Benefits of oat milk

Benefits of oat milk
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The benefits of oat milk and other plant-based foods may be the reason these alternative foods have become increasingly popular as nutritionists have advised it is one way to improve health and wellness and also suitable for vegans.

Oat milk is an alternative to dairy milk, proven to be more nutritious, contains fiber, is gluten-free, lacks soy, nuts, and lactose contains less fat and protein as compared to dairy milk. It is suitable for people who are lactose intolerant or have gastroenterological diseases and anyone with certain allergies associated with consuming dairy milk and its products. Oat milk is a good source of vitamins and minerals, including calcium and vitamin B12. It promotes a healthy digestive system due to the presence of high dietary fiber and plant-based protein. It has a different nutritional value than traditional dairy milk which has a wider range of vitamins and a lot of animal protein.

Oat milk may be prepared at home to suit your taste or can be bought off the shelves in most stores or ordered online. Oat milk prepared industrially is usually fortified with more vitamin B12 and other minerals. Oat milk is prepared from straining oats and therefore offers all the health benefits of oats.

Health benefits of Oat milk

Oat milk contains a lot of nutrients and is healthier than dairy milk. It contains a lot of health benefits ranging from lowering cholesterol levels and serves as a better alternative for type 2 diabetes patients. Oat milk is a good source of various nutrients, minerals, and vitamins like Vitamin A and D which boost immunity. Other nutrients and vitamins found in oat milk include:

  • Fiber: Fibre promotes healthy guts, helps with constipation, and manages low-density lipoprotein (LDL) often referred to as “bad cholesterol” which is a catalyst to heart attack
  • Protein: Protein is a bodybuilding nutrient that promotes healthy vision, immune response, tissue regeneration, fluid balance and plays an important role in blood clotting. Metabolism in the body is aided by enzymes which are specialized proteins that catalyze various biological reactions.
  • Calcium: Calcium deficiency leads to soft bones (scurvy) and weak muscles. It is an essential nutrient with a daily recommended intake of about 1,000 to 1,300mg for adults. Calcium is utilized in the body for strong bones, teeth, muscles and serves as shuttles or messengers for specific signals. Calcium also plays an important role in the release of hormones and enzymes.
  • Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): Essential vitamins required for cell development and functioning
  • Vitamin B12: B12 plays a role in the synthesis of DNA and nerve function. It also prevents megaloblastic anemia
  • Phosphorus

While most of these nutrients, vitamins, and minerals occur naturally in oat milk, it is also fortified with others depending on the manufacturers.

Here are the benefits of oat milk

1. Suitable for Vegans and Dairy Free

Oat milk is a great alternative for vegans and lactose-intolerant people. It contains healthy plant fat, is dairy-free, and provides a sweet taste. Oat milk is nutritious and can be customized by manufacturers to have a characteristic taste through edible flavoring. Oat milk is gluten-free but may not be suitable for people with gluten intolerance as it is industrially processed on the same equipment used for other grains which may contain gluten. If contaminated, it may cause a reaction. It is always advisable to check the label for specific information on processing techniques before buying an oat milk product. Make sure to buy products labeled as gluten-free. Oat milk can also be prepared at home and customized to fit your tastes

Oat milk is simply made from oats and water making it an alternative and healthy option for people with certain dietary restrictions as it is free of nuts, soy, and lactose

2. Excellent source of dietary fiber

Oats are the primary ingredient in oat milk and contain beta-glucan, a soluble fiber that promotes healthy gut and digestive functions. Regular consumption of beta-glucan in diet strengthens the immune system, can prevent infection, offer heart benefits, and improves the body’s ability to naturally heal itself. Oat milk contains twice as much fiber contained in cow milk and more dietary fiber than any other plant-based beverage.

Fiber-rich foods improve digestion and nutrient absorption, introducing oat milk to your diet is one way to increase your fiber intake.

3. Replaces Saturated fats with Unsaturated Fats

Plant fats are healthier than animal fats which are saturated. Dairy milk contains about 8g of fat and 5g of saturated fat in each serving as opposed to oat milk which contains zero saturated fats and a total of 2.5g of fat per serving. It is a suitable choice for people on a diet because minimal fat leads to a very low-calorie intake.

4. Nutrient, Vitamins, and Minerals

Essential vitamins like riboflavin, thiamine, and folate are contained in oat milk. The function in supporting the breakdown of carbohydrates for energy production and maintaining normal function of red blood cells and builds immunity due to the presence of Vitamin A and Vitamin D.

Manufacturers fortify oat milk products with other essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients including iron which prevents anemia and proteins that encourage rapid cell repair and reduce cell damage. 

It is an excellent source of B vitamins that helps in optimizing several body functions, alleviating stress, curbing oxidative damage, and if you have a  deficiency of these vitamins, introducing oat milk to your diet will promote healthy hair, nails, and skin. In older women, a deficiency of Vitamin B12 may lead to premature hair greying and hair loss issues as well after menopause. Oat milk should be included in their diets to prevent this.

5. Cholesterol Free

There is no cholesterol found in oat milk and studies have shown that regular consumption can lead to lower may low cholesterol (LDL) levels in the body. Excessive cholesterol promotes the build-up of LDL that blocks the arteries leading to various cardiovascular diseases.  

