Did you know that the first oat milling company in Southeast Asia was founded in 1965 to feed horses? Eventually, oats became a popular food for humans too once we found out about their numerous health benefits, as they are an excellent source of fibre, protein, amino acids, essential vitamins, and antioxidant plant compounds. Read on to find out about the beneficial effects of the consumption of oat products.
Nutritional Benefits of Oats
Oats are a nutrient-dense food source. The following is a list of nutrients and their respective functions found in 40.5 grams of dry oats.
- Manganese is crucial for bone health, development, and maintenance.
- Phosphorus plays a crucial role in maintaining strong and healthy bones, generating energy, and facilitating muscle movement.
- Magnesium is crucial for your brain and body for energy creation, protein formation from amino acids, gene maintenance, muscle movements, and nervous system regulation.
- Copper helps maintain a healthy metabolism, promotes strong and healthy bones, and ensures your nervous system works properly.
- Iron’s main function is to carry oxygen throughout the body as a part of red blood cells.
- Zinc helps maintain your immune system.
- Folate makes and repair DNA, help cell growth and division, produces certain protein, and help red blood cells mature.
- Vitamin B1 (thiamine), is an essential water-soluble nutrient that all tissues in the body need to function properly. It is used to make adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which transports energy within cells.
- Vitamin B5 also called pantothenic acid, is one of the most important vitamins for human life. It makes blood cells and helps you convert the food you eat into energy.
- And smaller amounts of calcium, potassium, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), and vitamin B3 (niacin)
Health Benefits of Oats
Oats have a wide range of health benefits:
They are a rich source of beta-glucan, which is a type of soluble fibre that dissolves in water and forms a thick, gel-like substance. It helps with digestive issues, as they are a dietary fibre that helps move things along the digestive tract. The beta-glucan is also able to bind to carcinogens, so the amount of chemical substances in the body are expelled quicker, therefore helping with cancer prevention, especially colon cancer.
Oats also help reduce the risk of heart disease by reducing high blood pressure, controlling blood cholesterol levels and blood sugar levels, and reducing the “bad” LDL cholesterol.
Ways to Incorporate Oats into Your Diet
Oats are a great part of a healthy diet with their numerous health benefits. They are considered the healthiest grains and provide long-lasting energy, which is why a lot of people typically eat oats for breakfast. They come in two forms: rolled oats and steel-cut oats. Rolled oats are flat flakes that are easier to chew, which makes them better suited for cooking or baking. Steel-cut oats are crunchier, larger pieces that are cut with a machine They are better as a garnish or topping. When buying oats, avoid brands that come pre-mixed with sugar or have artificial flavouring, or have chemical additives. Oats can be consumed in a variety of ways:
Oat milk is one way to get most of the health benefits. You could drink it on its own, or the more popular way to consume it is to add it to your coffee as a substitute for dairy milk. However, you would not be getting the benefits of the fibre.
Overnight oats are a popular trend on TikTok for their quick and easy preparation. The basic ingredients include rolled oats, chia seeds, milk, and optional yogurt, fruit, or honey for flavour. Simply combine the ingredients in a jar or container and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, give it a stir and add fresh fruit if desired, for a high-protein and healthy breakfast.
To make cooked oatmeal, use rolled oats. Boil them with salt, milk, and water, then lower the heat without covering the pan. Simmer for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it reaches the desired thickness. Cook for a longer time if you prefer a thicker and chewier texture. After it cools, add honey, brown sugar, or maple syrup for sweetness. Optional toppings include peanut butter, nuts, or fresh fruit like banana, blueberry, or strawberry.
Or, the simplest way would be to add raw oats to your smoothies for a protein boost.
Why You Should Start Eating Oats
As previously stated, oats are a nutritious food that provides energy and offers various health advantages, including regulating blood sugar levels and reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. Adding oats to your diet is a positive step towards a healthy lifestyle. They can be purchased in different forms, such as raw ingredients, instant oats, muesli, or granola cereal.