Is Pea Milk Healthy?
Nondairy milk alternatives have become more and more popular in recent years, and more and more options are becoming available as we speak. Alongside the nut milks, oat milks, soymilks, rice milks and even potato milks on the market arises another alternative you may not have heard of: pea milk.
Pea milk has slowly gained popularity in the U.S. market for those looking to try a new alternative to traditional dairy. Pea milk is allergen-friendly, vegan, nut-free, soy-free, lactose-free and gluten-free.
However, those who aren't familiar with it might have some questions about the new product: what is pea milk? And is pea milk healthy? Here we dive into the science to answer those questions and more.
What Is Pea Milk, and How Is Pea Milk Made?
Pea milk is made from yellow—no, not green—field peas which get milled into flour. While a lot of dairy-free milks are made by soaking, pea milk is made by blending purified protein (separated from the fiber and starch in the flour) with water and other ingredients, which can include sunflower oil and vitamins like B12.
Related: Health Benefits of Sunflower Oil
The result? A milk alternative with a similar taste, consistency and color to cow's milk. You can drink the unsweetened pea milk as is, or you can use it as you would any other milk or nondairy milk in smoothies, cereal, soups and sweet and savory baked goods.
Is Pea Milk Healthy?
Here's the nutrition breakdown for a 1-cup serving of unsweetened pea milk manufactured by Ripple:
- 80 calories
- 4.5g total fat
- <1g carbohydrates
- 0g sugar
- 8g protein
- 125mg sodium
- 440mg calcium
- 405mg potassium
While formulations can differ, this pea milk contains 150% more calcium than cow's milk and, compared to popular nondairy milks like almond milk and oat milk, pea milk has significantly more protein, which can help support healthy bones and keep you feeling full longer.
Choosing pea milk is also a good option for those following a low-carb or diabetes-friendly eating pattern, as a serving has less than 1 gram each of carbohydrates and saturated fat and is low in sodium.
It's also a sustainable option, as yellow field peas are inexpensive and easy to grow, and the milk requires less water and resources to produce than its other dairy and nondairy competitors.
The Bottom Line
So, is pea milk healthy? Yes, it can be part of a healthy eating pattern for those looking for an allergen-friendly, protein-rich dairy alternative. It's nutritious and has a lower environmental impact than its competitors, as well. The only downside is pea milk's limited supply in stores, but the Ripple locator can help you find the brand's nearest product.