Among the many plant-based milk substitutes, oat milk is increasingly common on supermarket shelves due to its delicious taste and impressive nutritional profile.
But is oat milk healthy? Is it good for you? We’ll dive into the details to find out. First of all, it is suitable for people with dietary restrictions or allergies, as it is naturally free of dairy, lactose, soy, nuts and gluten. Oats are naturally gluten-free. Once you learn about the benefits and potential side effects of oat milk, you can also learn how to make one with just two ingredients.

What is oat milk?

Oat milk is a vegan alternative to cow’s milk that has recently gained popularity. To make it, you mix one cup of old-fashioned soaked oats in a blender with about three cups of water, then pour the liquid through a cheesecloth to extract the milk. Depending on the oat milk recipe you are using, you can also add cinnamon, vanilla, dates or other natural sweeteners to enhance the flavor.

Thanks to its growing popularity, oat milk is now available pre-made in many grocery stores and natural food markets. Not only have food manufacturers made it easier than ever to consume this type of milk, but they often add additional vitamins and minerals to create a product rich in micronutrients found in cow’s milk, such as vitamin A, calcium, riboflavin and vitamin D.

Plant-based milk has long been used as an alternative to conventional milk by people with allergies or dietary restrictions, as well as those looking to reduce their consumption of animal products.

For many years, soy milk has been the leader in plant-based milk alternatives due to its long shelf life, nutrient density, and versatility. Along with soy, oat, and almond milk, newer varieties, such as hemp milk, coconut milk, rice milk, and hazelnut milk, are also available, each providing its own unique set of health benefits and nutrients.

Nutritional data

Oat milk is relatively low in calories but contains protein and is usually fortified with vitamins and minerals such as calcium, riboflavin, and vitamin D. Commercial varieties may also contain added ingredients that are used to extend shelf life and improve flavor. Keep in mind that the nutrition of homemade oat milk may be slightly different and may be lower in micronutrients added by food manufacturers.

A cup of oat milk contains approximately

120 calories
16 grams of carbs
3 grams of protein
5 grams of fat
2 grams of dietary fiber
1.2 micrograms of vitamin B12 (50% of the daily value)
0.6 milligrams of riboflavin (45% of daily intake)
350 milligrams of calcium (25% of the daily value)
100 international units of vitamin D (25% of daily intake)
269 ​​milligrams of phosphorus (20% of daily requirement)
500 international units of vitamin A (10% of the daily value)
1.8 milligrams of iron (10% of daily requirement)
115 milligrams of sodium (5 percent DV)

Benefits of oat milk

1. Lactose-free and vegan

Whether you’re avoiding conventional milk to minimize your intake of animal products or because the lactose in milk just isn’t right for your stomach, oat milk is a good alternative. Made from oats and water, it is dairy and lactose free, making it an ideal substitute for those with dietary restrictions and on a dairy-free diet. Like other nut milks, it can be easily replaced with milk in many recipes. You can use it in cold desserts like ice cream, or even add it to your morning bowl of cereal for a quick and convenient vegan milk alternative.

2. Strengthens bones

Commercial oat milk is often fortified with calcium and vitamin D, two important micronutrients that play a central role in bone health. About 99% of your body’s calcium is in your bones. Vitamin D, on the other hand, promotes calcium absorption and supports bone health. It is often recommended to increase the intake of calcium and vitamin D in the treatment of diseases such as osteoporosis, in order to maintain strong bones. According to a medical journal, low calcium and vitamin D levels can lead to increased bone cell breakdown, as well as an increased risk of bone weakness and fractures. Many types of marketed oat milk also contain good amounts of vitamin B12. This vitamin may reduce the risk of osteoporosis, especially in postmenopausal women.

3. Boosts Immunity

When you’re feeling a little tired, oat milk might not be the first thing you look for. However, you can start incorporating it into your diet regularly to help boost your immune system. Most commercial oat milks are an excellent source of vitamin D and vitamin A, two essential nutrients for boosting immunity and warding off disease and infection. Studies show that vitamin D is directly linked to immune cell function, and a deficiency may even be associated with a higher risk of autoimmune diseases. Likewise, vitamin A can alter the immune response and help improve the outcomes of certain types of infectious diseases.

4. Lowers Cholesterol

Oats are well known for their heart health benefits and ability to keep cholesterol levels in check. This is because it contains a type of soluble fiber called beta-glucan, which has been shown to have powerful cholesterol-lowering properties. Interestingly, research has found that the beneficial effects of beta-glucan in oats are even retained in oat drinks, such as oat milk. A human study published in the Annals of Nutrition & Metabolism found that consuming oat milk for five weeks significantly reduced total cholesterol and bad LDL cholesterol levels, to a greater extent than rice milk. Another study conducted by the Department of Applied Nutrition and Food Chemistry at Lund University, Sweden, found similar results, indicating that consuming oat milk for just four weeks reduced the rate of cholesterol in healthy subjects.

Recipe to make at home

How to make oat milk? It’s very simple with this oat milk recipe:

Soak a cup of oats in water for 30 minutes.
Mix with three cups of water.
Blend in a food processor.
Using a cloth, filter the milk and taste it.
For maximum freshness, consume milk within three days of preparation.

How to use oat milk

Wondering where to buy oat milk? Although it’s not as easy to find as other milk alternatives, like almond milk or soy milk, it’s becoming more widely available due to its recent surge in popularity. You can usually find it near other milks in the health food section of your local store. You can also find some brands of oat milk on online shopping sites. Be sure to look for an unsweetened variety and check the ingredient label carefully to choose a product with minimal added ingredients.

If you’re having trouble finding oat milk, you can also try making it yourself. Not only does this give you complete control over your ingredients, but it also allows you to make your oat milk unsweetened and preservative-free.

The potential uses of oat milk are many. You can replace it with conventional milk in your cereal and oatmeal or use it to make certain types of desserts that don’t require baking, such as pudding or ice cream. You can also use it in your favorite drinks and add it to your morning smoothie, tea or coffee. Just be sure to avoid heating this milk directly as it can thicken and develop a gelatinous texture.

Precautions and side effects

Oat milk can be a healthy, lactose-free, vegan alternative to conventional milk, but there are also some negatives to consider.

While buying your own oat milk can save you time, commercial varieties are often filled with additives, preservatives, and sugars that can diminish some of its health-promoting properties. While it often contains added vitamins and minerals that can be beneficial, some brands of oat milk may also contain thickeners and emulsifiers that can impact digestive health and alter the gut microbiome.

Additionally, although oats are naturally gluten-free, they are often processed in facilities that also process other gluten-containing grains such as wheat or barley, resulting in cross-contamination. If you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, you should opt for certified gluten-free oats or oat milk to avoid cross-contamination.

Oat milk is also not as naturally nutrient dense as conventional milk. Although an enriched variety is a good source of many of the vitamins and minerals found in milk and can be a good nutritional substitute for milk, making your own oat milk at home can make sure you get these important vitamins and minerals from other sources in your diet. When buying oat milk, look for brands that are unsweetened and contain minimal added ingredients. This preserves the health benefits and nutritional content and reduces the risk of unwanted side effects caused by additional ingredients, such as preservatives or additives.

* criptom strives to transmit health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE, the information given can not replace the opinion of a health professional.