There are those who are lactose intolerant, those who have a true allergy to milk and those who, by choice, prefer to avoid animal products. But all this does not mean that you have to give up a delicious drink. In fact, nowadays there are numerous plant alternatives to cow's milk. Today we are talking about one of these alternatives given by oat milk, which, as we will see, thanks to its benefits becomes more than a simple drink, but a real liquid elixir with an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-cholesterol action, as long as you don't exaggerate with it. Let's understand better.
Oat milk, nutrients and properties
Oat milk is naturally sweet, very tasty and, when heated, gives the preparation creaminess. This drink is therefore excellent for enriching chocolates and coffee. Oat milk provides less protein than soy, goat and cow milk, which contain up to 4% protein, but, compared to other vegetable milks, such as rice or almond milks, it is the beverage that contains a larger amount exceeding 1%. Oat milk is low in fat and, compared to cow's milk, contains about half of it (Collard et al, Acad Pediatr, 2021 - Verduci et al, Nutrients, 2019). Not only that, oat milk provides a more complete profile of amino acids than other vegetable milks, also containing the sulfur amino acids cysteine and methionine (Bonke et al, Foods, 2020). Methionine and cysteine are sulfur amino acids as they are sources of sulfur, which is an essential substance for the body and the basis of various processes essential to life. In fact, sulfur is one of the basic building blocks for the synthesis of proteins, vitamins, antioxidants, such as glutathione with its antiviral action, and substances designed to detoxify the body from heavy metals (Colovic et al, Curr Med Chem, 2018). It should also be emphasized that oat milk is characterized by a high content of soluble fibers, especially beta glucans, and polyphenols, which are precious antioxidants. As for its vitamin and mineral content, oat milk provides phosphorus, potassium, iron and B vitamins. However, oat milk is low in calcium that, however, can be added in the case of fortified milk. In any case, despite the obvious benefits, one should not overdo it with oat milk as this drink contains phytic acid, an anti nutrient that interferes with the absorption of certain nutrients, such as zinc and iron (Verduci et al, Nutrients, 2019 - Aydar et al, Journal of Functional Foods, 2020).
Oat milk, anti-cholesterol and hypoglycemic properties
Oat milk is characterized by the presence of beta glucans, a type of fiber useful for reducing cholesterol. In fact, it was observed that the intake of 0.75 l per day of oat milk led, in 5 weeks, to a reduction in total cholesterol and bad LDL cholesterol, on average by 6% in both cases ( Onning et al, Ann Nutr Metab, 1999). The greatest effects were observed in those who had higher cholesterol values. But oat milk, again thanks to its beta glucan content that slows intestinal absorption of food, also helps to keep blood sugar under control (Verduci et al, Nutrients, 2019).
Oat milk against inflammation
Oat milk, due to its beta glucan content, is anti-inflammatory. In fact, this vegetable drink is included in diets developed to combat inflammation such as, for example, rheumatoid arthritis (Bustamante et al, Contemp Clin Trials Commun., 2020). Oat milk can also help with colitis (Zyla et al, Molecules, 2019).
Oat milk, how to make it at home
Oat milk can be found in supermarkets but can also be made at home. The process is simple. Blend 80 grams of oat flakes with 750 ml of cold water. It is better to prefer cold water to hot water to avoid a too sticky final result. For the same reason it is also a good choice not to blend for more than half a minute. Strain the milk through a fine mesh strainer, then pour into a bottle. Store in the refrigerator for no more than 5 days.