Oat Milk Benefits

Oat Milk: What You Need To Know

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OAT MILK: KING OF THE PLANT-BASED MILKS?

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Plant-based milk has exploded in popularity in recent years. n recent years. In particular, Oat milk has been marketed as a great option for those who are susceptible to food intolerances. It’s free from nuts, gluten, soy, and lactose. It also has the added benefits of being very nutrient dense and is heart, bone, and waistline friendly.

This article will take an in-depth look at it oat milk. How it can benefit you and how to identify the healthiest variant.

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WHAT IS OAT MILK

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Oat milk is a plant-based milk alternative that has been steadily increasing in popularity in recent years.  Produced by soaking, blending and straining oats to obtain a fluid mixture, Oat milk is a  fantastic alternative because it’s naturally free of many of the allergens found in traditional milk products. Oat milk also contains soluble fiber offering heart-protective benefits.
Oat milk is not as nutritious as whole oats so many manufacturers choose to enrich the milk with essential nutrients such as Calcium, Iron, Vitamin B12 and Niacin. With it’s growing popularity, Oat milk is widely available from most grocery stores. It can also be easily made at home and customised to your tastes.

SUMMARY Oat milk is produced by processing oat flakes into a liquid form through soaking and blending.  Oat milk is often enriched with essential nutrients and is free from many allergens that plague traditional milk.

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OAT MILK NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

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Oat milk is a rich source of vitamins, minerals and fiber.
Oat milk nutrition varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, but there is a nutritional baseline which will conform across the range.

One cup (250 ml) of Alpro Oatly contains

  • Calories: 120
  • Protein: 3 grams
  • Fat: 5 grams
  • Carbs: 16 grams
  • Dietary fiber: 2 grams
  • Vitamin B12: 50% of the Daily Value (DV)
  • Riboflavin: 46% of the DV
  • Calcium: 27% of the DV
  • Phosphorus: 22% of the DV
  • Vitamin D: 18% of the DV
  • Vitamin A: 18% of the DV
  • Potassium: 6% of the DV
  • Iron: 2% of the DV

During the straining process, the oat milk loses a significant amount of the nutrients you would normally get from the oat flakes. Because of this, many manufacturers choose to enrich the milk with a range of vitamins such as A, D, B2 & B12 and minerals such as calcium and iron

Because oat milk is made from strained oats, it’s missing a lot of the nutrients that you would normally get from eating a bowl of oats. For this reason, it’s often enriched with nutrients.

SUMMARY  Oat milk — especially the fortified variety — is a an extremly rich source of nutrients.  It is more calorie dense than almond, soy or dairy milk and less protein than soy and dairy varities.

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BENEFITS OF OAT MILK

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Health Benefits

There is a wealth of information on the benefits of oats and oat milk. Chief among them, its tolerability, even for the most sensitive individuals.

1.Free from lactose, soy, and nuts

Oat milk is a fantastic option for those following a restricted diet or who may be prone to food intolerances. Since it’s made from just oats and water, it’s suitable for pretty much all diet groups. Though oats themselves are gluten-free, some oat milk is produced in factories which may pose a contamination risk so you should always opt for a certified gluten-free option if you have any issues with gluten.

2. Great Source of B Vitamins

Oat milk is often fortified with B vitamins, such as riboflavin (B2) and vitamin B12. B vitamins are an essential component for optimal health and wellbeing.

Just some of the benefits of B vitamins include:  Mood elevation, Healthy skin, hair and nails and a reduction in oxidative stress

3. May Lower Blood Cholesterol

Oat milk is very high in beta-glucans. Beta glucan is a form of soluble dietary fiber which has been strongly linked to improving cholestrol scores and boosting overall heart health.  These Beta-glucans form a gelatinous substance in the gut which binds to cholesterol and reduces its absorption.

One study conducted on a group of males found that drinking approximately 750ml of oat milk daily over the course of 5 weeks resulted in a reduction of total cholesterol by 3% and LDL “bad” cholesterol by 5%.

