As veganism increases in popularity, so does the demand for plant-based alternatives. For a time, the most known alternatives were soy and almond milk. Nowadays, the variety in these plant ‘mylks’ has become endless with options such as cashew milk, hemp milk, flax milk, and oat milk. Oat milk has quickly become the new trend, renowned for its rich and creamy texture! It’s a welcome change to all the nut-based milks and is often well fortified with nutrients such as calcium (about which you can learn through our blog - A Vegan’s Guide To Calcium: Everything You Need To Know – Vegan Dukan), vitamin D, A and even B12. This article addresses the following topics about oat milk:
What is Oat Milk?
Oat milk refers to ‘milk’ that is made from steel-cut oats or whole groats. The oats are soaked in water, blended, and then strained using either a special nut milk bag or cheesecloth. Since oats have the tendency to absorb more water than nuts, when blended enough, more of the oats itself ends up going through the cheesecloth. As a result, oat milk usually has a much creamier and richer consistency than nut milk without having to add any extra thickeners. However, because most of the nutrients end up in the food itself rather than the strained liquid, many commercial oat milks are often fortified with additional nutrients such as calcium, vitamin A, D, and B12.
Oat Milk Nutrition
Oat milk is great for those who are lactose intolerant and for those who have an allergy to nuts. It’s also great for those who wish to reduce their consumption of saturated fats. One cup of oat milk contains:
- Calories: 130
- Total Fat: 2.5 g
- Saturated Fats: 0 g
- Fiber: 2 grams
- Protein: 4 grams
Many commercial oat milks are often fortified with added nutrients such as calcium and vitamin D. Furthermore, oats also contain trace amounts of the B vitamins thiamin and folate as well as minerals including magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, copper, and zinc along with many more vitamins and minerals.
Oat Milk vs Dairy
When compared to cow’s milk, oat milk is a cruelty-free and healthier option. While it may have a little less protein than cow’s milk or soy milk (you can read more about soy milk here), it still has more protein than other plant milks such as rice, coconut, and cashew. Moreover, oat milk is one of the most fibrous drinks when compared to cow’s milk, which, in fact, contains 0g of fiber. Fiber is beneficial for diabetes, heart health, weight-loss and maintaining healthy gut bacteria. It’s also an all-natural way to detox!
Oat milk, however, is often higher in carbohydrates, but it’s not something that you should view in a negative manner. In fact, it’s perfectly alright as these carbs provide energy and fiber instead of fat, which, more often than not, can be the case with many nut milks.
How To Drink Or Use Oat Milk
Due to the rich and creamy texture of oat milk, it works quite well when cooking or baking as it’s much easier to incorporate than almond milk. Oat milk such as Good Mylk’s Cashew Oat Mylk also works really well in lattes and cappuccinos due to its slightly sweet flavor. It’s also great for smoothies and creamy soups!
Oat milk can also be used in the same manner that you might use cow’s milk. For instance, it can be poured instead of cow’s milk with your morning bowl of cereal and it can also be used when making mashed potatoes or french toast. You can also use it for making sauces for pasta and it acts as a great substitute for milk in baking goodies such as muffins.
In addition, because high carb content, oat milk can provide a great energy boost thus making them great as a natural pre-workout. Simply add them to your smoothie, coffee or just drink it as is for an immediate boost in energy before your workout
Top 5 Surprising Oat Milk Benefits
- Oat Milk May Lower Cholesterol: Oat milk is a great source of beta-glucans, which is a soluble fiber that boasts many cardiovascular benefits. It forms a gel-like substance within your gut, which can stick to cholesterol and decrease its absorption. As a result, it may help decrease blood cholesterol levels, especially LDL cholesterol, which has long been associated with heart disease. In fact, one study found that over the course of five weeks, men who drank about 750 ml of oat milk every day experienced a decrease of 3 percent in total blood cholesterol and 5 percent in LDL. Another study also reported an average daily intake of 3 grams of oat beta-glucans lowered LDL blood cholesterol by approximately 5 to 7 percent.
- Oat Milk May Be Beneficial For Weight Loss: Oat milk is quite rich in fiber. As a result, it can fill you up quite quickly. Not only does it mean that it will help you fulfill your daily fiber requirements, but fiber may also help you become slimmer. A study published in the Annal of Internal Medicine found that upping your daily fiber intake may promote weight loss while other studies have discovered a strong link between low-fiber diets and a high body mass index (BMI). A high-fiber intake helps with satiety thus helping you to better control your appetite, which in turn makes it easier to stay true to your diet and reduce your portions. Thus, drinking a glass of oat milk between meals or when you’re feeling hungry can help you stave off any unnecessary snacking in order to meet your weight-loss goals.
