In this fast, modern world, everyone is busy with some tiring work, including kids. So most of them do not concentrate on their diet, because of their busy schedule. Then how could you be healthy? Have you ever asked yourself this question? Most of your answers will be NO because you’re not concentrating on your diet. But it’s OK, don’t worry, start your healthy diet from today.
Now you’ll have a question, Is there any way to change the lifestyle into a healthy one? Yes, of course. There are many ways, but here let me start with a healthy breakfast. Are you eager to know what it is? That’s healthy oats or oatmeal.
Honestly, oatmeal is an excellent breakfast to add to your diet. It is stuffed full of nutrients that are beneficial for your body. It boosts your energy levels and keeps you active throughout the day.
Oatmeal is very common and is widely consumed all over the country. But in India, it came into existence just a few years back. So you can make a habit of eating oatmeal every morning, without any confusion.
History of Oats
Oat is one of the healthiest cereal crops on earth. In ancient days, Oats were considered as animal feed, but after knowing its high nutritional value, dietary fiber, and various phytochemicals present in it, many types of research were done to find out whether it is suitable for human consumption.
The result also came out positively, that it is a healthy whole grain food and can be consumed by humans. Also, it provides various health benefits when consumed every morning.
What are oats?
Oat is a cereal crop grown mainly for its seed. The most common species that are cultivated worldwide is Avena sativa. It comes under the family Poaceae. It is mainly grown in countries like Russia, Canada, Finland, Poland, and the USA. It requires more water and grows well only in cool climates.
Initially, oats were not familiar and so their production was also very few. But now, everyone is engaged with oats and so its production is increasing every year.
Oats are a great source of proteins, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. These are gluten-free and are very good for your heart. It lowers your blood sugar level and reduces the risk of heart diseases.
Nutritional Value of Oats:
Oats are a rich source of proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals.
100 grams of oatmeal contains;
- Proteins: 12g
- Carbohydrates: 2.4g
- Saturated Fat: 0.2g
- Monounsaturated Fat: 0.4g
- Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4g
- Fiber: 1.7g
Phytochemicals present in oats are;
- Tacols: alpha tocotrienols, alpha tocopherol
- Avenanthramides: AVA1, AVA3, AVA4
- Flavonoids: Apigenin, vitexin, tricin
- Phenolic Compounds: p-hydroxybenzoic acid, protocatechuic, syringic, vanillic, caffeic, ferulic, and sinapic.
- Vitamins: Vitamin A and B6
- Minerals: Iron, Calcium
Antioxidant and Anti Inflammatory Properties:
Oats contain phenolic compounds that offer many medicinal benefits to your body. The phenolic compound, particularly avenanthramides present in oats possess antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antiatherosclerotic properties. Most of the phenolic compounds are found in the brand layer of grains, so if you consume oats as whole-grain cereal, then you’d get all these medicinal properties.
Types of Oats
First, the oat is hulled and it is called hulled oats. In this process, the nutrients and fiber content remains intact, but all the bran and germs were not stripped away. So the hulled oat has undergone several processes and produced different types of oat products.
Oat groats are the uncut raw kernels. It is cooked with water but it takes a long time to cook. You can also mix it with fruits for breakfast.
Steel-cut oats are obtained by cutting the oats into thin slices with steel blades. It has a chewier texture.
Old Fashioned Oats:
Here the oats are steamed and then rolled to get a flat shape. It is entirely different from other varieties.
Quick-cooking oats are also called instant oats. It is similar to old-fashioned oats. Here the oats are steamed, cut finely, and then rolled. So it takes very few minutes to get ready.
People need something to be done faster. So most of them prefer these instant oats. Here, you just need to boil oats with water or milk, and this is called oatmeal (porridge).
It is the outer layer of oat that is found under the hull. Oat bran is found in all whole grain oat products. It is mostly used in bran cookie recipes.
It is obtained by grinding the hulled oats. Oat flour is commonly used in baking. Not only the hulled oats, any oat product can also be ground to make oat flour.
Health Benefits of Oats
1. Helps in weight loss:
Most of you could have worried about your obesity and you could have tried many things to reduce your weight. But, have you ever thought that oatmeal could help to control your weight? It is possible!!
According to the study of “Molecular Nutrition & Food Research”, published in October 2009, a compound called β-glucan present in Oats reduces appetite by increasing the hunger-fighting hormone cholecystokinin.
It keeps you feel full for a long time, thus it prevents the intake of extra food or calories. This aids in weight loss. Not only weight loss, but the fiber content in it also keeps your gut healthy.
So, if you are trying to lose weight, then definitely include whole grains like oats in your diet. Take at least 1/2 cup of oats daily, so that you’ll get 4 grams of fiber. The soluble fiber will lead to slow digestion and suppresses your appetite. Therefore, it helps you prevent hunger pangs and reduce the risk of obesity.
2. Reduces Cholesterol
Oat is a good source of soluble fiber which is very essential for the human body. It helps your intestinal tract to trap substances associated with blood cholesterol. The β glucan present in oats can reduce the LDL cholesterol level by inhibiting the hepatic fatty acid synthesis and binding bile acids.
Studies have also shown that people who eat 3 grams of soluble fiber every day can lower their high cholesterol levels. So adding oats to your diet will offer great benefits for those suffering from high cholesterol.