Another study noted that on average, just 3 grams of oat beta-glucans lowered LDL cholesterol by 5-7% which is quite significant for such a minor dietary change. Just one cup (250ml) of oat milk provides 1.4 grams of beta-glucans.

4. Good for Bone Health

Most commercial Oat milk is fortified with calcium and vitamin D, which is beneficial for bone health.  Calcium is the main mineral used in the formation of strong, healthy bones and so, getting an adequate supply of calcium in your diet is essential.  A lack of calcium may put you at risk for bone breakages or fractures.

Vitamin D is equally as important, as calcium often depends on an adequate supply of vitamin D to aid in its absorption from the digestive tract.  A lack of Vitamin D can mean a lack of calcium which again, can put you at risk for many bone related disorders and fractures.

Oat milk is also a rich source of B12 which has been linked to healthy bone structure and a lower risk of osteoprosis. Vegans especially tend to get less B12 in their diets so Oat milk can be a great way to get this all-important vitamin into your body.

SUMMARY: Oat milk is extremley hypoallergenic. It is a great source of a variety of vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre. Just two cups a day may lower cholestrol, protect the heart and support bone health.

POTENTIAL RISKS

While oat milk has a myriad of health benefits, depending on the brand or variety you buy, it may have some potential risks.

Certain varieties of oat milk may be high in added sugar or artificial sweeteners — especially if it’s a flavoured variety. It’s always best to check your favorite brand to make sure it’s naturally sugar-free.

Although oats themselves are gluten-free, many varieties of Oat milk are not certified gluten-free. Gluten-contaminated oat milk may cause digestive issues for those with a gluten intolerance or celiac disease. Again, it’s wise to do your due diligence when purchasing your oat milk. If in doubt, you can always make your own with certified gluten-free oats. Just bear in mind that homemade oat milk is not as nutritious as the fortified commercial versions.

Oat milk is safe for children and babies but is not recommended as a complete replacement for breast milk or formula as it does lack certain essential nutrients required for optimal growth. It’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor before changing your babies diet.

Another potential downside of oat milk is the price. It’s generally priced much higher than traditional cows milk, though prices have started to come down in recent times as competition between providers has heated up.

SUMMARY: When choosing your brand, make sure to choose unsweetend, fortified milk for optimal nutrition.  If you have a gluten-intolerance, be sure to select a certified gluten-free variety.

How to Make Your Own Oat Milk

Luckily Oat milk is very easy to make at home with minimal effort or utensils.  What’s more, making your own gives you greater control over the ingredients, flavouring, and consistency. You can also avoid many of the harmful additives or thickeners that are all too common in commercial products.

You can also make yours gluten-free by using certified gluten-free oats.

To start, blend one cup of rolled or steel-cut oats with three cups of water. Pour the mixture of cheesecloth to strain the milk from the oats — it’s that simple. You can enhance the flavour by adding salt, honey, vanilla, cinnamon or anything else that takes your fancy.

Once you’re done, store it in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Of course, after you’re done, you’ll notice that you have a mass of “oat pulp” left over. This is extremely nutritious as up to 40% of the grain’s nutrients will be retained in this pulp. Not to worry, you can still put this to good use: why not make a batch of oat cookies; use it to make a smooth bowl of porridge or it can even be used as a rejuvenating face mask.

SUMMARY: You can easily make your own oat milk by blending and straining oats .

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Sources:

Author et al. Onning G
Article title: Consumption of oat milk for 5 weeks lowers serum cholesterol and LDL cholesterol in free-living men with moderate hypercholesterolemia. – PubMed – NCBI
Website title: Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
URL: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10749030

Author: Anne Whitehead
Article title: Cholesterol-lowering effects of oat β-glucan: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials
URL: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25411276

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Oat milk is a nutritious plant-based alternative to dairy milk.  It consists of oats that are soaked, blended and strained to make a thick, fluid mixture. Oat milk is rich in vital nutrients, protects the heart and may aid in lowering cholesterol.

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