Oat milk is a dairy-free alternative to cow’s milk. It is 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.

This article will look at the potential health benefits of oat milk and examine how it compares with traditional whole and low fat dairy milk.

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Oat milk is a dairy-free alternative to cow’s milk. It is suitable for people who:

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.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), 1 cup, or 240 milliliters (ml), of oat milk contains:

NameAmountPercentage of recommended daily value (where available)
Energy120 kcal
Protein3 g6%
Total lipid (fat)4.99 g6%
Carbohydrate16 g6%
Fiber1.92 g7%
Sugars7.01 g
Calcium350 mg25%
Iron0.288 mg2%
Phosphorus269 mg20%
Potassium389 mg8%
Sodium101 mg4%
Riboflavin0.6 mg45%
Vitamin B121.2 µg50%

People should always check the labels of the products they are buying for the most accurate nutritional information.

Oat milk is a good source of a number of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. These include:

Protein

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
  • vision
  • blood clotting

The body also uses protein to build and repair cells and body tissues, and to produce hormones, antibodies, and enzymes.

Fiber

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.

Calcium

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

Phosphorus

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

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.

Vitamin B12

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.

Learn more about foods high in B12 for vegetarians and vegans here.

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:

NameAmount
Energy152 kcal
Nitrogen1.27 g
Protein8.14 g
Total lipid (fat)7.97 g
Carbohydrate11.5 g
Sugars12 g
Calcium306 mg
Magnesium29.6 mg
Phosphorus251 mg
Potassium374 mg
Sodium94.6 mg
Zinc1.05 mg
Copper0.002 mg
Iodine94.4 µg
Selenium4.73 µg
Thiamin0.139 mg
Riboflavin0.344 mg
Niacin0.261 mg
Betaine1.74 mg
Vitamin B121.34 µg
Vitamin A79.7 µg
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)0.125 mg
Vitamin D (D2 + D3)2.39 µg

The USDA database lists 1 cup, or 249 g, of 1% fat milk as containing:

NameAmount
Energy106 kcal
Nitrogen1.3 g
Protein8.32 g
Total lipid (fat)2.34 g
Carbohydrate12.7 g
Sugars12.2 g
Calcium310 mg
Magnesium29.5 mg
Phosphorus253 mg
Potassium391 mg
Sodium95.9 mg
Zinc1.06 mg
Copper0.002 mg
Iodine89.1 µg
Selenium5.17 µg
Thiamin0.14 mg
Riboflavin0.344 mg
Niacin0.278 mg
Betaine2.21 mg
Vitamin B60.148 mg
Vitamin A143 µg
Vitamin D (D2 + D3)2.61 µg

Oat milk is a non-dairy alternative to cow’s milk. It is suitable for people who are allergic to or intolerant of dairy and people who follow a plant-based or vegan diet.

Oat milk can be a good source of nutrients, including protein, fiber, calcium, and riboflavin.

Cow’s milk contains more protein and a wider range of vitamins and minerals than oat milk, but it is higher in fat content.