Who doesn’t know oats? This cereal is here to stay and is carving out a place a place for itself at all times of the day, in every meal, and in a huge number of recipes. We’re going to see 5 of the numerous benefits of oats.
What are oats?
Oats are a cereal in the poaceae family. They been grown since antiquity and it is said that the Celts and Germanic tribes were the first to start growing them. This cereal not only has nutritional properties, as we are going to see shortly, it also very well known for its cosmetic properties. The Egyptians, specifically the pharaohs, were some of the first to boil the grains and use the resulting liquid as a body wash. The reason is oat flour absorbs dirt particles and dead skin. Moreover, as it is rich in nutrients, it is ideal for hydrating and nourishing your skin. But what other benefits can we get?
Benefits that oats provide
Source of fibre
Whole grain oats are one of the cereals that contain most fibre: 10% of its weight is fibre. When we talk about fibre it is necessary to distinguish between the two types, as the functions they exercise are different. Insoluble fibre is one type of fibre that boosts bowel transit, whilst soluble fibre absorbs water and increases the bulk of stools. The latter is important because in this way it prevents irritation of the intestinal mucosa and boosts smooth transit.
Oats, alongside barley, are one of the cereals that provide both types of fibre: insoluble and soluble (beta-glucans). This is the reason why oats contribute to the benefits it can give us in bowel transit.
Ideal if you want to lower your cholesterol
Thanks to the benefits of fibre, and its content in unsaturated fatty acids, lecithin, and avenasterol, it is a cereal to consider if we are looking to reduce cholesterol in our blood. But it must be stated that it is not only important to include oats in our diet to control cholesterol, the rest of our food intake must also be balanced and varied to note an improvement in overall cholesterol levels.
The benefits of beta-glucans in oats demonstrated by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) are only present when at least 3g of this substance is ingested. We must increase the amount we eat to improve our cholesterol!
Rich in vegetable proteins
Just as it says. This cereal is one of the most rich in plant-based protein and not only that, but they also have a minimal supply of unsaturated fats, especially, linoleic acid. This gives it the perfect balance to enrich part of our diet with vegetable protein, without worrying about the fat it may provide us.
Cereals contain carbohydrates. Oats, as a cereal, are no different! They contain this characteristically energy-supplying nutrient, specifically, slow absorbing carbohydrates. This type of carbohydrate is absorbed more slowly and this makes its energy supply more gradual, as well as extending the feeling of fullness. Therefore, it is an ideal cereal for athletes and also for people who are doing some type of plan to lose weight, as its filling power helps to keep greater control of hunger.
More benefits of oats: gluten free and digestion
Cooked oats are one of the most used foods for people who have symptoms of stomach irritation or heartburn, given it is a very smooth food and provides some people with a feeling of relief. Furthermore, it is a naturally gluten free cereal, ideal for people with food intolerances or coeliacs, provided it says on the packet that it has not been in contact with other foodstuffs that may contain it.
If we are taking about flavour, it has to be recognised that when a foodstuff is as complete as this one is, if its flavour is not pleasant it’s difficult for it to form part of our dishes. This isn’t the case: oats have a nice, smooth taste. This makes them a very interesting cereal to use in many recipes, both sweet and savoury, as it combines perfectly and may form part of doughs, crepes, and can combine with yoghurts or creamy vegetable soups. It is very versatile!
A recipe to whet your appetite…
What do you think about this idea for oats and pumpkin?
This recipe is designed for 2 people
- One cup of whole grain oats
- 1 onion
- 250g pumpkin
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 bay leaf
- A pinch of cinnamon.
- Soak the oats for 2 hours.
- Cut the onion and fry for 10 minutes in the oil.
- Add the diced pumpkin, the drained oats, the bay, cinnamon to taste, and pour in two cups of boiling water.
- Add a little salt and leave to simmer on a low heat for 50 minutes until all the liquid has evaporated. Voila!
If you also want to add oats at other times of the day, such as breakfast or in a snack, why not do so with some whole grain oaty fruit biscuits? Whilst you enjoy their delicious flavour, you’ll be delightfully recharging your batteries. Remember to pick up yours!