don’t have to give up “real” milk for good and turn to a plant-based alternative. You can protect your digestive health and still enjoy real milk in your cereal, baked goods, and more.

Lactaid is one of the best lactose-free milk options on the market, as it gives you the benefits of regular dairy without gastrointestinal consequences. With just one serving, you’ll reap a high amount of calcium, potassium, magnesium, zinc, Vitamin A, Vitamin B, and Vitamin K. You can also buy Lactaid with varying fat content from fat-free to whole, depending on your preferences. 

Lactaid achieves this feat by adding lactase to the mix, a natural enzyme that breaks down lactose, leaving behind the milk you know and love, without the lactose. 

Best ultra-filtered: Fairlife

A process called ultra-filtering can remove lactose as well, so this is another great choice for those with lactose intolerance. Additionally, ultra-filtering provides benefits beyond the removal of lactose. This process removes sugar and natural water from the milk, resulting in a final product with higher protein and calcium content and less sugar and carbs. 

As such, ultra-filtered milk is popular not only with those who are lactose-intolerant but also with those who are diabetic or watching their sugar intake. 

Fairlife offers ultra-filtered milk as well as a whole range of ultra-filtered dairy products, including creamers and protein shakes. 

Choosing the right milk option for your family

Woman drinking in kitchen
If you find that the above grass-fed, organic, lactose-free, or ultra-filtered kinds of milk still aren’t meeting your health needs, it may be time to look into some popular milk alternatives. Luckily, as this market grows by leaps and bounds, with more consumers going to a partial or full plant-based lifestyle, you can find all kinds of milk alternatives out there. From soy to almond, coconut to oat, you’re sure to find milk you’ll love — even if there aren’t any cows involved.  eldar nurkovic/Shutterstock

BlissMark provides information regarding health, wellness, and beauty. The information within this article is not intended to be medical advice. Before starting any diet or exercise routine, consult your physician. If you don’t have a primary care physician, the United States Health & Human Services department has a free online tool that can help you locate a clinic in your area. We are not medical professionals, have not verified or vetted any programs, and in no way intend our content to be anything more than informative and inspiring. 

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