Milk alternatives are invading the dairy aisle and seem to be the norm today. This may have begun as a lactose-free swap, but the rise in variety and popularity of non-dairy milk is for more than just vegans and those following a dairy-free diet.
The newest addition to the trend is oat milk, which seems to be all over social media and stocked at every neighborhood coffee shop overnight. At Parsley Health, we’re not ones to dive into every new wellness trend, but after learning more, oat milk has our stamp of approval.
Read more about why oat milk is a healthy dairy alternative, and how you can make your own at home.
Should you avoid dairy?
The short answer: not necessarily.
The longer story is: not everyone needs to completely stay away from dairy. Some people have no trouble digesting it and can include it as a part of a healthy diet. Others may have a sensitivity to dairy and experience negative side effects. These symptoms can range from digestive troubles including constipation, gas, bloating and cramps, to acne, sinus issues, and even hives. However, for those who are truly intolerant to dairy, consumption can create heartburn, joint inflammation, and may worsen symptoms of IBS.
Just because you experience some of these issues doesn’t necessarily mean you have a dairy allergy. It’s best to work with a doctor trained in nutrition to help you rule out any other possible factors and manage diet and lifestyle changes.
Health benefits of oat milk.
Oat milk is a great option for dairy-free, gluten-free and nut-free diets. (Just be sure to use gluten-free oats.) It’s also easy to make, affordable, and tastes delicious!
Below are some of the important health benefits that make this dairy free milk a great alternative.
Lowers LDL Cholesterol Levels
Studies show that when compared to dairy or soy milk, oat milk can help to reduce LDL cholesterol levels. As compared with other milks, oat milk has a higher content of beta-glucans, a complex carbohydrate that may help reduce plasma cholesterol and overall LDL cholesterol levels.
High in Vitamin A
Oat milk contains, on average, 10% of the recommended daily allowance of Vitamin A, which is twice as much as dairy milk. Vitamin A has an important role in the normal formation and maintenance of the heart, lungs, kidneys and other vital organs. It’s critical for good vision, and also happens to be an antioxidant. Like all antioxidants, it reduces inflammation by fighting free radical damage.
The benefits of oat milk go beyond vitamins and minerals. This dairy alternative is a source of two unique phytochemicals, specifically, avenanthramides and avenacosides A and B. These bioactive substances may be supportive of strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects in the body.
Bonus: Oats requires six times less water to grow than almonds, making oat milk an environmentally sensitive lactose-free choice.In fact, an oat crop can flourish with much less water than most other crops, and supports sustainability in many ways.
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How to Use Oat Milk
Oat milk can be used in most recipes that call for a non-dairy milk (such as almond milk, cashew milk, hemp milk, etc). Some of our favorite recipes to use oat milk include our Cherry Crunch Cacao Smoothie, this cozy Vanilla Chia Seed Pudding, or adding a splash to our Vegan Morning Glory Coffee.
Homemade oat milk recipe.
- 1 cup of gluten-free whole grain rolled oats
- 4 cups of water (use 1 cup less for creamier milk)
- pinch of salt
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract (or 1 vanilla bean)
- Optional: 4 soaked dates (or 1-2 tablespoons of sweetener of your choice)
- Pour oats, water, salt, vanilla and optionally, dates, into a blender and blend on high until smooth.
- Strain the oat milk by pouring it through a nutmilk bag or cheesecloth into a jar or pitcher.
- If you are using a liquid sweetener, add it into the jar/pitcher of oat milk and lightly mix.
- Refrigerate until cool.
Note: Homemade oat milk should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, and will keep for up to 4 days. The water and oats will separate once settled, so just give it a quick stir before each use.