Lately, oat milk has been a rising star. It has a creamy and rich consistency which is perfect for your daily concoctions such as coffee and tea. However, there are pros that still argue whether oat milk is good for your health. Basically, oat milk is less nutritionally balanced compared to almond, hemp and coconut milk because of their protein variety, brain-boosting healthy fats, and minerals. On the other hand, oat milk does have their own unique benefits and is one of the more delicious plant-based options that you can use to replace cow’s milk.
What is oat milk?
Oat milk is a vegan alternative that you can use to cow’s milk. Basically, it’s made by blending a cup of soaked, old-fashioned rolled oats in a blender with three cups of water. Then, the liquid is poured through a cheesecloth to separate the milk. Other kinds of oat milk have cinnamon, dates, vanilla, or any other natural sweeteners to enhance its flavor.
Oat milk is also ideal for those with dietary restrictions and allergy because it’s naturally free of dairy, soy, lactose, nuts, and gluten. Oat milk is also now available pre-made in grocery stores and health food markets. Because of the growth of sales, manufacturers often add extra vitamins and minerals to enrich the product such as vitamin A, calcium riboflavin and vitamin D.
You have to take note that commercial varieties will differ in added ingredients. Also, keep in mind that homemade oat milk will also differ slightly in micronutrients compared to manufactured ones.
What are the health benefits of oat milk?
- Prevents Anemia – Anemia is a condition characterized by lack of red blood cells in the body which may cause symptoms like fatigue, pale skin, and dizziness. Those who are on a vegetarian or vegan diet are mostly at a higher risk of anemia because plant-based foods lack in these important micronutrients. A cup of oat milk contains an approximate amount of 10% of the iron you need in an entire day, making it a naturally good source of iron.
- Strengthens Bones – 99% of the calcium in your body is found in your bones. It is used to regulate bone development and maintenance. Commercial oat milk is often enriched with both calcium and vitamin D which are two of the most important micronutrients that play a huge role in bone health.
- Lowers Cholesterol Levels – Oats are well-known for their heart-healthy benefits. Not only that, but it’s also good in keeping your cholesterol levels in check.
- Boosts Immunity – Commercial oats are usually rich in vitamin D and vitamin A which is directly linked to the immune system enhancing benefits. There are also studies that show that vitamin D deficiency is associated with a higher risk of autoimmune conditions like type 1 diabetes, Crohn’s disease, and multiple sclerosis.
What are the cons of drinking oat milk?
Even though there are lots of potential health benefits, just like any other milk that’s available in the market, there are still dangers that need to be considered.
In choosing or buying your oat milk, you might want to choose the best commercial variety. If it’s pumped with additives, preservatives, and sugars, it can diminish its health-promoting properties. Manufactured oat milk often contain emulsifiers that can impact digestive health. You also have to take note that even if oats are naturally gluten-free, the oat milk itself is processed in facilities that also process gluten-containing grains like wheat or barley and may cause cross-contamination.
Personally, I love switching up my vegan milk options depending on what I feel like drinking that day. I also find that these milk alternatives taste better with certain types of drinks but not all! Bottom line, it’s your choice to figure out what works best for you. All you have to do is consider the pros and cons (or taste!).