It’s Friday so you know what time it is – Health and Wellness Fridays, of course !!!! Today, I’m bringing centre stage, oats.
Oats or (Avena sativa) are a cereal that is commonly eaten in the form of oatmeal or rolled oats. When I think of oats, it always takes me back to my childhood when my dad would make porridge. It was delicious and we could not get enough. Over the years however, I’ve learnt that oats has more to offer than just a bowl of delicious porridge.
We can use it in our baked goods like bread and cookies, some even add oats to smoothies and snacks. Oats are even added to non-food items like bathing soap and skin care products like facial mask and other skin treatments. Not only are oats versatile but they are inexpensive and good for you.
Oats are rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. They are an excellent source of manganese and molybdenum and are a very good source of phosphorus. If you’re looking for a good source of magnesium, dietary fiber, biotin, vitamin B1, copper, chromium, zinc and protein with smaller amounts of calcium, potassium, vitamin B6 and vitamin B3 then you’re in the right place.
Let’s take a look at some of the possible health benefits of using oats below:
- May reduce the risk of coronary heart disease
- Lower blood pressure
- May reduce the risk of colorectal cancer
- Relieve constipation
- May help prevent diabetes
- Boost energy levels
- Lower cholesterol
- Assist in hemoglobin formulation
- May reduce risk for breast cancer
- Help with weight loss
- Decrease the risk of asthma in children
- Promotes good vision
- Assist with estrogen balance
- Enhance immune response to infection
- Ward off muscle disorders
- Help prevent migraines
- Fights anemia
- Treatment of acne
- Treatment of PMS
- Soothes eczema
- Reduce risk of stroke
- Assist in brain function
Now, who would have thought something so simple could offer so many benefits to the human body. You are probably wondering what type of oats or oatmeal to buy and if there is any difference. Well, yes there are some differences.
Some popular oat varieties include:
Rolled Oats: they are large, round and flat in appearance. They cook faster than steel-cut oats. This is most commonly used in baked goods and porridge.
Instant oats: they cook faster than all the other varieties because they have been pre-steamed and cut into tiny pieces. They often appear mushy in texture once cooked.
Steel-cut oats: are small and almost resembles rice. This type of oat has a longer cook time but they keep their shape.
So with that said, the type of oats you buy would depend on how you plan to use it because different oatmeal carry different shelf lives, different cooking times and different nutritional value. I can’t stress enough how important it is to read the labels of the products you buy. For a healthier option, it is recommended that you avoid prepackaged, flavoured oatmeal and opt for the organic, bagged oatmeal.
Possible Side Effects
- Although oats don’t contain gluten, in rare cases they are grown in the same fields as wheat or barley and these crops can sometimes contaminate oats with gluten. Thus, anyone with a gluten intolerance may as a result respond poorly to oats.
- Some have cited bloating and intestinal gas as a side effect of taking oatmeal.
- Flavoured, prepackaged oatmeal may contribute to an increased risk of diabetes (due to high volumes of sugar).
In closing, the potential benefits to be derived from oats are amazing. My preference is definitely rolled oats because I like the consistency. As always, I recommend using in moderation and not in isolation. Remember, it is our overall diet and eating patterns that will help us prevent disease and achieve optimal health.
Thanks for stopping by. Have a great day and a wonderful weekend. 🙂