Oats which is also called the common Oats, is a species of cereal grain grown for its seed, which is known by the same name. Oats are suitable for human consumption, one of the most common uses is as livestock feed. Oats are rich in soluble fibers which help in lowering cholesterol levels.These soluble fibers help increase intestinal transit time and reduce glucose absorption.
Oats contain a wide range of nutrients like fiber, vitamin E, essential fatty acids, etc. which make them top the healthy food charts.Whole oats are the only source of a unique group of antioxidants called avenanthramides, believed to have protective effects against heart disease
Oats (Sterilis) are grown in the Fertile Crescent of the Near East. Domesticated oats appear relatively late, and far from the Near East, in Bronze Age Europe. Oats, like rye, are usually considered a secondary crop, i.e., derived from a weed of the primary cereal domesticates wheat and barley. As these cereals spread westwards into cooler, wetter areas, this may have favored the oat weed component, and have led to its domestication.
Greeks and Romans considered oats to be nothing more than a diseased version of wheat. Oats were a lowly horse food for the Romans, who scoffed at the "oat-eating barbarians", or those pesky Germanic tribes who eventually toppled the West Roman Empire. Come to think of it, the Romans were never able to conquer the Scots. Big oat eaters, those Scots. Oats 2, Romans 0.
Oats are rich in a specific type of fiber called beta-glucan. This particular type of fiber is known to help lower levels of bad cholesterol. One cup (81 grams) of dry oats contains 7.5 grams of fiber , the recommended daily intake of fiber is 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men. One serving of oats contain 117 calories.
The table below contains detailed information on the nutrients in oats
The glycemic index, or GI, ranks the effect of a carbohydrate-containing food on your blood glucose level on a scale of one to 100. The higher the GI, the more quickly a food can elevate your blood sugar. The GI of a grain product may vary according to the way the grain has been processed and prepared. A 250 g serving of oatmeal a 9-oz. bowl has a GI of 58. A bowl of instant oatmeal has a GI of 83. The process of milling grains, such as oats or wheat, removes some of their fiber content, which accelerates digestion and raises the food's GI. If you want to reduce the GI of your oatmeal, avoid the instant varieties and try coarser, minimally processed oats.
- Improve Cardiac Health
- Aid In Diabetes Treatment
- Prevents Constipation
- Reduces Cancer Risk
- Help Treat Hypertension
- Improve Immunity
- Supports Weight Loss
- Promote Bone Health
- Improves Sleep Quality
- Boost Energy
- Relieve Symptoms of Menopause
- Treat Poison Ivy Or Chicken Pox
- Act as Natural Cleaner
- Protect Skin
- Aid in Hair Care
Improve Cardiac Health
Oats consists of fiber called beta-glucan that aids in lowering the cholesterol levels. Beta-glucan is the main component of the soluble fiber in oats, and it reduces bad cholesterol without affecting the levels of good cholesterol. The antioxidants present in oats along with Vitamin C prevent LDL oxidation, which can cause cardiac diseases.
Bran Oats consists of vitamin E which is good for heart health. As per the Harvard Medical School, oats are the best form of whole grains to lower cholesterol levels. And to include more whole grain oats in your diet, you can try the steel-cut version . According to a report by the University of Wisconsin Madison, beta-glucan, which is exclusive to oats, also acts as a heart-healthy chemical.
Aid In Diabetes Treatment
Oats have a low glycemic index, and their high fiber content helps regulate blood sugar levels. Also, oats, being rich in fiber, are digested slowly. Foods that are digested quickly can cause quick blood sugar spikes – making it difficult to manage blood sugar spikes. Oatmeal makes the contents of the stomach much thicker, thereby making them get digested slowly. As per one study, oatmeal can also reduce insulin dosages. You can use oats as a replacement for bread crumbs in your recipes.
As Oatmeal is rich in fiber it help in preventing the constipation problem. Oats have also been found to increase the stool weight, thereby treating constipation. Colorectal cancer can also be prevented by consuming oats.
Oats are rich in insoluble fiber. This is particularly true for steel-cut and old-fashioned rolled oats. Insoluble fiber is very good for gut health, with one of its benefits being the treatment for constipation.
However, certain individuals have reported symptoms of constipation after having oatmeal. The reason could be that oatmeal can cause intestinal gas in certain circumstances. Oats also contain high amounts of soluble fiber, which can result in excessive gas.
