Oat milk is a dairy-free alternative to cow’s milk.
Because it’s low in calories (130 per cup), fat, and sugar but high in protein and has fiber, oat milk is a great for weight loss.
It also suitable for people with allergies, dairy intolerances, or those who follow a plant-based or vegan diet.
Oat milk can be a good source of vitamins and minerals, including calcium, and manufacturers often fortify it with vitamin B12.
We going to look at the potential benefits of oat milk and examine how it compares with traditional whole and low fat dairy milk.
Manufacturers make oat milk by soaking steel cut oats in water, then straining the mixture.
Some manufacturers then fortify the milk with vitamins and minerals.
Each brand of oat milk will have a different mix of vitamins and minerals. In general, oat milk is high in nutrients, including calcium and vitamin B12.
It does not contain all the same nutrients as traditional dairy milk, which provides more protein and a wider range of vitamins.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends that adults consume around 50 g of protein per day.
Protein is important for several bodily processes, including:
- immune response
- fluid balance
- blood clotting
The body also uses protein to build and repair cells and body tissues, and to produce hormones, antibodies, and enzymes.
The body needs fiber to move food and waste through the digestive system. This keeps the gut healthy and helps to avoid constipation.
Fiber can also help manage the levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol in the blood. LDL cholesterol, or “bad” cholesterol, can increase the risk of heart disease and heart attacks.
Adults need between 1,000 and 1,300 mg of calcium every day. One cup of oat milk will provide around 350 mg of that daily amount.
The body uses calcium to:
- build and maintain strong bones and teeth
- move muscles
- carry messages between the brain and the body
- help blood move through the blood vessels
- release hormones and enzymes
An average cup of oat milk contains around 20% of an adult’s daily value (DV) of phosphorus.
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the body needs phosphorus to make energy and carry out chemical processes.
Riboflavin is also known as vitamin B2. It is an essential vitamin for the cells, helping them to grow, develop, and function. It also helps to turn food into energy.
One cup of oat milk can provide around 45% of an adult’s DV of riboflavin.
Oat milk can also be a good source of vitamin B12. This nutrient is very important because it helps the body to:
- keep the nerves healthy
- keep the blood cells healthy
- make DNA
It also helps to prevent megaloblastic anemia.
This is a type of anemia that makes people feel weak and tired.
Some of these nutrients, vitamins, and minerals occur naturally in oat milk, and manufacturers add others.
It is always a good idea to read the label of a product to check the exact nutritional information.
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Dairy milk and oak milk have different nutritional profiles.
For example, dairy milk tends to contain more protein and a wider variety of vitamins and minerals.
In the U.S., manufacturers add vitamin D to whole milk.
Vitamin D helps the body absorb the calcium it needs to build, maintain, and repair bones. In addition, it plays an essential role in:
- muscle movement
- the nervous system
- the immune system
Lack of vitamin D can result in serious health problems.
Children can develop rickets, which means their bones are too soft to support their weight.
In adults, it can increase the risk of osteomalacia, or soft bones, and osteoporosis, or fragile bones.
The USDA reports that 1 cup, or 249 g, of whole milk contains:
The USDA database lists 1 cup, or 249 g, of 1% fat milk as containing:
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