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Oat milk is a plant-based milk alternative to animal's milk that is gaining popularity due to its delicious flavour and nutrient profile. Oat milk is an ideal choice for vegans and people with allergies or gluten intolerances.
What Is Oat Milk?
Oat milk is a dairy-free, vegan alternative to cow's milk. It is made by soaking steel-cut oats or rolled oats in water and then blending with water. After which, the liquid is strained through a cheesecloth, resulting in a heavy, foamy type of milk  .
As oat milk is made from strained oats, you will miss out a lot of nutrients that you would normally find in oats. That's why commercially sold oat milk is fortified with vitamin A, vitamin D, riboflavin, calcium, iron and potassium.
Oat milk also contains beta-glucan (a soluble fibre), protein and has a low saturated fat content. Oat milk is free of allergens found in other types of milk which makes it more unique.
Health Benefits Of Oat Milk
1. Lowers cholesterol levels
Oat milk contains beta-glucan which helps keep your heart healthy by keeping your cholesterol levels in check. A study published in the Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism found that men with high cholesterol who drank oat milk for five weeks had a significant reduction in LDL (bad) cholesterol levels . Other noted studies also reported that oat milk was effective in lowering cholesterol levels in healthy subjects  .
2. Boosts bone health
Oat milk is fortified with calcium and vitamin D, the two essential nutrients that help in building strong, dense bones. Calcium is needed for maintaining strong and healthy bones and increasing its intake lowers the risk of bone fracture. And vitamin D works by enhancing the absorption of calcium to boost bone health even more. Calcium and vitamin D are linked to healthy bones and reduces osteoporosis risk  .
3. Stabilises blood sugar levels
Oat milk can be beneficial for people with diabetes. Studies have shown that beta-glucans are potentially beneficial in the treatment of diabetes and its associated cardiovascular risks . Drinking oat milk can decrease blood sugar levels in diabetic patients .
4. May aid weight loss
The beta-glucans in oat milk can help slow digestion and keep you feeling full for longer. This might help you eat less, which could make you lose weight. Many studies have shown that soluble fibre could aid in long-term weight management .
5. Strengthens immunity
As oat milk is a great source of vitamin A and vitamin D, consuming it can help boost your immunity and ward off infections. Many studies have shown the link between vitamin A, D and immune function  .
6. It is lactose-free
Oat milk is vegan and free of nuts, soy and lactose which makes it a good option for those with dietary restrictions. People with gluten intolerance or celiac disease and those who are lactose intolerant can benefit from drinking oat milk.
Side Effects Of Oat Milk
Commercially sold oat milk is high in preservatives, additives and high in sugar especially if they are flavoured or sweetened. So, it's best to buy unsweetened oat milk.
Along with the added vitamins and minerals in oat milk, it also contains thickeners and emulsifiers that can impact digestive health and could alter the gut microbiome.
Also, oats are naturally free of gluten; however, they can be processed in the same factories as other gluten-containing grains which may contaminate the oats. So, always choose certified gluten-free oat milk to avoid contamination.
You can also make your own homemade oat milk to avoid thickeners and emulsifiers found in commercial oat milk. However, the homemade variety may not provide the necessary vitamins and minerals as the store-bought fortified oat milk.
How To Make Homemade Oat Milk?
- Soak 1 cup of rolled or steel-cut oats in water.
- Blend the oats with 3 cups of water.
- Pour the liquid over the cheesecloth to separate the milk from the oats.
- You can add vanilla, cinnamon, or honey to enhance its flavour (optional).
- You can keep it in the refrigerator for up to five days.
Oat Milk Recipe
Vanilla oat milk tapioca pudding
- 4 cups unflavoured or unsweetened oat milk
- 1 small vanilla bean
- 100 g small tapioca pearls
- 100 g unrefined sugar
- ¼ tsp salt
- Pour the milk in a pan and split the vanilla bean lengthwise, scrape the seeds and add the bean and seeds to the milk.
- Simmer the milk and add the tapioca into the milk. Stir it and cook for 15 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and add sugar and salt. Allow it to cool and enjoy your pudding .