Oats is one of the best and wholesome grains available to us. A direct plant-based product; oats is rich in fibre, protein, vitamins, and minerals and is good for protecting your heart health.
Oat milk, made from grinding oats and water (some pre-soak it while some don’t) is also a non-diary, healthy, vegan substitute for regular, cow’s milk but not as healthy as having oats as it is. You can either buy the best of the unprocessed, hand-rolled oats from the market and make the milk yourself and have it unsweetened.
What is store-bought oat milk?
A number of vitamins and minerals are added to processed oat milk that is fortified with all vitamins and minerals and comes in cartons made available on the supermarket shelves. Beta-glucan is a soluble fibre that binds with the LDL cholesterol in the blood and prevents it from absorption in the bloodstream. On an average, one cup of oat milk has 1.3 gm of beta-glucan.
Calcium and B12 provide strength for the bones and Vitamin D is good for the absorption of calcium from the digestive tract. Oat milk is also free of allergens and irritants. If you use a gluten-free variety it is even suitable for those allergic to gluten.
Look out for added sugar as most brands promote sweetened oat milk.
Oat for other milks?
Cow’s milk has more proteins and keeps you fuller for a longer time since the absorption and digestion process is slowed down. In comparison with almond milk, oat milk has slightly more calories. Though almond milk is rich in Vitamin E, oat milk is richer in Vitamin B and probiotics. Oat milk has very little fat.
1 cup of oat milk has 130 calories, 2.5g total fat, 0g saturated fats, 2 grams fiber, 4 grams protein, 35 percent of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for calcium, and 25 percent for vitamin D that boosts your immunity. It has the rarest of minerals such as thiamine and folate, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, zinc, and copper. It is rich in iron and thus found to cure anemia.
Is it an energizer?
Oat milk is a good, high-calorie drink that is rich in carbohydrates. Having oat milk regularly does not add to many health benefits. The quantity must be directly linked to the intensity of activity done throughout the day. Some of its fiber richness is lost when it is blended. Though naturally gluten-free, cross-contamination in the manufacturing units add gluten to oats when it is processed. It is certainly not a weight loss ingredient as it is advertised to be.
Oat milk is a preferred alternative for people abroad. The retail sales figures have gone up from $4.4 million in 2017 to $29 million in the United States in 2017. It is naturally delicious, creamy and has a hint of sweetness. It is an eco-friendlier crop to cultivate than almonds. It has a consistency similar to that of cow’s milk. Its versatility is its strength. It can be used in lattes, cappuccinos, soups, breakfast bowls, and baked foods and also to your regular beverages.
How to choose
Go for the organic avoiding those that come with the pesticide and contaminated gluten. Most of them have the addition of rapeseed or canola oil that has inflammatory properties. Because of its own gluten-free nature oats can also cause inflammation. It is best to make your own batch.
DIY your own
Add 1 cup of oats and 3 cups of water and a pinch of salt to the blender. Blend and pour it over a cheesecloth to separate the mashed grains and milk. Store it in bottles in the refrigerator for up to five days. You can add a pinch of cinnamon or vanilla or maple syrup to flavor the milk.
Vijayalakshmi Sridhar’s stories explore human relationships and their dynamics. She is enjoying her journey as a writer of fiction and features.