We often tend to eat protein bars as a quick and ready-to-eat snack for instant energy. Oats are often used as the main ingredient in protein bars as a source of proteins. Oats are scientifically known as Avena sativa, belonging to the family Poaceae. Oats are one of the most nutritious crops which contains carbohydrates, lipids, protein, and fibre. It is the 5th most consumed crop with an annual production of 23 million tons worldwide. Oat milk is a product made from oats and in recent days oat milk is emerging in the market due to its health benefits.1,2 Let us read the importance of oat milk benefits.
Nutritional Value of Oat Milk:
Oat milk contains several organic compounds like beta-glucans, phenolics, avenanthramides and flavonoids.2 The nutritional content of oat milk is given below:
Table 1: Nutritional Value of 100ml Oat Milk3
Properties of Oat Milk:
Oat milk properties may be as follows:
- It may be beneficial for diabetes
- It may be an antioxidant
- It may lower the blood pressure
- It may help to eliminate fatigue
- It may protect the heart health
- It may enhance the immune system
- It may have cholesterol-lowering properties
- It may reduce the formation of blood clots
Potential Uses of Oat Milk for Overall Health:
Some of the potential benefits of oat milk are described as follows:
1. Potential use of oat milk for diabetes
Oat milk may help against diabetes and studies show that a bioactive dietary peptide in oat milk may improve insulin secretion and glucose digestion. Studies conducted on humans showed that intake of oat milk might improve fasting blood sugar level and insulin concentration. However, large-scale human studies are yet to be done to check the anti-diabetic effect of oat milk. It is important to check your blood sugar levels and get proper treatment in case of abnormal blood sugar levels.
2. Potential use of oat milk to regulate blood pressure
Oat milk may regulate blood pressure and thereby improve heart health. A study on a rat model showed that the globulin peptide in oat milk might regulate blood pressure. Another human study showed that constituents like beta-glucans, dietary fibres, and avenanthramides might regulate blood pressure. Therefore, oat milk may reduce the risk of hypertension and might improve heart health. However, if you experience any abnormal blood pressure or symptoms of heart disease, you must immediately consult your doctor and take proper medications for the same.2 Do not self-medicate.
3. Potential use of oat milk for enhancing the immune system
Bioactive peptides present in oats may contribute to enhancing the immune system. It may help to enhance innate immunity (the first response of the immune system to foreign substances) and adaptive immunity (special immune cells in the body that destroy foreign substances). The exact mechanism by which the peptides in oat milk help improve immune function is unknown. Further research is to be done to claim the effect of oat milk on immune function.
4. Potential use of oat milk for hypoxia
Hypoxia is a condition where the tissues in the body do not get enough oxygen. Bioactive peptides like oligopeptides in oat milk may reduce the risk of hypoxia and may increase haemoglobin. Haemoglobin, present in red blood cells, carries oxygen and transports it to various tissues in the body. In this way, oat milk may be beneficial in case of hypoxia. Further studies are required to confirm the effect of oat milk on hypoxia.
5. Potential use of oat milk for exercise-induced fatigue
Oat milk may help in eliminating fatigue caused after strenuous exercise by improving muscle strength. Oat milk may improve muscle strength by decreasing the by-products of fatigue (lactic acid and blood urea nitrogen) and increasing the level of glycogen in muscles and the liver. Oat milk may reduce physical discomfort associated with exercise. Studies showed that oat milk might enhance the post-exercise recovery of damaged muscles. Further studies are yet to be done to check the anti-fatigue effect of oat milk.
6. Potential use of oat milk to prevent platelet aggregation
Oat milk may inhibit the aggregation of platelets due to the presence of hydrolysates. Additionally, globulin in oats may inhibit platelet aggregation caused by arachidonic acid in the body. More research is yet to be done to confirm whether oat milk may prevent platelet aggregation.
7. Potential use of oat milk to reduce cholesterol levels
Oat milk may possess cholesterol-lowering properties. The proteins present in oat milk may reduce the bad cholesterol by reducing cholesterol absorption in the intestine and increasing the faecal bile acid secretions. This study was done on animals. Large-scale human trials are to be done to check the effect of oat milk on reducing cholesterol in humans. If you have high cholesterol and obese consult the doctor for proper treatment. Do not self-medicate.
8. Potential use of oat milk for anaemia
Oat milk may be used to alleviate anaemia. This may be due to its antioxidant properties that reduce oxidative stress. Studies conducted on iron-deficient rat models showed that oat milk might help in the case of anaemia. More clinical studies are required to confirm the effect of oat milk on anaemia. However, you must seek proper treatment for anaemia instead of self-medicating.
Though there are studies that show the benefits of oat milk in various conditions, these are insufficient and there is a need for further studies to establish the true extent of the benefits of oat milk on human health.
How to Use Oat Milk?
Oat milk may be included in various dishes that are given below:
- Oat milk can be used in baked goods
- Oat milk can be an ingredient in preparing creamy soups
- Oat milk can be a part of your favourite milk-based beverages like hot cocoa, coffee, tea, and many more
- Oat milk can be a staple ingredient for puddings and smoothies
You must consult a qualified doctor before taking oat milk in large quantities or any herbal supplements. Do not discontinue or replace an ongoing treatment of modern medicine with an ayurvedic/herbal preparation without consulting a qualified doctor.
Side Effects of Oat Milk:
Oat milk side effects may be as follows:
- Oat milk may cause gas
- Oat milk may also cause bloating
If you experience any adverse reactions to oat milk, immediately contact a doctor or your Ayurvedic physician who has prescribed it to you. They will be able to guide you appropriately for your symptoms.
Precautions to Take with Oat Milk:
Some precautions to take before consuming oat milk are:
- People with celiac disease must be cautious before consuming oat milk due to the presence of gluten.
- People having disorders of the stomach, intestine and other parts of the gastrointestinal tract should be careful before consuming oat milk since it may block your intestine.
Interactions With Other Drugs:
Oats may interact with anti-diabetic drugs. It may cause the blood sugar level to go low when diabetes medications are taken with oats. It is important to monitor your blood sugar level if you have consumed oat milk and have diabetes. You must consult your doctor if your blood sugar level gets abnormal.
Frequently Asked Questions:
1) What are the benefits of oat milk?
Oat milk may be beneficial for individuals with diabetes. It may improve heart health and lower blood pressure. Oat milk may enhance immune function. It may be used to reduce the risk of hypoxia and platelet aggregation. Additionally, oat milk may be used to lower cholesterol levels. If you have any of these problems consult the doctor for proper treatment. Do not self-medicate.
2) What are the side effects of oat milk?
Oat milk may cause gas and bloat.
3) What are the nutrients in oat milk?
The nutrients present in oat milk are proteins, fats, carbohydrates, fibres, sugars, calcium, potassium, and phosphorus. Organic constituents like beta-glucans, phenolics, avenanthramides and flavonoids may also be present.
4) Is there a possibility that oat milk is good for you?
Yes, there are several benefits of drinking oat milk every day.
5) What are the disadvantages of oat milk?
People with celiac disease and disorders of the stomach, intestine and other parts of the gastrointestinal tract must be cautious before consuming oat milk. Oat milk may cause side effects like gas and bloat. Additionally, it may also interact with medications used for diabetes and may cause the blood sugar levels to go too low.