Reduces Cancer Risk
The antioxidants in oats can help combat cancer. And the fiber in oats can prevent rectal and colon cancers (as already discussed). Though there is limited research on the type of oatmeal that helps fight cancer, it is better to stick to the variety that you feel comfortable with.
Here, we once again talk about avenanthramides, special compounds present in oats. They possess anti-inflammatory properties and are a part of the oat plant’s defense mechanism. These compounds were found to inhibit the growth of cancer cells without harming the healthy ones.
Help Treat Hypertension
If you suffer from high blood pressure, a daily dose of oats will help combat this problem and in turn, lower risk of hypertension.
The beta-glucan in oatmeal can enhance your immunity levels. A majority of immune cells in your body have special receptors that are designed to absorb beta-glucan. This kicks up the activity of the white blood cells and protects against disease. Oats are also rich in selenium and zinc that play a part in fighting infections.
Intake of beta-glucan was also found to enhance immunity following exercise stress. This compound also helps offset respiratory infections post exercise stress. Beta-glucans also improve the ability of macrophages, neutrophils, and natural killer cells – making them further effective in fighting against a wide range of microbes like bacteria, viruses, and fungi.
Beta-glucans are also used to improve immunity in individuals suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome or physical or emotional stress. They also improve immune levels during intense treatments like chemotherapy or radiation Early introduction of oats is also associated with a reduced risk of asthma.
Supports Weight Loss
Oats offer weight loss benefits – more so if you purchase plain oats without any added flavorings. Because packaged oatmeal comes loaded with sugar.
nstant oatmeal was also found to increase satiety and energy intake when compared to an oat-based ready-to-eat breakfast cereal. Which is why you can replace foods in your diet with oatmeal and stay full for longer. Simply put, oats can fill you up.
Oats can also soak up water, which further adds to its satiating properties. And the beta-glucan in oats can delay the emptying of the stomach.
If you are having oats for breakfast, you can flavor them with fiber-rich toppings like raspberries or almonds. And yes, avoid fatty toppings like peanut butter.
Promote Bone Health
Oats offer a host of minerals essential for bone health. Steel-cut oats are preferred to the rolled variety as the former has less air exposure and is less likely to turn rancid. However, try to avoid instant oatmeal as it can turn rancid very quickly.
Another important mineral oats are rich in is silicon. This mineral has a role to play in bone formation and maintenance. Silicon can also aid in the treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis.
Improves Sleep Quality
The amino acids and other nutrients in oats help produce melatonin, the chemical that induces sleep. And when mixed with milk or honey, oats become a wonderful bedtime snack.
Whole grain oats also promote insulin production, which helps the neural pathways receive tryptophan. Tryptophan is an amino acid that acts as a sedative to the brain. Oats are also rich in vitamin B6, which helps reduce stress. Combining oats with milk and bananas can further help your body relax.
The carbs in oats also release serotonin, the 'feel good' hormone that reduces stress and makes you feel calm.
As carbs are the body’s primary source of energy, and since oats are rich in carbs, they offer an energy boost when consumed right in the morning. But worry not – oats are absorbed much slower in the body, and this gives you a longer-lasting boost.
Relieve Symptoms of Menopause
Increased intake of fiber can relieve irritability caused during menopause, and oats can work wonders in this aspect.
Treat Poison Ivy Or Chicken Pox
For thousands of years, oatmeal has been used for treating poison ivy and symptoms of chickenpox. For relieving the itchiness caused by poison ivy or chicken pox, pour oat flour onto a cheesecloth. Tie this around the bathtub faucet and periodically squeeze out water for a tepid bath. You can also rub the pouch on the itchy areas of your skin.
Act as Natural Cleaner
Oats contain compounds called saponins that act as natural cleansers and remove the dirt and oil from the pores. And by the way, they don't cause irritation.
The proteins in oatmeal maintain the skin’s natural barrier. They even protect your skin from harsh pollutants and chemicals. The lubricating fats in oats aid in UV protection.
Aid in Hair Care
Surprisingly, oats have benefits for your hair too. The nutrients in them make your hair stronger and scalp healthier. They also make it shinier and silkier.
We can cook both delicious and healthy recipes using oats. Below are the few recipes which can make using the oats.
- Chocolate Oatmeal Bars Recipe
- Banana Oats Smoothie
- Chocolate Oat Fondant
- Oat Crunchies
- Chocolate Banana Oatmeal