Oats are a whole-grain cereal full-grown for its seeds. Oats are loaded with dietary fibers that can lower the blood cholesterol when consumed regularly. These dietary fibers reduce glucose absorption. Beta glucan, which is a lipid lowering agent is also present in oats. Oats are not only good for our health but also super filling, satisfying and versatile. Oats are rolled or crushed to create oatmeal. Oats is a breakfast staple consumed with milk as a porridge. You can also ground it into oat flour. They have a nutty and grainy texture. An old-fashioned or whole oats look like flat, irregularly round, slightly textured discs. While processing the whole grains of oats are steamed first to make them soft, then pressed to flatten them.
People usually grow oats in the temperate regions. They have a less summer heat demand and a lot of tolerance of rain. So Northwest Europe and even Iceland is famous for oats. Oats are an annual plant, planted in autumn or in the spring.
Must-Known Facts about Oats:
- Oatmeal contains an enormous amount of antioxidants.
- Oatmeal has a soluble fiber called beta-glucan. Beta glucan helps to improve insulin secretion and reduce blood sugar.
- Dietary fibers present in oats makes us feel full for a long time. This helps a person to reduce his weight gradually.
- The fiber in oatmeal can help prevent constipation.
- Oatmeal is great for dry, itchy, irritated skin. Oats have a starchiness that creates a barrier allowing the skin to hold its moisture.
Top 10 Health Benefits of Oats:
Oats is a highly nutritious and extremely healthy whole grain that comes with a load of health benefits. Here are some must-known facts about it:
- Reduces Bad Cholesterol: Oats contain a fiber called beta-glucan, which helps reduce cholesterol levels. Without affecting the levels of good cholesterol, beta-glucan reduces bad cholesterol. Oats can also reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Oats are more effective in lowering cholesterol levels than wheat. Avenanthramides and phenolic acids are the antioxidants that work along with vitamin C to prevent LDL oxidation.
- Regulates Blood Sugar Level: Oats have a low glycemic index. And they are rich in fiber content which helps regulate blood sugar levels. As a result they digest slowly. Foods that digest slowly cause less blood sugar spikes. Oats can also reduce insulin dosages according to a study. Consuming oats has a beneficial effect on the glucose and lipid profiles in patients with type 2 diabetes. A fiber called Beta-glucans present in oats reduces blood sugar concentrations
- Fights Cancer: Oats are rich in antioxidants that help combat cancer. The fibers present in oats can prevent rectal and colon cancers as well. Taking a large bowl of porridge a day can cut the risk of death by cancer by as much as 25 percent. Avenanthramides is a special antioxidant present in oats that possess anti-inflammatory properties. So this compound inhibits the growth of cancer cells without harming the healthy ones.
- Weight Loss: Oats are rich in fiber as we already said. It causes you to feel full for an extended period. As per a study, oats prevent obesity and the distribution of abdominal fat. But purchase plain oats with no added flavors. Because packaged oatmeal has an exorbitant amount of sugar. A diet rich in oats can help reduce body weight. Water present in oatmeal aids weight loss. You can take one cup of oats with a couple of cinnamon sticks, and two liters of water. Blend them altogether. Consume this mixture on an empty stomach for 1-2 month. Then you will see the results.
- Skin Care: Oatmeal soaks up all the excess oil of our skin and helps reduce acne. Oats contain zinc that reduces inflammation and kills the acne-causing germs and bacteria. Boil half a cup of oatmeal in one-third cup of water and allow it to chill. Apply this paste on the affected acne areas on your face. Leave it on for about 15-20 minutes. Rinse it with warm water. Oats also reduces spots and softens the skin. The antioxidants present in oats treat itching associated with dry and irritated skin. Oats also remove the dead skin cells and help to moisturize the skin. It helps to lighten the skin as well.
- For Hair: Oatmeal shampoo treats itchy scalp and prevents excess oil and dirt of the hair. Oats help to treat dandruff and fight to prevent hair loss. Take One tablespoon of oatmeal, fresh milk, and almond milk. Mix all the ingredients together to form a smooth paste. Apply the paste gently to your hair and leave it on for about 15-20 minutes. Rinse with lukewarm water. It will strengthen the hair follicles and will make your hair stronger. This is how oats fight for hair loss and reduce dandruff.
- Improves Immunity: As we know, oats contain beta-glucan. This beta glucan can enhance our immunity levels. Our immune cells have special receptors designed to absorb beta-glucan. This increases the activity of the white blood cells and protects against disease. Beta-glucans also increases the ability of macrophages, neutrophils, and natural killer cells which fight against bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Oats also contain selenium and zinc that play a part in fighting infections.
- Relief from Constipation: Oats have lots of insoluble fiber which help in relieving constipation. These Insoluble fiber is very good for gut health and relieves constipation. Oats can have a protective role against colorectal cancer.
- Improves Bone Health: Oats are rich in silicon. This mineral has a role in bone formation and maintenance. Silicon can help in the treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis.
- Relieve from Symptoms of Menopause: Oats contain a vast amount of fibers. Increased intake of fiber gives relief from irritability caused during menopause. So oats play a significant role here. Oats also contain lignans, which is a type of phytoestrogen. Phytoestrogens have beneficial effects during menopause.
