Is Oat Milk Good for You?
When the popularity of Nut Milk started to surge in the early 2010s, Oat Milk wasn’t far behind. While Almond Milk rightly gets the praise for initially driving Plant-Based Milk beyond the previously market-leading soy and rice milk options, Oat Milk is one of the most popular dairy milk alternatives available today.
Indeed, it seems that oats have always been destined for greatness, or at least for fame far beyond merely being a breakfast staple! Here are some interesting facts to whet your appetite for Oat Milk:
- Oats first came to North America from Europe on wooden ships. Their success in northerly climates, as found in Russia and Scandinavia, made them a hardy fixture of the Great Plains and Canadian prairie.
- In Scotland, farmers traditionally fertilized oats using smoked straw from their cottages’ thatched roofs to enhance their vitamin and mineral content. Distinguished doctor Sir James Crichton-Browne believed that “such food made men strong like horses, and purged the brain of pedantry.”
- Due to their natural anti-itching properties, oats are used in the cosmetic industry to produce a variety of products, such as Aveeno’s lotions (avena is the botanical name for oats).
- Only 5% of oats grown worldwide are consumed by humans; the majority are fed to horses.
OAT MILK NUTRITION: IS OAT MILK GOOD FOR YOU?
It is if you buy it from Elmhurst! Oat Milk is a nut, soy, and dairy-free beverage, making it an exceptional choice if you have a lactose intolerance or are following specific dietary restrictions for whatever reason.
And when you buy it from Elmhurst, you’ll find only natural ingredients and no unnecessary nasties like thickeners or gums.
We’ve taken a look at the nutritional values of leading brands’ Oat Milk so you don’t have to. Here’s how the rest of the market measures up to Elmhurst per 8fl oz serving:
- Unsweetened: Other brands’ typical range - 80-100 kcal / Elmhurst: 100 kcal
- Sweetened: Other brands’ typical range - 90-130 kcal / Elmhurst: 100 kcal
- Other brands’ Oat Milk can have anything from 1.5 to 7g fat, predominantly monounsaturated / Elmhurst: 1.5 - 2.5g, depending on the variety
- Unsweetened: Other brands’ typical range - 9-14g carbs / Elmhurst: 17g
- Sweetened: Other brands’ typical range 14-25g carbs / Elmhurst: 18g
- Other brands’ Oat Milk typically contains 1-4g protein / Elmhurst: 3-4g
WHY IS THERE SUCH A DIFFERENCE IN NUTRITIONAL VALUE?
The main reason is how different brands produce their Oat Milk. Turning oats into creamy milk typically involves soaking and blending steel cut or rolled oats with water, finished with straining any leftover granular pieces to ensure a smooth product. While well-intentioned, this last step also results in the disposal of many of the oats’ resident nutrients.
So what do brands do?
They add sugar, thickening agents like starches and gums, and oils to get the flavor and texture they want. Plus, to give their Oat Milk some nutritional value, they’ll add synthetic versions of essential vitamins.
HOW ELMHURST DOES OAT MILK DIFFERENTLY
At Elmhurst, we believe nature is always sufficient to provide everything we need to thrive. Our patented HydroRelease™ Method allows us to turn oats into a thick, tasty, creamy milk while retaining as much of their nutritional value as possible.
We don’t need to add anything else because the natural sweetness and creaminess of the oats themselves are all still there! So you get up to 20g of whole grain oats per serving, and all of the calories and other nutritional markers come from our natural ingredients.
The end result?
Our Unsweetened Oat Milk is made with just three ingredients (filtered water, whole grain oats, salt), and our Sweetened Oat Milk and Barista Oat Milk varieties have five just ingredients (filtered water, whole grain oats, cane sugar, salt, and natural flavors or dipotassium phosphate).
Plus, the oats we use are certified gluten-free, so you can enjoy our Oat Milk if you suffer from a gluten sensitivity or celiac disease.
OAT MILK BENEFITS
Oat Milk can differ in the manner by which the oats are processed and formulated.
That’s why you should always check the nutritional information - and specifically the ingredients list - to ensure you’re getting something that really is a healthy alternative to dairy milk.
