Oat Milk Prebiotic Fiber and its Impact on Mental Health
Whole grain oats have long been known for their blood sugar regulating and anti-inflammatory characteristics. But with so many benefits, the connection between gut health, mental health and whole grain oats is often overlooked.
A naturally occurring ingredient in the whole grain oats used to make oat milk, is fiber. Prebiotic fiber, specifically, can help nurture and balance out your gut microbiome, which scientists say can directly benefit mental health. Prebiotic fiber is important in maintaining the balance of “healthy” and “unhealthy” bacteria in your gut microbiome. A close relative of probiotics, prebiotics contain non-living nutrients that feed the bacteria responsible for helping digestion in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.
When there is an imbalance of “good” and “bad” bacteria, your immune system can suffer and your GI tract can become inflamed, which can yield effects on the brain. Even mental health disorders that scientists have historically struggled to understand have shown possible connections to gut microbiome health.
And even small lifestyle changes can affect your gut health, leading to mental health complications. Too much stress, medications, excessive exercise and a diet that lacks sufficient nutrition can exacerbate bacteria imbalances in the GI tract.
Though it can’t be said that gut health alone contributes to mental health disorders, it is clear that dietary choices factor into overall mental health. The foods you consume alter the functions of your brain and ultimately mood, which is why we take our commitment to organic ingredients so seriously. The cleaner the ingredients, the lesser the negative mental health implications.
This evidence gives scientists reason to believe that maintaining a healthy gut by consuming whole grain oats, oat milk and other sources of prebiotic fiber, has a positive connection to mental health.
The prebiotic fiber found in whole grain oats, which regulates blood sugar, has also been linked to controlling mood swings and irritability. One article notes that people who consumed between 1.5 and 6 grams of fiber at breakfast reported having more stable moods and energy levels throughout the day.
Other articles highlight the fact that prebiotics play an important role in gut and brain development during early years of life and can act as a preventative measure against common mental and physical health conditions.
When you pick up a carton of Willa’s organic, vegan oat milk, you’ll notice the list of ingredients is short, but packed with benefits. We pack even more fiber into our plant based milk when we use the entire oat to produce our vegan, organic oat milk. And our oat milk isn’t riddled with sugar, which can wreak havoc on blood sugar levels and in turn, jeopardize mental health.
In one serving of Willa’s oat milk, there are two grams of fiber. We believe in using the whole of each grain of oat to bring you closer to the nutrition of raw, natural ingredients while minimizing food waste. This means more prebiotic fiber for you and a sustainable impact on our planet.
Now, we’re not saying that your morning oat milk latte will keep anxiety, depression or other mental illnesses at bay. We recognize the efficacy and importance of medication and mental health practitioners for treating mental illness — it’s that evidence supports that prebiotic whole grain oats can foster a healthy gut and in turn, a healthier mind.
Still curious about oat milk? Learn more about the health benefits of oats and oat milk in our On Bar series, and check out our Oat Milk FAQ. If we haven’t covered your question there, send us a message and we’ll get right back to you.