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What Are The Health Benefits of Oat Milk?

Dietary substitutes can make all the difference in improving how your body functions. Oat milk products are all the rage: left and right, people are swapping out cow’s milk and dairy products in general for this tasty, plant-based alternative. But just how healthy is oat milk?

Oat milk is a plant-based milk alternative made from oats. It is a healthy and sustainable alternative to dairy milk. Oats are rich in protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They are also gluten-free and cholesterol-free.

It can be difficult to decide if switching to oat milk is right for you. Keep reading to learn more about the pros and cons of using oat milk, the health benefits, and even an easy recipe for making your oat milk at home!

How nutritional is oat milk?

Some people might think that oat milk does not provide the same benefits as dairy milk, but this is not true! There are several nutritional benefits of drinking oat milk.

For starters, oat milk contains no cholesterol, lactose, or animal products found in other milk types. Oat milk also has a lower glycemic index than cow’s milk.

This means that 1) it makes it easier for the body to break down and absorb nutrients, and 2) it doesn’t spike your blood sugar levels as much when you drink it, making oat milk a good choice for diabetics!  Oat milk has been shown to help people with heart disease and high cholesterol.

Oats are rich in soluble fiber, which can help lower cholesterol levels and maintain healthy blood pressure. They are also high in antioxidants, reducing the risk of chronic diseases like cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

RELATED: POUR THE CEREAL BEFORE THE MILK (OR THE MILK BEFORE THE CEREAL)

Is oat milk healthier than cow’s milk?

A cup of oat milk latte on a wooden table

Credits: K8

If you’re searching for ways to improve your health, looking at the type of milk you’re consuming is a great place to start!

Perhaps one of the biggest reasons people switch from cow’s milk to oat milk is because they want to improve their health. Cutting out unnecessary calories, fats, oils, and sugars is typically the first step in this process, and dairy products are often the first to go! 

Oat milk has been touted as a healthier alternative to cow’s milk because it contains less sugar, calories, and fat than cow’s milk. However, many other factors are taken into account when deciding whether or not a product is beneficial to add to your diet.

Additionally, oat milk is usually fortified with vitamins and minerals, making it a better option than cow’s milk for those who have certain dietary restrictions. For example, oat milk may be more appropriate for those with food allergies or intolerances to dairy products or soy products because it contains no soy or dairy. 

It’s important to note that there is no lactose in oat milk. This makes it a perfect option for lactose intolerant individuals or those struggling with the side effects of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Lastly, oat milk is high in fiber and contains bone-strengthening minerals such as potassium, magnesium, and zinc. It also provides more nutrients, such as protein, calcium, and vitamin D!

RELATED: CAN YOU POUR MILK DOWN THE DRAIN (IF NOT, WHAT SHOULD YOU DO)

Oat milk or almond milk: is one better than the other?

Before oat milk became popular, many people chose almond milk over dairy options. Now that we have more than one milk alternative to choose from, how can we know which is best for us?

To answer this question, we have to examine the nutritional facts of oat milk and almond milk. 

One cup of unsweetened oat milk contains:

  • 80 calories
  • 1.5 grams of fat
  • 120 milligrams of sodium
  • 14 grams of carbohydrates 
  • 1 gram of sugar
  • 2 grams of fiber
  • 3 grams of protein

Whereas one cup of unsweetened almond milk contains:

  • 35 calories
  • 3 grams of fat
  • 160 milligrams of sodium
  • 1 gram of carbohydrates
  • 0 grams of sugar
  • 1 gram of fiber
  • 1 gram of protein

Almond milk has been under fire for some time for being unsustainable due to the amount of water it takes to produce it. Also, almond milk contains carrageenan, an additive used to thicken the milk and prevent separation. 

Studies have shown that this additive can be difficult for the digestive tract to break down. It may also be linked to inflammation and irritable bowel syndrome. 

The answer to which milk is better for you lies in what nutritional aspects are the most important to you. 

If you’re trying to cut down on your calorie intake and don’t care about flavor or consistency, almond milk may be the best choice; however, if you would instead drink creamier milk with fewer grams of fat, oat milk is the better option.

RELATED: WHY IS MAPLE SYRUP SO EXPENSIVE (TOP REASONS)

Oat Milk

Credits: micheile dot com

Side effects of oat milk

Pros of using oat milk 

There are several pros to using oat milk over other milk and dairy alternatives!

First of all, people with nut or soy allergies who are vegan or lactose intolerant will like oat milk. While there are various nut-free, dairy-free replacement kinds of milk on the market, many are nutritionally deficient. 

For example, rice milk often includes no dietary fiber and only 1 gram of protein. Another popular option, flaxseed milk, contains no protein or dietary fiber.

Secondly, oat milk rarely contains thickeners. It is made from oats, water, and a natural sweetener. It also does not contain any hormones or antibiotics found in cow’s milk, and it is not made with any genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

Cons of using oat milk

Many people have switched to oat milk as a healthier alternative to traditional dairy milk, but it is not without its drawbacks. 

First of all, oat milk is more expensive than dairy milk, and it can be hard to find in stores. Plus, there are some concerns that oat milk may cause digestive problems for those with Celiac disease. In some cases, oat milk has been shown to cause gastrointestinal issues like bloating and diarrhea.

In addition, another con of oat milk is that it lacks calcium. This can be problematic for people who need the extra calcium in their diet because they are at risk of osteoporosis or other bone-related diseases like osteoarthritis.

