What are oats?
Oats are whole grain food that is commonly eaten as breakfast. They are scientifically known as Avena sativa. It is perceived they originated in Canada and United States. It is an incredibly healthy food which contains essential vitamins, minerals and fiber. It is a favorite of many as it is gluten free. It is normally taken in the form of oatmeal, which an oat-based porridge. This porridge is made by boiling oats in milk or water. Oatmeal is the processed form of oats which is easier to cook.
They usually start out as whole groat-oats which are processed differently. Their processing involves heating and cooling to give them a pleasant flavor. There are several types of oatmeal like regular oats and quick oats which require shorter time to prepare. Oats are usually included in baked products such as muffins, cupcakes, cookies and in protein bars. Oats have many health benefits some of which have been sampled in this essay.
Benefits of oats
Oats are believed to aid in weight loss
Weight problem affects many people globally. Oats are full of whole grains which can makes one fuller for longer periods. It does so by slowing down the emptying of the stomach which is an effect of the chemical beta glucan present in oats. This in turn helps one to eat lesser food thereby controlling weight in the long run as binging is reduced. The whole grain provides that satisfying effect that comes with carbohydrates. One can benefit in weight management with oats if they consumed plain oats without additional sugar flavorings. They can be served with almonds, strawberries and raspberries as a healthy breakfast. While eating a filling food may help one eat fewer calories and thereby lose weight, one should be mindful of portions they consume. There is no magic when it comes to losing weight and oats shouldn’t be expected to perform miracles.
Oats help relieve constipation.
Constipation is troubled bowel movement often experienced by some people. It is especially associated with old age, lack of exercise and sometimes poor diets. Oats can help relieve the symptoms of constipation as they are rich in fiber. The outer covering of oats known as oat bran is full of fiber. This fiber which is insoluble increases the volume of stool and eases its movement in the tract. When oats are consumed frequently, elderly people do not have to take laxatives to ease constipation.
Oats are very nutritious
Oats are a super healthy food. They contain carbohydrates and beta glucan, a very important fiber. This fiber is soluble and forms a gel like substance when digested. They also contain numerous vitamins, minerals and antioxidants including manganese, phosphorous, magnesium, iron, copper, folate, zinc, thiamin and pantothenic acid. Oats contain more fat and protein than most grains. Oats have a protein composition similar to that of legumes and are safe for celiac disease patients who are intolerant to gluten. They do not contain the immunogenic epitopes present in wheat barley and rye.
Oats lower blood cholesterol and stabilize blood sugar
Oats are rich in both soluble and insoluble fiber. The soluble fiber, beta glucan, lowers blood cholesterol and the risk of heart disease as it has plenty of antioxidants. The antioxidants prevent free radicals from destroying the good cholesterol thereby reducing chances of cardiovascular disease. It also stabilizes the blood glucose making it a healthy food option for diabetics. Oats make the stomach contents thicker thereby making digestion slower. Slow digestion prevents blood sugar from spiking instantly which is harmful for diabetics. Flavored and sugar enhanced oats should be avoided as the sugar in them would be counterproductive.
Oats can be utilized in skin care regimes
Finely ground oats have been incorporated in many skin care products. When applied topically, oats have been found to have a range of benefits. For starters, oats may help prevent acne and tone complexion. Oat bran can soak up excess oil on the face when applied as a thick paste on the face for a few minutes and then rinsed off. This is because they contain chemical compounds known as saponins that cleanse and remove oil from skin pores gently without irritating the skin. When this thick oat bran paste is used as a scrub, one is able to achieve an evenly toned soft skin devoid of blackheads and acne. This paste can be made by adding water to finely ground oat bran. Additional ingredients like raw honey, milk and an essential oil of choice can be added to the paste. Industrially, oats are used in products like soaps, scrubs and exfoliating facial creams. Oats contain zinc that reduces inflammation and kills acne causing germs. They also contain antioxidants that treat itchy irritated dry skin.
Oats strengthen our immune system
Oats contain beta glucan which is responsible for defending the body’s immune cells. The immune cells have special receptors that are designed to absorb beta glucan. Beta glucan pushes neutrophils when the body has an infected area and destroys any harmful bacteria present. Oats contain zinc and selenium that perform microbial cleaning and makes healing quicker. Consumption of oats from earlier years has been linked to a reduced risk of asthma as they have anti inflammatory properties. One study has revealed that babies fed with oats within the first six months had a very low risk of contracting childhood asthma. During extremely intense treatment options like radiation or chemotherapy, consumption of oats significantly improves body immunity.
Oats help stabilize blood pressure
Consumption of diets high in fiber like oats can help in maintaining a healthy blood pressure and cholesterol. Oats contain high levels of fiber, calcium and potassium all of which have been observed to effectively lower blood pressure.
Calcium and potassium supplements are used to prevent hypertension and to a smaller extent reduce blood pressure of those already having hypertension. Consuming oats daily greatly improve one’s overall intake of calcium and potassium thereby helping manage and prevent high blood pressure.
Oats help fight and prevent cancer
Oats are very rich in antioxidants which are very helpful in combating cancer. Consumption of fiber rich foods reduces the risk of colon, rectal and bowel cancers. Avenanthramides present in oats possess anti-inflammatory properties that strengthen the body’s defense mechanism and inhibit growth of cancer cells.
Oats are a great energy boost and improve sleep quality
Oats have been referred to as a feel-good food. They contain carbohydrates that are the bodies main source of energy. Couple this with the fact that they are absorbed slowly in the body and we have a super food.The beta glucan present in oats forms a thick gel after mixing with water. This gel slows down digestion in the stomach and the absorption of sugar into the blood stream.Oats contain vitamins and minerals like manganese, iron and the b vitamins that aid the energy production process. All these nutrients ensure a steady energy supply all day long.
Amino acids in oats help in the production of melatonin, a chemical that induces sleep. Although oats are usually taken as breakfast, they can also make a wonderful night time snack. Oats are rich in in vitamin B6 which helps reduce
Combining oats with milk and bananas can further help your body relax. The carbohydrates in oats also do release serotonin, hormone that reduces stress and calms you down.