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Oat Milk Is Enjoying Its Moment in the Health Food Spotlight—Here’s What You Need to Know

In recent years there has been a shift away from drinking cow’s milk, with arguments that it is cruel, it can be terrible for the skin (worsening conditions like acne and eczema), and many individuals are intolerant—Healthline notes that a 2015 review found that almost 75 percent of the world’s population has “some form of lactose intolerance.” With this in mind, it is little wonder that dairy alternatives are becoming increasingly popular choices, and among them is oat milk.

Oat milk has been the topic of several articles because it is one of the more popular dairy alternatives, and, in part, this has to do with the brand, Oatly. Bustle notes that the company introduced its products to cafes with a special “barista blend,” causing it to gain popularity among those who wanted an alternative to dairy, but also those who simply wanted to try something new.

Oat milk is also appealing as a dairy alternative because it has a lower environmental impact than other products, like nut-milks. The reason, Bustle notes, is that it needs far less water to produce than almonds. Right, so how is this milk made? Well, as the name suggests, it is produced by “soaking and blending steel-cut or rolled oats with water,” Healthline notes. The liquid is then strained through cheesecloth.

Some other things you should know:

Oat milk is typically fortified with various vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin B, Vitamin D, and calcium, and you can drink oat milk like you would cow milk. It’s a great substitute, especially in lattes and cappuccinos, because of the creamier texture.

It has less protein than soy or cow’s milk, but more than other plant-based beverages, including almond and coconut milk. Shape also notes that in comparison to other kinds of milk (dairy and non-dairy), oat milk has the most fiber, although it is also higher in carbohydrates. Speaking of fiber, oat milk contains beta-glucans, a soluble fiber which can benefit the heart, Healthline reports. The beta-glucans may also help to reduce the levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol.

And while all these pros may be enough to switch to oat milk right away, with every product there are some drawbacks. In the case of oat milk, this includes some products having added sugar (which is why you should always read the nutritional labels and purchase the unsweetened versions). It also tends to be more expensive, and Healthline states that “most commercial oat milk is not certified gluten-free.”

[Image via Shutterstock]

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