Oat milk and its health benefits and side effects

Know in one minute about oat milk

  • Oat milk is plant-based lactose, gluten, soy, or nut-free and the choice for vegans.
  • This milk is free from cow’s milk protein and many allergens or irritants.
  • The flavor of this milk is mild, usually oatmeal-like, and creamy texture.
  • It is a good source of carbohydrates, minerals, and vitamins.
  • Beta-glucan found of this milk helps to treat diabetes, obesity, cancer, neurodegenerative disease, and eczema.
  • Oat milk is effective for digestion, lowers cholesterol levels.

Introduction

Oat is becoming popular due to the presence of phytochemicals, dietary fiber (β-glucan), functional protein, starch, and lipid components. Oat milk is nutritious, ready-to-use, lactose, and nut allergy-free milk.

It has a mild, creamy texture and an as usual oatmeal-like flavor. It is often available in various flavor varieties like sweetened, unsweetened, cocoa or cacao powder, vanilla, or chocolate or berries.

Commercially, this milk is available under brand names Oatly (Sweden), Pureharvest (Australia), Alpro (UK), Bioavena drink (Italy), Simpli (Finland), Pacific (USA), etc (1).

How to extract

This milk is made by soaking, blending oats with water at a high speed, and then straining to separate the milk from the oats. It’s often enriched with nutrients, additional preservatives, or sweeteners and naturally free of many allergens or irritants.

Nutritional value of oat milk

According to USDA, oat milk is an excellent source of carbohydrates, fiber, protein, calcium, sodium, potassium, vitamin A, D, and other components as follows (2).

CompoundAmounts per 100 g.
Energy 38 kcal
Protein 1.25 g
Total lipid (fat) 0.42 g
Carbohydrate, by a difference6.67 g
Fiber, total dietary 0.8 g
Sugar2.92 g
Calcium146 mg
Iron, Fe 0.15 mg
Potassium 162 mg
Sodium  42 mg
Riboflavin0.25 mg
Vitamin B-120.5 µg 
Vitamin A125 IU
Vitamin D33 IU
Fatty acids, total saturated 0.67 g
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated 0 g
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated 0 g

Benefits of oat milk

Oats possess various health benefits; let’s take a look at some of these properties

1. Lactose and allergy-free milk

Oat milk does not contain allergens and a good option for the person who has trouble digesting lactose. Thus, it is an appropriate choice for adults with nuts or any other allergies (3).

2. Manage diabetes

It contains soluble fibers such as beta-glucan that interact with water and forms a gel.

This gel delays the stomach emptying times, slows down passage and absorption of glucose. Thus, intake of this milk helps to lower blood glucose levels (3).

3. Treat obesity

Beta-glucan found in oats helps to increase the viscosity of food by its water-holding capacity. This results in the longer intestinal stay of food and slows the absorption of nutrients like carbohydrates and lipids. Thus, intake of oat milk controls the appetite and increases satiety (4).

4. Presence of antioxidants

It is rich in phenolic compounds, avenanthramides, saponins, phytic acid, and sterols. These bioactive compounds can act as an antioxidant, have high nutritional levels and protect from various diseases.

5. Treat cancer

The presence of dietary fiber like beta-glucan in oat milk is effective against cancer. It helps to reduce compounds that are the causative agents of colon and thyroid cancer (5)

6. Improve digestion

Oat milk contains soluble and insoluble fiber that acts as a prebiotic and helps to produce good bacteria in the gut (6).

This milk is effective for cramping, stomach pain, bloating, gas, and diarrhea, or constipation. Furthermore, it is also useful to treat swelling in the digestive tract thus improving the digestive system (3).

7. Good for people who are suffering from different diseases

Oat milk is recommended dairy milk substitute for people, who suffer from neurodegenerative disease, eczema, and possibly other conditions (8).

8. Lower cholesterol level

A research study suggested that one liter of oat milk will supply a total of 6.6 g of fiber, whereof 4.5 g is beta-glucan. This insoluble fiber is bound to the gut and reduces cholesterol absorption (9)

Moreover, intake of this milk also replaces saturated fat and cholesterol with unsaturated fat which has a cholesterol-reducing effect (1011).

9. It May be useful as a cow substitute

It can be used to produce fermented milk products such as yogurts, kefir, prebiotics, and probiotics. It is also a viable substitute for cow’s milk while retaining its characteristic nutrient content.

Side effects of oat milk

1. Not as nutritious as the whole oat

Oats are a nutritious food, but drinking oat milk shouldn’t be as nutritious as whole oats.   Some of the nutrients are lost in the processing and storage of oat milk. Therefore, oat milk to be fortified with nutrients like calcium, potassium, iron, and vitamins A, B12, and D3 (8).

2. Presence of less amount of calcium

Oat milk contains very little amount of calcium that is essential for growth and development.

Thus, it needs to be fortified before its consumption as a milk alternative (9).

3. High carbohydrate content

It is rich in carbohydrate which breaks down into sugars that increase glucose and insulin level in the blood.   Thus intake of this milk regularly for individuals with diabetes may be a concern.

4. Risk of contamination

A research study suggested that oat milk is most susceptible to contamination by mycotoxins. Thus precaution should be needed before consumption because oat milk is most susceptible to contamination than other plant-based milk (10).

5. Presence of anti-nutrients

Oat contains a significant amount of anti-nutrient like phytic acid, which interferes hamper some nutrients absorption like zinc and iron (11).

6. Allergy to oats

A person who has an allergy or intolerance to oats should also avoid oat milk. Moreover, anyone who has celiac disease makes sure to buy oat milk that’s labeled gluten-free. 

7. Form gel

Oat contains a high amount of starch (55–60 %). This starch can form a gel at the temperature (44.7–73.7 °C).

After the application of heat, the starch begins to gelatinize and liquid milk tends to attain a gel-like consistency. This high viscosity is leading to its lower acceptability (9).

1 COMMENT

  1. […] Oats knew as Avena sativa L. a solution for those who have a problem with gluten. It is an intact, ground, cracked, or flaked kernel having both whole grains and fiber. Oats are known since the nineteenth century but the health benefits of beta-glucan in oats are unraveled in the late 1960s. Oats benefits and side effects are as follows. […]

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