Oats, known scientifically as Avena sativa, are a hardy cereal grain and gain part of their distinctive flavor from the roasting process that they undergo after being harvested and cleaned. Although oats are then hulled, this process does not strip away their bran and germ allowing them to retain a concentrated source of their fiber and nutrients.
Ways to Consume This Wonder Food
Oats have numerous uses in foods; most commonly, they are rolled or crushed into oatmeal, or ground into fine oat flour. Oatmeal is chiefly eaten as porridge, but may also be used in a variety of baked goods, such as oatcakes, oatmeal cookies, and oat bread. Oats are also an ingredient in many cold cereals, in particular muesli and granola. Oats, oat bran, and oatmeal contain a specific type of fiber known as beta-glucan. Oats, in its pure form does not contain gluten but are highly cross-contaminated because they’re often grown and harvested alongside wheat, rye and barley
Oats, before its precedence as one of the world’s top “health” foods, was used in a lot of therapeutic medicines. In the early 17th century, Scottish settlers brought oats to North America. Today, the largest commercial producers of oats include the Russian Federation, the United States, Germany, Poland, and Finland.
TOP 16 HEALTH BENEFITS OF OATS
- Fights Obesity: The soluble fiber Beta glucan, found in oats, shoots up Peptide Y-Y, a hormone associated with appetite control. The gel-like Beta glucan’s viscosity, keeps the stomach and small intestine fuller for long periods. It’s has low glycemic index (GI), which means your body will digest and absorb them slowly, delaying hunger pangs. Great for weight loss and keeping obesity at bay.
- Enhances Immune System: Beta glucans, not only reduces cholesterol and blunts glycemic and insulin response, but it also boosts immune defense against bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites. It also speeds the transport of neutrophils to infection sites, helping fight bacteria and repairing tissues quickly.
- Laxative: Oat’s insoluble fiber, due to its sponginess, makes stools heavier, scrubs through the intestines and speeds waste disposal, relieving constipation. Recommended for people with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
- For Type 2 Diabetes: Oats improves your insulin sensitivity. The high soluble fiber and complex carbohydrates, in oats, slow down its conversion to simple sugars. The high levels of magnesium nourish the body’s proper use of glucose and insulin secretion, preventing irregular blood sugar spikes.
- Lowers LDL Cholesterol: The gel-like soluble fibre, beta glucan, traps cholesterol-rich bile acids. This entrapment inhibits the body’s absorption of low-density-lipoprotein, or LDL (bad cholesterol). Tocotrienols, a compound founds in oats, combines with antioxidants, forming vitamin E. The tocotrienols inhibit cholesterol synthesis and lower LDL (bad) cholesterol.
- Controls Blood Pressure: Oats are high in soluble fibre which helps to reduce hypertension, or high blood pressure, and so reduce the need for anti-hypertensive medication.
- Fights Heart Disease: Oats contains plant lignans, one of which, enterolactone, shields the body against heart disease. Also the Antioxidant, Avenanthramides, fights off free radicals that attack high-density lipoproteins, (HDL or “good” cholesterol), while protecting LDL cholesterol from oxidizing from copper, which reduces the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
- Prevents Hardening of Arteries: The Antioxidant, Avenanthramides, in oats, suppresses the production of molecules that allow monocytes to adhere to the walls of the arteries, reducing the risk of developing atherosclerotic plaques, and slowing the progression of stenosis(narrowing of arterial passageways).
- Boosts Nutrition of Gluten-free Diets: Oats increase the nutritional values of the Gluten-free diets, particularly for vitamins and minerals, as well as increasing their antioxidant levels. Adults and children, who have celiac disease and cannot eat gluten, can eat oatmeal although it contains a small amount of gluten.
- Anti Cancer: Phytoestrogen compounds, called lignans, in oats have been linked to decreased risk of hormone-related diseases such as breast cancer, prostate, endometrium and ovarian cancer. The insoluble fibers in oats are also thought to reduce carcinogens in the gastrointestinal tract, lowering the risk of colorectal cancer.
- Asthma Relief: Studies have shown that children, introduced earlier in life to oats, have shown to less likely develop persistent asthma and related symptoms.
- Performance Booster: Oats are a rich source of carbohydrates which provide calories for energy needs, which favorably alter metabolism and enhance performance, when ingested 45 minutes to an hour before exercise of moderate intensity.
- For Health and Longevity: Oats contain phytochemicals (plant chemicals) which have been associated with protection from chronic disease such as cancer. Of all the grains, oats have a higher better balance of protein, essential fatty and amino acids. Oats have a great range of vitamins and minerals and beta glucan which helps the body to heal quickly.
- Skin Care: Apply oats to get relief from dry, itchy, irritated skin and to soothe children’s chickenpox symptoms. The starchiness of oats creates a barrier that allows the skin to hold its moisture, while the rougher fibrous husk of the oat acts as a gentle exfoliant.
- Mineral Store – Abundant source of vitamins, minerals and nutrients. A real super food! Oats contain manganese, selenium, phosphorus, fiber, magnesium, and zinc. Oats are also rich in carotenoids, tocols (Vitamin E), flavonoids and avenanthramides – a class of polyphenols. Rich in carbs, protein and fiber.
- For Peaceful Sleep: Having oats at dinner time, has long been considered an effective way to beat insomnia.