Oat milk is high in beta-glucan, a kind of soluble fiber with heart health benefits. It forms gel-like substances in the gut and binds to cholesterol and reduces its absorption into the blood. Studies have shown that consumption of oat milk daily for 5 weeks reduced total and LDL cholesterol by 3% and 5%, respectively.

6. Adsorption of insulin in Blood

Oat milk is a suitable and healthier alternative for type 2 diabetes patients because it contains beta-glucan, a soluble fiber that reduces the absorption of carbohydrates and insulin in the gut, this ensures the supply of sugar into the bloodstream is slower and steadier.

7. Promotes weight loss

Weight loss experts have encouraged people seeking to lose weight to incorporate oat and its products like oat milk into their diets. The presence of fiber causes a feeling of fullness that can discourage overeating. This feeling also reduces the chances of unnecessary cravings and helps lead to weight loss as you reduce the caloric intake with energy output.

8. Promotes  gut health

Dietary soluble fiber, beta-glucan, contained in oat milk is good for gut health as it forms a gel-like substance in the gut that aids digestion and eases the passage of stool through the intestines.

9. Healthier skin

Oat milk is added to various skincare products and incorporated into natural body care therapies. Oat milk has been proven to be very much beneficial for skin health. Consistent intake of oat milk in your diet leads to visibly healthier and better skin due to the presence of high amounts of Vitamin B such as B12 and riboflavin.

Oat milk can be used on the hair, face, and skin to reduce skin damage. “Oats are used in skincare mainly for their moisturizing and anti-inflammatory properties,” explains Dr. Shaaira Nasir, a dermatologist at skin clinics. People with dry skin, inflammatory skin conditions, or allergic reactions can use oat milk products as a treatment due to their anti-inflammatory and moisturizing properties.

10. Promotes healthy bones and teeth

Commercially made oat milk is often fortified with calcium and vitamin D, which are great nutrients for healthy bones and teeth. Calcium is the essential mineral used in the formation of bones; it, therefore, plays an important role in the formation of strong and healthy. Deficiency in calcium leads to weak, soft bones and a health condition called Scurvy. A person is also more likely to fracture or break the bone if calcium is deficient.

The intake of adequate vitamin D aids the absorption of calcium from your digestive tract. Commercial Oat milk is fortified with vitamin B12 which studies have shown its link to promoting healthy bones and lowering the chances of developing osteoporosis (porous bones), particularly in postmenopausal women.

Also, minerals such as potassium, magnesium, and zinc are used to further fortify oat milk and are important micronutrients for strengthening and healthy bone formation.

Potential downsides?

While oat milk has several possible health benefits, it also comes up with some downsides.

  • Extra sugar in diet due to extra flavoring or sweeteners
  • Commercial products may be contaminated with gluten products which may cause digestive problems for people with gluten-related disorders.
  • Off the shelves, oat milk may also contain several additives and preservatives.
  • Contains less protein than its dairy milk
  • It is not an alternative for breast milk or growing children.
  • More expensive than dairy milk
  • May cause stomach upset and diarrhea for people not used to consuming fiber

How to make oat milk at home

Oat milk is quite easy and cheaper to make at home than commercial options. It is a great homemade option as you can customize it to suit your tastes, preventing the use of other artificial additives found in store-bought products.

If you are gluten intolerant, you can also make sure the oats used are gluten-free.

Ingredients

Oat Milk Base Recipe

  • Rolled oats
  • Water
  • Salt

Optional ingredients

For Sweetened Oat milk

  • Whole dates, pitted
  • Honey
  • Maple syrup
  • Vanilla extract
  • Molasses

For Chocolate Milk

  • Cocoa powder

To make oat milk at home,

  1. Add desired quantity of rolled or steel-cut oats into a high-speed blender. Add water (any flavored oat milk add-ins) and blend for 30 seconds. Do not over-blend as it can make the oat milk slimy in texture, so it doesn’t have to be 100% pulverized.
  2. Use a large bowl or pitcher. Place a clean cheesecloth, a thin kitchen towel, or tee-shirt over it. Pour the mixture over the filter to separate the milk from other residues. Filter twice to remove excess oat pulp and obtain an extra smooth and creamy product.
  3. Carefully lift the ends of the cloth to form a sac, and gently squeeze any remaining liquid into the bowl.
  4. Transfer the milk into suitable containers and refrigerate. It can stay fresh for 5 days if refrigerated properly. Shake well and serve cold
  5. Do not heat the milk to avoid getting gravy consistency
  6. Use cold water, do not soak oats beforehand, or blend for more than 30 seconds, and do not squeeze the filter too hard to avoid a slimy milk
  7. Customize as preferred to enhance the flavor, add the optional ingredients before blending.

Summary

Oat milk provides a lot of health benefits and is one of the best non-dairy alternatives to cow’s milk. Plant-based foods contain fewer fats and it is suitable for people who are allergic to or intolerant of dairy and people who follow a plant-based or vegan diet.

It is a good source of essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals including protein, fiber, calcium, and riboflavin. Although it has minimal risk factors, oat milk is one of the most advocated, beneficial, and well-liked dairy-free beverages and has seen a significant surge in popularity.

To reduce excess sugar intake, choose unsweetened products or make your own at home to enjoy their flavor and health advantages.

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