On Your Health

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How Healthy is Oat Milk?

There are so many types of milk at the grocery store these days it can be hard to keep track. From almond and rice to soy and hemp, nondairy milk alternatives have been gaining popularity in recent years. 

Milk made from oats is one of the latest trends in the nondairy world and it’s a cause for celebration for many of those who are lactose- and dairy-free. Even better, oat milk is not only trendy, but has many benefits for your overall health. Here’s a look at why oat milk is good for you and we’ve even thrown in a few recipes should you wish to make your own oat milk at home. 

What is oat milk?

Oat milk is a nondairy, lactose-free and vegan-friendly alternative to cow’s milk. It’s made from oats that have been soaked in water, blended and then strained. The milk that results can be consumed as is or you can add natural sweeteners such as vanilla, dates or cinnamon for extra flavor. 

Since oats absorb water easily, more of the oats themselves make their way into the remaining milk after they have been blended and strained. This results in a creamy texture with high amounts of fiber and protein from the original oats. The leftover oat “pulp” can be baked into oatmeal cookies, made into porridge or used as a natural face mask. 

Is oat milk gluten-free?

Oats are naturally gluten-free, making oat milk generally safe for those with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease.  However, oats are often processed using the same equipment as gluten-containing grains. This cross-contamination can be enough to cause an adverse reaction if you have a gluten intolerance. If you’re worried about gluten, opt to make your own oat milk at home to avoid contamination or seek out oat milk brands made with certified gluten-free oats. 

Health benefits of oat milk 

Oats naturally contain many vitamins and minerals your body needs, including vitamin B, thiamin, folate, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, zinc and copper. These nutrients are passed to oat milk. If you’re looking for more nutrients, store-bought oat milk is often fortified with vitamins A and D, iron, calcium, potassium, fiber and riboflavin. 

Since oat milk is made from fiber-rich oats, it has higher levels of carbohydrates than other milk alternatives but contains no saturated fats. The higher levels of carbohydrates found in oat milk translate into lasting energy throughout the day, unlike almond and other nut milks which provide energy through fats. 

A one cup serving of oat milk provides 130 calories, 15 grams of carbohydrates, 2.5 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fats, 2 grams of fiber, 4 grams of protein, 35 percent of your daily recommended allowance for calcium and 25 percent of your recommended daily allowance for vitamin D. Oat milk contains less protein than cow’s milk and soy milk, but more protein than plant-based milk alternatives such as almond, cashew, coconut and rice milk. 

Below are some of the biggest health benefits of consuming oat milk. 

  • Promotes satiety – The high levels of protein and fiber found in oat milk promote satiety, meaning it fills you up quickly and helps keep you feeling full for longer. This can help improve appetite control and promote weight loss.
  • Provides high levels of iron – One cup of oat milk contains approximately 10 percent of your daily recommended iron intake. This makes it a good source of iron for vegans and vegetarians who may miss out on other sources of iron. Adequate iron levels help promote healthy red blood cell production and can prevent anemia. 
  • Helps keep cholesterol levels in check – Oats help maintain healthy cholesterol levels because they contain beta-glucan, a type of soluble fiber. Beta-glucan has cholesterol-lowering properties and its benefits are maintained when oats are turned into oat milk or other oat beverages.  

Be wary of store-bought brands 

Oat milk is becoming more popular, so it’s no surprise that pre-made oat milk can be found in grocery stores and other food markets. While store-bought varieties are often fortified with added nutrients, they can also contain added preservatives and sugars which can weaken the health benefits that oat milk can provide. Pre-made oat milks may also contain thickeners and emulsifiers that can have a negative impact on digestive health.

Making your own oat milk 

All you need are oats, water, a blender and something that can be used to strain the oats. This recipe from Simple Vegan Blog can be made using any type of oat and can be strained using a cheesecloth, nut milk bag, strainer or even a napkin. 

Simply soak your oats in water for at least 30 minutes (you can let them soak overnight for better absorbency), drain the oats, blend them, strain them, and voilà – you have oat milk.


Homemade Oat Milk

(click here to download the recipe)

Oat Milk Recipe

 

You can use oat milk just as you would cow’s milk or any other milk alternative. Its creamy texture makes it a popular choice for lattes and cappuccinos, but you can also add it to basically any recipe that requires milk. The recipe below from Sweet Basil & Thyme will help you whip up the perfect vanilla cinnamon oat milk latte at home.


Vanilla Cinnamon Oat Milk Latte

(click here to download the recipe)

Oat Milk Latte


 

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