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What is Oat Milk?

What is Oat Milk?
Many naturopaths and dieticians recommend oat milk as an alternative to dairy milk for lactose intolerant persons, vegans and others who wish to avoid dairy products. What is oat milk and why is it considered to be a healthy alternative?

What is Oat Milk?

As the name implies, oat milk is a beverage made from whole oats. It is said to have a pleasant, slightly sweet taste and a milky consistency. Oat milk is commercially available from many health food stores or you can easily make your own at home. A common cereal grain, oats are well known for their nutritional value and often constitute the main ingredient in muesli and other healthy breakfast cereals.

One of the advantages of oats over other grains is that it is the only grain to contain high levels of protein similar to those found in legumes. Studies have shown that oats have a protein quality similar to that found in soy beans, which are often considered to be the best protein source for vegetarians. Some studies, too, suggest that some oat cultivars are safe for consumption in a gluten free diet and can be used as a substitute for wheat by individuals with celiac disease. It is recommended, though, that this only be done after consultation with a qualified health care practitioner or if an oat or oat milk product is specified "gluten free."

Aside from protein, oat milk is said to contain 10 essential minerals and 15 vitamins. A single glass of oat milk can contain up to 35% of the United States RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) of calcium, making it a particularly good milk substitute. Another benefit of oat milk is that it is a low fat alternative to milk, containing just 2.5 grams of fat and 0 grams of saturated fat per serving compared to milk's 8 grams of fat and 5 grams of saturated fat. It is also cholesterol free, whereas whole milk contains 24mg of cholesterol per serving.

How to Make Oat Milk

As if all its other benefits aren't enough, home made oat milk is much cheaper than dairy milk and other milk substitutes and very easy to make. Recipes vary, but basically all you need to do is bring 5 cups of water to a boil, add 1 cup of oats and simmer until cooked. Then pour the mixture into a blender and blend until smooth. Some users also recommend straining after blending to remove the lumps. Unused portions of oat milk can be stored in the fridge.

Commercially available oat milk, too, is very competitively priced and is now widely available in Australia. Many consumers who are wary of GM (Genetically Modified) products are switching to commercial oat milk made from non-GM oats. Healthy and delicious, why not try oat milk? You have nothing to lose except perhaps some unwanted kilos.

Topic: Nutrition

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