In recent times, plant-based alternatives to milk have become popular. Oat milk is the right choice for people with food allergies and intolerances. It remains free from lactose, soy, nutrients, and gluten if created from certified gluten-free oats.
It is a powerful food with plenty of nutrients and benefits. Learn more about oat milk, their advantages, nutritional value, and different ways to consume it right here.
What Is Oat Milk?
Oat milk is a dairy-free, vegan, and popular milk substitute. Created by soaking or blending rolled or steel-cut oats with water, oat milk is strained through cheesecloth to separate the fluid from the oats.
Nutritiously speaking, oatmeal is just what your body needs. It is enriched with nutrients like vitamins D and A, iron, potassium, and calcium.
Did you know oat milk is also free of allergens found in other sources? It’s even enriched with beta-glucans. In case you’re wondering what this is, it is a soluble fiber that benefits heart health. Oat milk is found in most grocery stores or even online.
It can also be made at home and customized as per your taste. Oat milk is made from strained oats and fortified with vitamins like A, B2, D and B12 and minerals like calcium when commercially produced.
As against other types of milk, oat milk has more carbs, fiber, and calorific value, compared to a cow, soy, or almond milk beverage. It provides less protein than dairy and soy varieties, though. So, if you’re looking for a protein-rich substitute, this is not the right choice.
Potential Oat Milk Benefits
Oat milk, however, carries a lot of benefits. Studies on oats and oat milk show several health advantages.
1. Vegan, Lactose, Nut, and Soy-Free
Oatmeal is an excellent option for those experiencing dietary restrictions. This is made using water and oats only. But do remember that you need an established oat milk brand because if gluten-rich grains come into contact with oat milk during processing, you can be caught unawares.
2. Wonderful Source of B Vitamins
Oat milk is fortified with B vitamins such as riboflavin or B2 and vitamin B12(1). B vitamins are critical for optimal health and linked to a plethora of benefits, in turn.
If you’re experiencing a low mood, pop in some oat milk, this milk can elevate your mood(2), combat free radical damage and lead to healthy hair and skin, as well.
3. Lower Blood Cholesterol Levels
Oat milk is rich in, which boosts health. This soluble fiber, as discussed before, is excellent for cardiovascular health. It forms a gel-type substance inside the gut which binds cholesterol and lowers its absorption.
This can reduce LDL or bad cholesterol linked to heart disease. Research(3) has found support for reduced blood cholesterol by 3% and LDL by 5% by drinking three cups of oat milk over five weeks.
Another study found consuming oat milk lowers(4) LDL cholesterol. One cup of oat milk, which is around 240 ml, can power your body with up to 1.3 grams of beta-glucans.
4. Excellent for Bone Health
Oat milk is rich in calcium and vitamin D. So, this is just great news for osteoporosis patients, because both these nutrients are ideal for bone health. Calcium is essential for healthy, strong bones as it is the main mineral.
Lack of calcium can lead to hollow, fractured, or broken bones. Enough vitamin D is equally critical because it aids the absorption of calcium from the digestive tract.
Commercial oat milk is also suitable for healthy bones, as it is fortified with vitamin B12(5). This milk can also help to prevent anemia. How so? Well, vitamin B12 is critical for the synthesis of red blood cells.
Anemia is caused by a lack of RBC or erythrocytes in the body. Just 1 cup of oat milk contains 10% of your daily requirement of iron. When paired with iron-rich foods like lentils and spirulina, oat milk can work wonders for health.
5. Boost Health
Oat milk is essential to boost the immune system. Oat milk brands contain vitamins like D and A, which ward off infection and build the immunity. Protect your body from autoimmune conditions such as Type 1 Diabetes, MS, and Crohn’s Disease using vitamin D-enriched oat milk.
[Read: Benefits of Almond Milk]
Downsides of Oat Milk
While there are many benefits associated with oat milk, be warned about these potential pitfalls:
1. Additives in Commercial Brands
While purchasing oat milk saves time, commercial varieties are filled with sugars, preservatives, and additives. This is the reason it diminishes the health-promoting property of oat milk.
Profitable brands may also contain thickeners or emulsifiers that alter gut microbiome adversely. The possibility of contamination due to gluten-grains during processing cannot be ruled out. So, you need to opt for certified gluten-free oats.
Oat milk is not as naturally nutrient-dense as conventional milk. So, if you’re looking to get the same number of nutrients from oat milk, especially the commercial variety, think again! Commercial varieties are sweetened and flavored and therefore high in sugar as well.
2. Not a Suitable Replacement
Oat milk is safe for young children, but it is never a replacement for cows or breast milk. It lacks the essential nutrients needed for optimal growth.
3. Costlier Milk
Another pitfall of oat milk, primarily commercial varieties, is that these are way more expensive than regular milk.
Oat milk as you know now has a lot of benefits to offer. Using such plant-based and all-natural foods can have a lot of benefits, as you can fully well see.
Studies indicate these foods boost the immune system, aid in digestion, improve bone health, and combat cancer. These amazing superfoods are the bane of the dairy industry and great for powering your health.