3. Decreases High Blood Pressure
We all know that heart disease is a huge problem all over the world. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that a diet containing whole grains such as oatmeal or wholemeal bread is very effective to lower blood pressure. It performs the same function that antihypertensive drugs do. So take plenty of whole grains daily to stay away from heart diseases.
4. Benefits of Oats on Skin
Oats are not only beneficial for your internal organs, but it is also good for external use. Some research has shown that oatmeal is a great remedy for dry, itchy, and irritated skin.
The husk of the oat is a very good exfoliator that removes the dead cells from the skin. The starchiness of oat softens your dry skin and helps to keep the moisture content on the skin surface.
Cooked oatmeal is used as a poultice to treat sunburns, rashes, etc. To treat itchy skin, add oatmeal to the bathwater before taking a bath. It can also cure psoriasis and eczema.
Oatmeal is also used as an ingredient in cosmetics. You can find oatmeal on the labels of some face creams or lotions.
5. Reduces the Risk of Cancer
Cancer is a deadly disease and it is common nowadays. Research held in Britain and Netherland has shown that people who had consumed a high fiber diet like oats had lowered the risk of colon cancer.
Oats are boasted with short-chain fatty acids that have anti-cancer properties. It retards the growth of cancer cells in the body and also kills those cells.
6. Controls the Blood Sugar level:
Diabetes is a common disease worldwide. Nearly 6.6% of people in the world have diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is fast increasing, due to the overconsumption of trans fats and processed foods containing sugar. It is mainly caused due to the decreased insulin sensitivity.
Slowly improving insulin sensitivity in the body helps you to overcome this disease. Oats will assist you to get rid of diabetes. Regular exercise, and consuming fiber-rich foods like oats will stabilize the blood sugar level in the body.
7. Relieves Constipation:
Constipation with irregular bowel movements is very common in elderly people. Laxatives are often used to get rid of constipation. A study found that oat bran, which is the outer layer of the grain, can significantly reduce constipation. Oat bran is rich in fiber that helps you to relieve constipation.
8. Best Remedy for Celiac Disease
People who are allergic to gluten and suffering from celiac disease should avoid wheat flour or wheat-based products. Oats are a good alternative for them. Some clinical studies have also found that people suffering from celiac disease can eat a moderate amount of oats. Even children suffering from this disease can also consume oats in a limited amount.
9. Fight Against Free Radicals
Oats are highly rich in antioxidants like Vitamin E helps to fight against the free radicals causing damage. It also enhances your immune system to fight several diseases like cataracts, arthritis, and cancer. Unprocessed oat groats contain the highest amount of Vitamin E.
How to Cook Oats?
There are many varieties of oats available in the market. (For your reference, we’ve explained it above). Their cooking process may also differ. Steel-cut oats, Oat groats, and old-fashioned oats take a long time to cook whereas quick-cooking oats can be made within a short time. So if you want to fasten the cooking process, then you can soak them before cooking.
Most Favorite Oat Recipes:
Oats Milkshake Recipe
- Oats -1/2 cup
- Milk – 1/2 cup
- Peanut Butter – 1/2 cup
- Honey -1/2 tbsp
- Cinnamon -1/2 teaspoon
Method: Add all the ingredients to a mixer and blend it well. Add a pinch of salt to it for a rich taste.
Apple and Cinnamon Oatmeal Recipe
- Oats -1/2 cup
- Milk – 1/2 cup
- Water – 1/2 cup
- Cinnamon – 1/4 teaspoon
- Brown sugar – as required
- Apple – 1 or 2
Method: Boil half cup milk and water along with oats. Let it boil for 2 to 3 minutes. Then add brown sugar, cinnamon, and a pinch of salt to it for taste. Boil it until the oats become softer. Once it is cooked completely, switch off the stove and transfer it to a bowl. Finally, top it off with walnuts and small pieces of apples.
Oatmeal Bars Recipe
- Oats -1/2 cup
- Brown sugar – 1/4 cup
- Peanut butter – 1 tbsp
- Wheat flour – 1/2 cup
- Baking soda – 1/2 teaspoon
- Coconut milk – 1/4 cup
- Salt – 1/8 teaspoon ( as required)
Method: In a bowl, add brown sugar and peanut butter and beat them well. Once beaten, add oats, wheat flour, baking soda, and salt to that mixture. Mix all the ingredients and then add coconut milk to it. Now pour this mixture into a square tin and bake it until it becomes golden at the top.
- Oat flour is used as an alternative to other flours or mixed along with other flours to make pancakes or bread.
- Oatmeal is used as one of the ingredients in some face creams or lotions.
Side Effects of Oats:
In earlier days, oats were not considered to be safe for all, especially celiac patients. Because oats may contain gluten contaminated from other cereals during transportation or milling. But now gluten-free oats are available in the market.
Consuming in moderation is very important. Taking 1/2 cup of oatmeal is good and healthy, but exceeding this limit can cause bloating and gas.
Oats is a nutrient-rich food packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. They’re rich in protein and fiber compared to other whole grains. In addition, Oats contain a unique component called beta-glucan, which is more beneficial to human health.
It reduces your blood sugar level, cholesterol level, and prevents heart diseases. It is also good for skin problems and obesity. So don’t miss this incredibly nutritious food in your diet.
Start your day with oatmeal and stay healthy!!