- Oat Milk Helps Prevent Anemia: Consuming an unbalanced diet may lead to increased risk for anemia, an illness that develops because of a lack of red blood cells. It’s often due to the fact that some foods may lack the essential micronutrients that prevent this condition. It’s preventable by consuming enough iron for your body. Since one cup of oat milk contains around 10 percent of your daily requirement for iron, it makes for a great way to ensure you fulfill your daily iron requirements and reduce the likelihood of getting anemia.
- Oat Milk Helps Keep Your Bones Healthy: Many commercial oat milks are often fortified with calcium and vitamin D, both of which are crucial for healthy bones. A lack of calcium may result in hollow and brittle bones thus increasing the likelihood of fractures and break and may lead to osteoporosis. Similarly, obtaining an adequate amount of vitamin D is equally important as this particular vitamin helps your body absorb calcium from your digestive tract. Having insufficient amounts of vitamin D may prevent your body from obtaining enough calcium, thus weakening bone health and leading to more serious conditions such as osteoporosis. Check out our calcium blog to learn more about plant-based calcium!
- Oat Milk Helps Boost Immunity: Fortified oat milks, also have a high vitamin composition which can also fortify your immune system. A study from the US National Library of Medicine revealed that obtaining sufficient amounts of vitamins A and D can help fend off various illnesses and infections. It has also been reported to prevent the development of more dire health conditions such as Crohn’s disease and type 1 diabetes.
Oat Milk Recipe
Making oat milk is a fairly simple and cost-efficient process. It enables you to customize it to your own liking. The only downside is the fact that DIY oat milk won’t be fortified with any additional nutrients. But that shouldn’t stop you from trying it out for yourself! Here are a few reasons why you should try to make oat milk at home:
- Oat milk is free of dairy, soy, nuts, and gluten (if you’re using certified gluten-free oats)
- Oat milk is the cheapest plant-based dairy alternative
- Oat milk is completely hassle-free and only requires two ingredients - oats and water!
- Oat milk is extremely easy to blend and doesn’t require any fancy blender
- It produces little to no waste unlike other plant-based milk such as almond milk
Here’s all you need to know about how to make oat milk within the comforts of your home:
The first step to making oat milk is a little ambiguous. The standard method is to soak the oats for, at least, 15 to 30 minutes. However, there have been numerous complaints saying that doing so makes the milk a little slimy. Thus, in order to reduce the sliminess, it’s best to forego the soaking and simply rinse 1 cup of rolled oats (again, this helps keep the sliminess at bay and gives your oats a nice clean flavour). Add the rinsed oats, a pinch of salt and 3 to 4 cups (750 ml to 1 liter) of water into a blender. Then, blend until smooth, which typically takes around a minute. Once smooth, strain the mixture using a cheesecloth, nut milk bag, clean t-shirt or towel. Strain once more to ensure that it’s free of all sliminess and any stray pieces of oats. For the best taste, chill before serving. And there you have it, you’ve just made oat milk! You can, of course, jazz it up by adding sweeteners such as agave or maple syrup, cane sugar, coconut sugar, stevia and other flavourings including vanilla extract, cocoa powder, dates or fresh berries. You may also try out the soaked oats method in order to determine for yourself which method you prefer.
Since your oat milk does not contain any preservatives like that of commercial oat milk, it’s likely that it will curdle over a period of time. Typically, your oat milk should last for a few days in the refrigerator. The exact number of these days may vary thus a good method of checking whether it has gone bad to just give it a sniff before using the milk as it will smell a little funny if it has curdled.
Oat milk is a nutritious and cruelty-free alternative to dairy. While it may not be as protein-rich as other plant-based milks, it’s one of the most fibrous milks, which may help you achieve your weight loss goals. The beverage also boasts numerous health benefits such as lowering cholesterol, reducing the risk of anemia, maintaining healthy bones and improving immunity. It’s creamy texture and ease of incorporation into foods makes it an excellent substitute for cow’s milk while cooking or making. It also acts as a great pre-workout drink due to its energy-boosting carb content. In addition, oat milk is one of the cheapest and hassle-free milks that you can make with ease at your own home! Thus, it’s no wonder that this plant-based milk is quickly gaining in popularity!