Here are some of the benefits of including oats, and Oat Milk, in your diet:
- Rich in antioxidants
- Most notably high in ferulic acid and a group of antioxidants called avenanthramides, which increase the production of nitric oxide to stimulate dilation of blood vessels for better blood flow and reduced blood pressure
- One study found that the antioxidants in oats work together with vitamin C to prevent oxidation of LDL cholesterol
- High in soluble fiber
- Beta-glucan, the soluble fiber in oats, partially dissolves in water, forming a thick, gel-like substance that binds cholesterol and delays stomach emptying, thereby reducing absorption of cholesterol and glucose while promoting a healthy microbiome
- Data from clinical studies has demonstrated beta-glucan’s ability to:
- Reduce total and LDL cholesterol by 3% and 5%, respectively
- Lower blood sugar after a meal, especially if you are overweight or have type 2 diabetes
- Improve appetite control after a meal by delaying gastric emptying through signaled release of PYY, a hormone produced in the gut in response to eating.
- Increase growth of good bacteria in the digestive tract
- High in insoluble fiber
- Studies indicate that oat bran, the fiber-rich outer layer of the grain, may help relieve constipation in older people
CHECK OUR OUR FAVORITE OAT MILK RECIPES
Oats aren’t just a wholesome breakfast staple or base for granola - although they’re still great for both of those things! To help broaden your horizons, here is a selection of recipes created by Elmhurst's own Chef Tristan Hall.
OATMEAL RAISIN PROTEIN BITES
- 4 Tbsp Elmhurst Milked Oats
- 1 ½ Cups Rolled Oats
- ½ Tsp Ground Cinnamon
- ½ Cup Vanilla Protein Powder
- 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
- ⅓ Cup Raisins
- 3 Tbsp Blue Agave Syrup
- 1 Tbsp Chia Seeds
- ¼ Cup Peanut Butter, Organic
- In a food processor combine oats, chia seeds, cinnamon, and protein powder until well combined
- Add peanut butter, agave, vanilla extract, and raisins. Mixture might be slightly but still crumbly.
- Slowly add in Elmhurst Milked Oats
- Roll the mixture into 18 teaspoon-sized balls
- Place in the freezer for 15 minutes to firm up and enjoy!
CARROT CAKE GRANOLA SMOOTHIE
- 2 Cups Elmhurst Unsweetened Milked Oats
- ¾ Cups Carrots, Grated and Shredded
- ½ Cups Rolled Oats
- ¼ Cup Flax Meal
- ½ Tsp Cinnamon
- ¼ Tsp Ginger
- ¼ Tsp Nutmeg
- 2 Tbsp Agave Nectar (May Substitute Maple Syrup)
- Place all ingredients in a blender and pulse until combined. Continue to blend until smooth and creamy. You may add more Elmhurst Unsweetened Milked Oats for a smoother and creamier texture.
- Serve chilled and enjoy!
SPICED CARROT CAKE OATMEAL
- 1 Cup Elmhurst Milked Oats
- ¼ Tsp Vanilla Extract
- 2 Tbsp Dates, Pitted and Chopped
- 1 Tbsp Raisins
- ½ Cup Quick Oats
- ⅓ Cup Carrots, Peeled and Grated
- 1½ Tbsp Walnuts, Chopped
- 1 Tbsp Coconut Flakes
- ½ Tbsp Agave Syrup
- ⅛ Tsp Ground Cinnamon
- ⅛ Tsp Ground Ginger
- In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the Elmhurst Milked Oats, vanilla, and dates.
- Simmer the ingredients and whisk to break up the dates.
- Once the dates have melted into the liquid, add the raisins and continue to simmer for about a minute.
- Stir in the oats, grated carrot, ginger, cinnamon, and coconut. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes until it begins to thicken.
- Stir in agave syrup and enjoy!
OAT MILK LATTE
Oatmeal and smoothies are great, but the spirit of the Oat Milk movement is currently found in coffee. Thanks to Chef Tristan Hall, we are pleased to bring you this fabulous latte recipe, electric green from the chromatic alliance of matcha and mint.
- 3 ½ Cups Elmhurst Unsweetened Milked Oats
- 1 ½ Tbsp Matcha Powder
- 1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
- 3 ½ Tbsp Maple Syrup
- 1 ½ Cups Mint Leaves, Fresh (Can Substitute ½ Tsp Peppermint Extract)
- Fresh Mint Leave Sprigs, Garnish
- In a blender combine all ingredients. Pulse until combined. Blend until smooth, creamy and frothy. You may add more Elmhurst Unsweetened Milked Oats for a smoother and creamier texture.
- Fill your favorite serving glasses with ice. Divide mixture amongst serving glasses.
- Garnish with fresh mint leaves, serve chilled, and enjoy!