Oats make for a balanced, low-fat and delicious breakfast. A good option to start one’s day especially for weight watchers.
It can be a quick fix for hunger pangs, double up as a light and hearty evening snack. Oats is one food that is versatile enough to fit itself to suit anyone’s needs. Full of fiber and low on fat as well as calories, oats are designed to boost energy levels.
They are a good source of fiber, trace minerals and even plant-based protein. Like all whole grains, oats even contain some healthy fatty acids since they retain their entire germ, endosperm and bran, which is where not only the nutrients are stored, but also small amounts of essential fats.
Oats have become popular because of the various health benefits they offer-
Help reduce unhealthy cholesterol
Oats contain multiple nutrients and a gummy, water-soluble fiber, beta-glucan, which helps reduce unhealthy (LDL) cholesterol without affecting the good cholesterol. This cholesterol lowering ability is the primary reason why oats have become so popular in the last few years.
Prevents cardiovascular disease: The antioxidants present in oats are beneficial for preventing heart disease. Oats also contain plant lignans, especially enterolactone, which has been proven to be good for the heart.
Beneficial for controlling blood sugar levels
Foods that get digested quickly cause blood sugar levels to rise sharply. Since oats have low glycemic Index and high fiber content, they get digested slowly.
High fiber and complex carbohydrates slow down the conversion of this whole food to simple sugars, and the beta-glucan in oats further delays the fall in blood sugar levels before meals and slows the rise after a meal.
Oats being rich in soluble fibers, help increase intestinal transit time and reduce glucose absorption.
Helps prevent constipation
The soluble and insoluble fiber in oats, helps in regulating bowel movements and prevent constipation. Insoluble fiber moves along the digestive tract and absorbs water. This adds weight to the waste material and eases its passage through our system and eventually out of the body.
Supports weight loss
It is a high fiber food due to which it slows digestion and makes us feel full longer. This reduces our cravings and keeps us satiated.
Cholecystokinin, a hunger-fighting hormone, is increased with the oatmeal compound beta-glucan. It further keeps the hunger pangs away.
Keeps us satiated longer
As mentioned in the above point too, oats contain high levels of soluble fiber, they turn into a gel like consistency that slows the digestion and makes us full longer.
Rich source of manganese and phosphorous
Manganese is a trace mineral but important for body growth, development and metabolism. Phosphorous is an important mineral for bone health and tissue maintenance.
Oats are a rich source of both these minerals and a few others too like magnesium, zinc, iron etc.
Enhances immune response to disease
The unique fiber in oatmeal called beta-glucan has been shown to help neutrophils travel to the site of an infection more quickly and it also enhances their ability to eliminate the bacteria they find there.
Of all the forms of oats that are available, DCN recommends steel cut oats. They have a low score on the glycemic index when compared to enriched or refined carbohydrates and other proceed oats flour and instant flavored oats.
Quick and instant oats are capable of spiking blood sugar quicker than less processed oats. So, look for steel-cut or rolled (old-fashioned) oats as they have the least impact on blood sugar and insulin levels.
There is a strong perception against oats, that they are not flavorful or tasty to the palate. Check out our recipe section, which is sure to change this thought process.
Pairing steel cut oats with something protein rich, such as a tablespoon of flax seeds, a handful of nuts, or a glass of milk and fruits can further help one maintain satiety throughout the morning.