Oat milk: Is it worth trying?

What is oat milk?

Oat milk is gluten-free and lactose-free milk alternative derived from oats. It is a vegan–friendly milk. This frothy milk is more nutritious than the almond milk and has recently gained popularity. So, it is best for those who have allergies or intolerances a sit is naturally lactose-, gluten-, soy-, and nuts-free milk alternative.

“Almost all the non-dairy beverages may be ‘hot’ right now because of the interest in plant-based diets,” says the author of The Small Change Diet. “Oat milk is particularly accessible, as it’s cheaper to make than nut milk and may be more environmentally friendly”, explains the registered dietician Kelly Johns.  

Nutritional benefits of oat milk:

Processed oat milk which is enriched with some nutrients contains Vitamins, phosphorus, iron, calcium, riboflavin, dietary fiber, carbs and proteins with a small amount of fat. So yes, it is much more nutritious than almond milk and is a great alternative to almond milk as well.

How to make it?

The processed oat milk is extracted from oats and is then fortified with Vitamin A, D, B12, and B2. So, processed oat milk is more nutritious than the homemade one. But that processed oat milk must be derived from certified gluten-free oats only because during the processing traces of gluten get mixed with it. Homemade oat milk made from certified gluten-free oats can be made and flavored further for the taste.

Soak one cup of oats in three cups of water for some time. Then strain it using a cotton cloth. Throw off the residue and use the milk as you like. Store it in the glass bottle inside the refrigerator.

You can add flavor to it as you like. Or you can add nuts and sugar to enhance the taste.

Benefits of oat milk:

As said, if enriched, oat milk holds a lot of nutrition. It helps boost immunity, strengthen bones and has numerous other advantages.  

Great non-diary milk:

Oat milk is vegan as it is made of oats and water only. It is also nut and soy free. So yes, it can be used by the people who have allergies and are vegan.

If made from gluten-free oats, then it is also gluten-free. But you have to be very careful if you have a gluten allergy and choose only that oat milk that is made from gluten-free oats. If there is a doubt, make your own using certified gluten-free oats.

Lowers the cholesterol level:

Oats are known to maintain heart health. Oats keep checking on the blood cholesterol levels. So does is oat milk because it retains the nutrients that are heart friendly. 

Oat milk contains a soluble fiber that lowers the blood cholesterol level- beta glucans. This soluble fiber makes a gel in the gut that dissolves cholesterol in it and so prevents it from absorption. In this way, beta glucans help lower the blood cholesterol level as well as decreases the amount of bad LDL cholesterol.

A study published in Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism says that drinking three glasses of oat milk per day for five weeks can lower the total cholesterol level by 5 to 7% (including bad LDL cholesterol).

Prevents anemia:

Anemia is caused by the lack of iron and Vitamin B12 in the body. This results in deformation of red blood cells and they cannot transfer oxygen to the cells. Paleness, fatigue, and beyond are the effects of anemia.

Oat milk is a good source of iron and vitamin B12. In fact, a glass of oat milk contains 10% of the daily requirement of iron. So it is a great source of iron for vegans and vegetarians because their diet often lacks iron and are more susceptible to anemia.

Strengthens bones:

Bones are made of 99% calcium. Processed oat milk is fortified with calcium and Vitamin D to make it good for bones. It provides calcium to the bones along with vitamin D which helps absorb calcium from the digestive tract, further strengthening the bones.

Taking oat milk daily can up your calcium and vitamin D intake and help you prevent osteoporosis and other conditions in which bones become weak and porous because of insufficient calcium and vitamin D supply.

Immunity booster:

Processed oat milk is enriched with vitamin A and vitamin D, both are known to enhance the immunity. If you are feeling under the weather or are caught up with any infection, oat milk can be a good option to boost your immunity

Vitamin D fights with diseases and increases the immunity, preventing you from autoimmune conditions including Type I Diabetes and other chronic illnesses. Similarly, Vitamin A alters the immune response and the immune system works better.

Downsides of oat milk:

Before making oat milk your new go-to, you must know about the potential harm that it can cause. With the benefits, it comes with some disadvantages that include:

Beware of additives:

While purchasing the processed oat milk, do check whether it contains sugar and other additives. Because it can affect your health by increasing the blood sugar level. 

Not a match to conventional milk:

Although oat milk is a good substitute for cow milk, it is not as nutritious as conventional milk. It is also not a substitute for breast milk. So, if you are looking forward to feeding it to your child, do consult his/her pediatrician.

Check for added gluten:

Oat milk is often not 100% gluten-free! It contains gluten traces which are added during its processing. So if you have a gluten allergy, you have to be very careful before adding oat milk into your diet.

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