Oats are one of nature’s superfoods. Cereal with a thousand and one uses, oats can be consumed raw, cooked or mixed with other foods for a nutritious meal. First farmed in the bronze age in mainland Europe, oat milk has quickly become part of the staple diet of many nations but are easily overlooked for their health benefits that include lowering cholesterol, providing a natural source of fiber and serving up an alternative to wheat for those with coeliac disease.
Oat milk is a vegan alternative to cow’s milk, which has enjoyed great popularity lately. A staple of current plant based diets, it is made by mixing a cup of soaked old-fashioned oatmeal in a blender with about three cups of water and then pouring the liquid through cheesecloth to remove the milk. Depending on which oatmeal recipe you use, you can add cinnamon, vanilla, dates or other natural sweeteners to enhance the taste. Thanks to its growing popularity, oat milk is now prefabricated in many grocery stores and health food stores.
This milk variant contains a surprising amount of nutrients, including dietary fiber, calcium, vitamin A and iron. Oat milk contains twice as much vitamin A as cow’s milk and about 10% of daily iron intake. This type of milk also has a much lower fat content and contains no cholesterol. This suggests that this milk is actually a healthier option than cow’s milk. It also contains about 1 gram of protein and 130 calories per cup.
Oatmeal is made from steel cut oats (or whole oatmeal) mixed with water. It is then sieved to obtain a smooth, creamy liquid. You can buy it premade (Oatly, Elmhurst, and Pacific are popular picks) or make it yourself. Like with all non-dairy milk, be sure to read the label before you purchase. Some brands boost their oat milk with extra vitamins and minerals (like calcium and vitamin D), while others add sweeteners or flavors. It’s a good non-dairy option for anyone with a nut allergy or gluten sensitivity; Just make sure that the label states that the oats were processed in a gluten-free facility as some oats are processed on the same machines that process wheat.
Because oats absorb water so well (hello, oatmeal) oat milk is typically pretty dense with the nutrients oats already have, including fiber, protein, and iron. Compared with other non-dairy milk—soy, nut milk, rice, hemp—only soy is higher in protein. One study in men with high cholesterol also suggests that regular consumption of oat milk may help to lower elevated cholesterol levels, following an earlier small study of healthy men and women which found similar results.
Oat milk has a naturally sweet taste like almond milk and is thin, much like skim milk. Like other nut milk, it is usually available in a variety of flavors, e.g. Chocolate or coffee. However, it is also possible to opt for unsweetened and non-flavored varieties.
Nutrition wise, oat milk is higher in calories and carbohydrates than almond milk, but also contains more protein and fiber. Almond milk is often enriched with micronutrients such as vitamin D and calcium, much like oat types. However, there are some minor differences between the twoalmond milk which for example contains vitamin E, but is lower in riboflavin.
This milk variant is the best tasting milk alternative. Surprisingly, it tastes a lot like cow’s milk, but with a slightly, well, oat-y aftertaste. Oat milk is thicker and, by nature, sweeter than many non-dairy milk products (think about two percent between whole milk) but still light. It works well in your morning coffee and cereal up to most recipes, including soups, curries, mashed potatoes, and baked goods. Try using it in recipes that contain oats to really up the oat flavor, like this savory pepper shrimp with pecorino oats, honey-oat quick bread, or (of course) in chocolate chip oatmeal cookies or just make a bowl of oatmeal if you are in a hurry.
Besides the fact that it sounds fancy, oat milk has several key things that make it better than other alternatives;
If you’re ready to give it a try, you can buy oat milk online or in many grocery stores, or ask for it in your next latte at a coffee shop. Not only does this milk have some impressive nutrients, but it also has a direct impact on your overall health. These include protecting the heart, strengthening the immune system, preventing chronic diseases, increasing bone strength and improving eyesight.
What are your thoughts? Have you tried oat milk? What are your favorite ways to use it? Tell us in the comments section below.
Looking for more ways to stay healthy? Check out our healthy living section.