Wellbeing: Why you could be adding oat milk to your morning coffee
NOW that almond milk has become a billion-pound industry, the craze for plant-based dairy has gone global. But while the rest of us are still tentatively getting our chops around nut alternatives, the wellness brigade has already moved on to pastures new. Enter: oat milk.
SOUNDS NUTS – BUT IS IT?
The dairy-free, gluten-free and nut-free formula is made from blending steel-cut oats with water, and then separating the liquid from the mulch. The process doesn't exactly sound appetising, but it's surprisingly delicious; coffee drinkers are praising it for its malty taste, creamy texture and similarities in constitution to cow's milk. Unlike soya milk, it also works well when heated, can be foamed up into lattes and doesn't curdle or split in the pan.
The trend isn't entirely new; Nordic countries like Sweden have been drinking it for decades. The Swedes have even developed entire drinks menus riffing on the oaty drink – think capoatchino, coatado, and macchioato. Now it's fast catching on at artisan coffee shops and organic supermarkets in the UK.
Baristas have been quick to jump on the Instagram-approved trend, but the superfood squad say that the drink has staying power. Holland & Barrett nutritionist Emily Rollason says oat milk has benefits that render it superior to dairy-free competitors, namely it's low fat content. A carton of oat milk has around 0.5g fat, of which there is 0.1g is saturated fat per 100ml in comparison, almond milk has 1.3g fat in total, 0.4g of which are saturates. Rollason adds: "Oats contain beta-glucans, natural sugars that are thought to have a protective effect for heart health, and may aid with lowering LDL cholesterol levels."
Oat milk has a considerably lower carbon footprint than almond milk, with almonds requiring over six times as much water to grow as oats do. While some people are whipping up oat milk at home, it might just be easier to grab yourself a carton from your local supermarket – a carton of Swedish-produced Oatly costs around £1.80.