At this time, oat milk is not as sustainable as it could be. It still requires a hefty amount of water to make (although not as much as almond milk!) However, you can make it at home with a simple, easy recipe (see below).

RELATED: WHY DO YOU SOAK LIVER IN MILK BEFORE COOKING?

4 health benefits of using oat milk

The health benefits of oat milk are in its high fiber content, which is great for regulating your digestive system and lowering cholesterol levels. Below are four of the best benefits of oat milk.

1. Oat milk is rich in vitamins and minerals.

Oats are rich in vitamins and minerals, which are excellent for your body! They can help improve your digestion and keep you feeling full for longer. Oat milk has a lower glycemic index than cow’s milk, making it easier for the body to break down.

2. Your cholesterol levels may improve.

Oats can also help to maintain healthy cholesterol levels.  Oat milk is also a good source of iron and potassium, contributing to healthy hair, skin, and nails. 

3. Special compounds help protect against negative environmental factors.

There are also antioxidant compounds in oats that help protect against the negative effects of pollution, and they’re also a good source of manganese and magnesium. 

4. Vitamins in oat milk healthy vision.

Oat milk contains B vitamins and riboflavin. These two components support good eye health. In the case of B12, the vitamin (together with folic acid and vitamin B6) may assist in lowering the risk of age-related macular degeneration, especially in those over 40.

Can oat milk benefit your skin?

Oat milk is said to have many health benefits, and some people believe that it can help your skin.

The use of oats as a beauty product is not new. It has been around since the late 1800s, when the first oatmeal soap was created. It has only recently become popular in the United States because of its health benefits and ability to make your skin look healthy and glowy.

Oat milk contains many good nutrients for your skin, such as magnesium, zinc, and selenium. 

These minerals help to keep your skin hydrated and improve its texture. Oat milk also contains vitamin A, which is important for healthy cell turnover in your skin.

 Oat milk

Credits: Irene Kredenets

Environmental benefits of oat milk

Although oat milk production will most likely be more sustainable in the future, oat crops have less of a negative impact on the environment than other grains. Oats require less water, pesticides, and fertilizer, for starters. This means fewer nitrous oxide emissions. 

RELATED: IS EATING RAW OATS HEALTHY?

Additionally, they are one of the fastest-growing crops globally and can thrive in various conditions. Oats are a great source of protein, iron, and fiber. Oats can be grown on a small scale, and it is estimated that they can grow up to 50% more efficiently than other crops!

Because they can grow in cold-weather settings, they may be part of farmers’ healthy crop rotation program. Growing oats greatly aids in the reintroduction of nutrients into the soil. 

How to make oat milk at home

Unsweetened oat milk base recipe

The only thing better than finding a healthy alternative to regular milk is being able to make it at home! Making oat milk at home might seem intimidating at first, but it is quite easy and may save you money in the long run.

Making oat milk involves blending oats, water, salt, and an optional handful of nuts until they form into a smooth, creamy liquid.

This recipe makes 4 cups of unsweetened oat milk. You’ll need the following ingredients:

  • 4 cups of ice-cold water (so you don’t cook the oats)
  • Salt
  • 1 cup of dry rolled oats (don’t use instant or fast-cooking oats!)
  • Optional for a creamier texture: 1/4 cup of nuts (macadamias and cashews preferably)
  • Optional for sweetness: 1 tablespoon of maple syrup

If you would like creamier oat milk, soak your nuts overnight. Blend them with 2 cups of ice-cold water for 3 seconds, then add the other 2 cups of water along with your cup of rolled oats and a pinch of salt. 

Blend the mixture for up to 20 seconds, ensuring you don’t allow it to sit and soak. Soaking causes starch breakdown, which you don’t want!

Next, strain the mixture through a clean cotton t-shirt into a container or bottle for storing. Be careful not to push or squeeze the leftover oat pulp, as this will release the starch compounds and make your oat milk have a slimy consistency. 

To finish, store your oat milk in the fridge for up to five days, shaking it vigorously before drinking or using it in cooking or baking, as some separation is unavoidable. Enjoy your oat milk with cereal, coffee, or as an alternative to baking with cow’s milk. 

RELATED: CAN I EAT CEREAL WITH WATER INSTEAD OF MILK?

Frequently asked questions about oat milk

I don’t drink coffee or eat cereal. What are some other ways to incorporate oat milk into my diet?:

Plenty of people use oat milk for cooking and baking. You can also enjoy it in a glass as a refreshing beverage. Adding oat milk into your smoothie is a tasty idea. Oat milk can also be used in overnight oats recipes as well!

Are oats gluten-free?

Yes, oats are gluten-free. However, the way they are processed can change that. 

This is due to potential cross-contamination with gluten. If you choose oat milk because of gluten intolerance or want to consume gluten-free products, read the label first! There are plenty of oat milk brands out there that remain gluten-free. If you buy your oats from a reliable source, you can avoid this problem by reading the label and looking for “gluten-free” on the package.

Is it healthy to drink oat milk every day? 

Drinking oat milk every day can give you an extra boost of fiber to get your digestive tract moving properly. Oat milk can also provide extra protein, making it a great post-workout drink. You can maintain or lower your cholesterol levels by choosing oat milk over other alternatives. Lastly, drinking oat milk can help boost your immune system, thanks to the vitamin D it contains! 

Jess Smith

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