If you have been in a coffee shop recently, chances are you’ve heard someone ask for oat milk. Like almond, soy, hemp, cashew, and coconut milks, oat milk is another dairy alternative that is currently having its moment in the spotlight. Oat milk boasts many of the benefits of these other milks but comes with a few perks of its own.
Oats contain a specific soluble fiber called beta glucan, which has been shown to reduce bad LDL cholesterol levels. It is this fiber that gives Cheerios their heart healthy claim to fame. Luckily, you don’t have to eat the whole oat to reap the benefits of beta glucan, this soluble fiber is maintained when oats are processed into a milk. In as little as 5-weeks of drinking oat milk, one can experience a reduction in LDL and total cholesterol (Onning et al., 1999).
Like dairy and non-dairy milk options, oat milk is fortified with essential vitamins and minerals. My favorite brand, Oatly, is bolstered with immune boosting vitamins A, D, B12, and iron. These vitamins and minerals are known to support proper immune function and help the body fight infection. Additionally, beta glucan, which is most known for its cholesterol lowering properties, is also capable of fighting off viruses.
Like every nutrition fad, oat milk is not 100% perfect. It should be kept in mind that commercially prepared oat milk may contain added sugars, fillers, and emulsifiers. Brands that I trust include Oatly, Elmhurst and Pacific. One way to be safe 100% of the time is to make it at home!
1 cup gluten free rolled oats
3 cups water
1 pinch himalayan pink salt
Blend on high for just under 1 minute, be careful not to over blend.
Over a large bowl or pitcher, strain the mixture through a cheesecloth. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 7 days.
Onning, G., Wallmark, A., Persson, M., Akesson, B., and Oste, R. (1999). Consumption of oat milk for 5 weeks lowers serum cholesterol and LDL cholesterol in free-living men with moderate hypercholesterolemia. Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism, 43. 301-309. DOI: 10.1159/000012798