You may have seen oat milk popping up in juice bars, coffee shops, and grocery store aisles. As more plant-based milks are hitting the market, each with distinct flavors and consistencies, it's becoming more popular to ditch cow's milk and try a trendy, healthy alternative instead. Oat milk is lesser known than almond or soy milk, which have long been touted as high-protein, dairy-free milks, but it certainly deserves some love. Here are a few perks to swapping out dairy milk for oat milk in your morning cereal or cappuccino.
It's High in Fiber
Oats are packed with fiber, so drinking oat milk will keep you fuller longer. "Oats are healthy eats due in large part to their fiber content," says Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, and author of Healthy Air Fryer Cookbook, to POPSUGAR. "Oat milk has two grams of fiber. Fiber is important for weight management because it creates a sense of fullness in the stomach, causing us to eat less between meals. Diets high in fiber have also been shown to reduce the risk of developing colorectal cancer," Kailey Proctor, MPH, RDN, further explains to POPSUGAR.
It Tastes Good
It's safe to say it's pretty important that your milk of choice tastes good. "It's yummy! It has a neutral flavor and gets nice and frothy when whisked or shaken," White says. It's great for coffee, thanks to its texture, and the flavors pair well with most foods. It's also low in fat, so you're getting that frothy, creamy texture but without all the fat that's found in other milks, like coconut milk, for instance, notes White.
It's Easy to Make at Home
When you can make your own milk at home, you can limit sugar and other additives that are often in branded varieties that are looking to sweeten the milk or make it taste better to the average consumer. "You can easily make your own oat milk by blending presoaked oats and water. Then, just strain and chill," White says. Here, you're the boss when it comes to keeping oat milk pure and low in sugar.
It's Higher in Nutrients Than Cow's Milk
Keep in mind that "most alternatives are fortified with the same amounts of calcium and vitamin D, so they are all very similar in that department," White explains. But compared to cow's milk, oat milk is higher in calcium, for building strong bones. One cup of oat milk has 36 percent of the daily recommended value. It's also higher in vitamin A, of which it contains 10 percent of the daily value, which is twice the amount found in cow's milk. Vitamin A is great for bone, nail, skin, and eye health. Plus, it's higher in iron, too. "Oat milk has 10 percent of the RDA for iron. Iron is important for red blood cells to transport oxygen to your body's tissues. Iron-rich foods can prevent excessive fatigue and shortness of breath caused by iron-deficiency anemia," says Proctor.
It's also rich in a few other notable nutrients. "Thiamine helps our bodies efficiently digest carbohydrates, which is important for energy levels. Folic acid is especially important for women who are thinking of becoming pregnant or are pregnant because it reduces the risk of birth defects such as spina bifida. Some studies suggest that both thiamine and folic acid might prevent memory loss," Proctor explains.
If you can't have nuts, oat milk's here for you. "Oat milk is essentially steel-cut oats or whole groats soaked in water. This mixture is then blended together and strained, making it nut- and lactose-free. Oat milk is a suitable alternative to those with nut allergies or who are lactose intolerant," Proctor notes. What's more, it could also be good for people with Celiac disease. "Depending on the brand's facility and equipment, oat milk may also be gluten-free. However, it is always important to read the label to see if the oat milk is produced in a facility or with equipment that comes into contact with gluten-containing foods," she says.