The world of wellness is an ever-evolving landscape of new trends and “super foods.” The latest trend in plant-based milk products is none other than oat milk! We’ve seen milk made from nuts and seeds, but never a grain. This is an interesting item that is capturing the hearts and stomachs of the coffee drinking community. As a registered dietitian, I feel it is important to remind my clients that though food fads often appear healthy, they may not all be beneficial or promote a healthy relationship with food.
What does the research say about oat milk?
Though oat milk may be new to today’s market, there has been a fair amount of research published to support that oat milk contains cholesterol-lowering properties in both healthy individuals and those with high cholesterol. Coffee alone contains small amounts of nutrients, including potassium, niacin and magnesium. Its antioxidant properties may also decrease risk for developing chronic illnesses including cardiovascular disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes and Parkinson’s disease. Adding oat milk to your coffee adds an additional boost of these antioxidant properties from the vitamin E found in oats.
Overall, plant-based milks like oat milk can serve as a heart healthy alternative to pro-inflammatory cow’s milk or dairy-based creamer in your morning coffee. Does that mean you should never order a coffee with dairy-based milk? Absolutely not! Low-fat dairy milk is great source of calcium and vitamin D. However, if you have a sensitivity to milk products or simply want to take healthy eating to the next level, choosing a plant-based milk is a great place to start.
As new trends arise, be sure to look at the facts behind the fad. Oat milk may not be the heart healthy miracle cure, but it is a practical, healthy choice that, when added to a balanced and healthy diet, can absolutely make a difference in your overall health and wellness. What better opportunity than to add an extra boost of nutrients to your morning cup of coffee?
Tips to ordering healthier beverages at your local coffee shop:
Not all coffee shops offer oat milk, but that’s okay! There are other ways to make your morning cup of coffee healthier.
- Ask your barista if your favorite drink can be made sugar free or “lite.” There are so many modifications that can be made to make a seasonal drink healthier. Don’t be afraid to ask questions!
- Avoid added sugars. The food industry likes to sneak sugar into so many foods that we often eat on a regular basis. To adjust your pallet, start by adding plant-based milks to your morning coffee. Plant-based milks make have their own natural sweetness and nutty flavor that may just take your everyday latte to the next level!
- Order medium roast instead of dark. Research supports that antioxidants are at their maximum potential in medium roast coffee beans.
- Try different sugar free syrups. These are a great way to add flavor.
- Matcha lattes are worth a try! While it may be an acquired taste for some, this coffee alternative is packed with antioxidants and still contains the caffeine we all need to start our day!
- Other plant-based milks to try: cashew milk, almond milk, coconut milk and hemp seed milk.