Nutrition Facts of Oats (100gm):
Energy: 380 kcal
- Carbohydrates: 67.75 grams
- Fat: 6.53 grams
- Protein: 13.15 grams
- Thiamine (B1): 0.464 milligrams
- Riboflavin (B2): 0.155 milligrams
- Niacin (B3): 1.13 milligrams
- Pantothenic acid (B5): 1.125 milligrams
- Vitamin B6: 0.1 milligrams
- Folate (B9): 32 micrograms
- Choline: 40.4 milligrams
- Vitamin E: 0.42 milligrams
- Vitamin K: 2.0 micrograms
- Calcium: 52 milligrams
- Iron: 4.26 milligrams
- Magnesium: 138 milligrams
- Manganese: 3.63 milligrams
- Phosphorus: 412 milligrams
- Potassium: 365 milligrams
- Sodium: 6 milligrams
- Zinc: 3.65 milligrams
- β-glucan (soluble fiber): 4 grams
Different Types of Oats:
There are 2 main types of oats. These are (a) Rolled oats and (b)Steel-cut oats.
- Rolled oats: People make rolled oats by steaming the whole grains and pressing them flat with steel rollers. There are 3 kinds of rolled oats found in the supermarket.
- Old-fashioned oats: These are steamed and flattened by the roller. And then flaked. They have the most texture among the 3 types of rolled oats.
- Quick-cooking oats: These are cooked, dried, and cut. Then they are rolled thinner than old-fashioned oats for faster cooking.
- Instant oats: Usually instant oats are cooked and dried before cutting and then rolled thin. Instant oats are the fastest oats of all. But they can be gummy or mushy.
- Steel-cut oats: steel-cut oats aren’t rolled, rather steel blades slice them into coarse nubs, giving them the appearance like cut-up grains of rice. They take longer to cook and their texture may be chewier.
Risks of Consuming Too Much Oats:
Consuming oats in excess can have side effects of whichsome are potentially serious and some merely annoying:
- Eating too much oats can cause intestinal gas and bloating as it is high in fiber.
- If you are avoiding gluten because of celiac disease, then you should be careful while eating oats. Oats may contain gluten because it grows in the same fields where wheat, barley, or rye grows.
- Patients with enterocolitis, Crohn’s disease or diverticulitis must avoid consuming oat bran. Because it is a food susceptible to aggravating these pathologies.
- Patients with iron deficiency anemia should avoid eating oat bran. Because consumption of oat bran products prevents the complete absorption of iron from the intestinal tract to the blood flow.
Best Ways to Eat Oats:
You can eat oats in various delicious ways. Some recipes are-:
- The easiest way to eat oats is to mix it with some warm milk, fresh fruits, nuts and seeds. Just take a bowl of warm milk then add half a cup of dry roasted oats along with some fruits and nuts.
- You can make pancakes with oats. Take a cup of oats with warm milk, some wheat flour, baking powder (1 teaspoon), sugar, cinnamon and a pinch of salt. Now heat two teaspoons of butter on a skillet over medium heat. Then pour about 1/3 cup batter and spread it. Now serve it with some honey and fresh fruits.
- You can make soup with oats. Just cook the oats and stir until toasted. Then combine a few chopped tomatoes, some chopped onions, 4-5 cloves of garlic, 1 cup of water, and some fresh cilantro leaves. Blend them together until smooth. Now, add this paste with the toasted oats and let it come to a boil. Your soup is ready to eat.
- You can make muffins and cookies with oats as well! For preparing muffin take a small bowl, combine milk and oats and let it soak for 15 minutes. Now add egg and oil together and stir in oatmeal mixture. Now in another bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Put the batter into muffin cups until cups are 2/3 full. Now bake it in a preheated oven for 20-25 minutes. Then check with a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin.
How to Select and Store Oats:
Proper selection is necessary to ensure maximum benefits from oats. Nowadays oats are available in containers and in bulk bins.
- while purchasing oats, always look at the ingredients list on the packet. See that the product does not contain salt, sugar, or other additives.
- Always try to buy rolled oats or oatmeal from health shops
- During purchasing from bulk bins, ensure that they are free from debris and moisture.
Proper storage is also a very important factor to ensure oat’s freshness and flavor till you use it. You can keep rolled oatmeal in an airtight container to prevent moisture and vermin intrusion. In addition,
- Store it in a cool, dark container for about three months or refrigerate it for up to six months.
- Oat bran has high oil content. That’s why refrigerate it.
- Keep oat flour in the refrigerator and use it within three months.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Oats:
Question: How are oats made?
Answer: Oatmeal is a porridge made from milled, steel-cut, or rolled oat grains.
Question: Can oats make you fat?
Answer: Eating too much oats can lead to weight gain. It can instantly turn from a slimming breakfast to a blood sugar-spiking food.
Question: Can you eat oats raw?
Answer: Raw oats are safe to eat but it’s better to soak them in water, juice or milk. Dry raw oats can lead to indigestion or constipation.
Question: Can I eat oats with milk for weight loss?
Answer: You can use milk with water to prepare oats in order to make them healthier for your weight loss programme.