Soy milk or the soy drink offers a very important nutritional option for the children. In addition to being an option for children who cannot tolerate cow's milk, it also offers many additional benefits, and can play an important role in balancing the nutritional needs of the child.
Soy Milk for Children who Cannot Tolerate Cow's Milk
One of the greatest benefits of soy milk is that it is free from lactose and animal protein, which are a common source of allergic reactions and milk intolerance in children.
The world over, around 70% people are intolerant to lactose due to the inadequate productionof the 'lactase' enzyme that is required for digesting lactose present in cow's milk. These individuals are unable to digest cow's milk and may develop flatulence, cramps or diarrhoea on ingesting cow's milk. The presence of this condition can be confirmed by two simple tests, the Hydrogen Breath Test shows the presence of hydrogen in the breath of those with lactose intolerance, while in case of very young children and infants, Acid Levels of Stool indicate the presence of this condition. In all cases of lactose intolerance, soy milk offers a nutritional option that is as good as cow milk and can be used without any side effects. The same is true of about 2.5% children who develop allergy to cow's milk proteins and cannot tolerate it.
The amount of galactose in soy milk is low, so it is also a good alternative to cow milk in cases of galactosemia.
Additional Nutritional Benefits of Soy Milk
In addition to being an alternative to cow milk, the soy milk has certain characteristics that can make it an option that may be preferable even if the child can tolerate cow milk.
1. More importantly, the soy milk contains polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, which do not lead to deposition of fats in blood vessels including those in heart and are therefore do not lead to heart disease. In today's age,where over-nutrition and sedentary life style is leading to rise in heart diseases like angina and heart attack, soy milk offers an option that can help in countering this trend.
2. Soy milk is rich in proteins, with about 3.5% proteins, 2% fat and 2.9% non-lactose carbohydrates.
3. Soy milk is less likely to be a factor in development of Diabetes in later life as per some studies.
4. Soy milk has high concentration of LECITHIN and VITAMIN E. Vitamin E is an anti oxidant, and helps in reducing aging of cells. It has been shown to slow down degenerative diseases too.
5. Soy milk lacks CASEIN, the protein of cow milk. Casein has been suspected to increase the effects of autism, and also aggravate allergy to glutens. Being free from it makes soy milk a much more trouble-free and safer option.
6. Soy milk contains ISOFLAVONES, which are also strong anti-oxidants. Though the full effects of isoflavones are still not understood and though there has also been criticism about the role of these phyto-estrogen compounds on fertility, as per current evidence and data, most experts agree that these are beneficial substances with no side effects.
7. Soy milk has high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids which are being studied for their positive impact on development of infant brain.
8. Soy milk is also free from natural and supplementary hormones that are usually present in case of cow milk.
To sum up, soy milk offers many advantages. It is an excellent nutrition for children, and has lesser problems compared to cow milk.