Oats, probably one of the nutritious whole grain foods, is a perfect alternative to whole meal bread, served during breakfast. It is prepared in a number of ways; served as rolled oats, which is pretty common, instant or steel cut oats, consumers are sure of gaining the maximum vitamin B nutrients and soluble fibers, which help in the formation of strong bones and weight loss.
Known as avena sativa, their scientific name, oats are hardy cereals and they can withstand poor soil conditions, where crops cannot thrive. It is for this reason that oats gain their taste from roasting once harvested and cleaned. Oats trace their ancestry from the wild read oat, popular in Asia and was used for their medicinal purposes. In many Scanadavian countries, the oats were used for both as diet and for commercial purposes. In America, this food was introduced by the Scottish settlers in the 17th century. Today, the European continent is the largest producer and exporter of oats in the world.
Important Facts about Oatmeal
- Oats are naturally gluten free, making it a safe diet for those with celiac diseases or gluten intolerant.
- Oats play part in weight control, as they are quickly digested and absorbed into the body, while also providing the body with valuable nutrients.
- Oats contain soluble fiber, which slows down food digestion, keeping one feeling full for longer while reducing cholesterol.
- Oat is the perfect alternative for wheat, playing part in the improvement of the mucosal lining of the small bowel in children.
Why Are Oats Healthy
Eating foods that are whole grain are high in fiber, hence lowering the risk of digestive complications. In addition, incidences of high blood pressure are lowered making it a healthy food for those who suffer from type 2 diabetes. Whole grain oats have high sodium, iron and magnesium levels which plays part in improving the body’s mineral salts reducing the risk of cardiovascular complications.
Interestingly, oats are part of the paleo diet that plays part in the weight loss. It’s for this reason that oats are eaten in the morning, boiled or with milk, in order to provide the digestive system with fibers that help in reducing hunger pangs in the stomach. A breakfast smoothie, made of fruits, oats and ice will easily fill the stomach in the morning and you will not have to bring snacks around your work desk till lunchtime.
Small Doses of Proteins
Oat meal contain proteins, which play a great role in supporting the healthy cholesterol levels in the heart. Most nutrition experts have recommended oats to be consumed with a dried fruit topping, like a banana and then taken with milk in the cereal bowl.
Oats, high in magnesium, plays part in boosting the body’s enzymes reactions. This helps in the relaxation of blood vessels, preventing heart attack while also boosting energy levels in the long run. This is the reason why oatmeal is consumed in the morning, since this is the time the body needs energy to see it through the day.
Folic Acid for Pregnant Women
This acid plays a great role in preventing birth defects such as spina bifida, which affects the child’s backbone. It’s worth noting that many prenatal supplements contain this acid and oatmeal is not an exception, requiring women to take up to 800grams of folic acid on a daily basis, when they are about to bear a child.
But How Much Oatmeal is good for the Body
While much of the oat is taken for the nutrient purposes, it should be taken in moderation. Inarguably, up to 3 grams of beta-glycan consumed on a daily basis is enough to reduce cholesterol level in the body according to many dietitian studies. This can be found in closer to two cups of oatmeal.
Additionally, oatmeal should be consumed in the morning, together with milk and a fruit toping. This will help in providing the body with maximum health benefits, thanks to the delicious oatmeal. A bowl of warm oatmeal is the most comfortable way of starting the day.
Dangers of Instant Oatmeal
There are a number of reasons why people prefer instant oatmeal to whole grain oatmeal. Among these reasons are time and convenience that come with preparing of this meal. However, instant oats lack much of the nutrition that come with whole meal oats and here is why.
First, instant oatmeal is rolled oats that has been chopped into small flakes, taking up to four minutes in preparation. This cutting and rolling, results to powdered oats, which basically expose the nutrients to excess heat when being cooked, hence denaturing their nutritional value.
Secondly, instant oats have additives with them, such as salt and sugar. This destroys their natural taste, leading to the salty or sugary taste in them. This additives also increases the sodium content in oats.
Instant oats also rank high in the glycemic index, hence raising the blood sugar levels. This forces the pancreases to release more hormones or insulin to refine and combat the high sugar levels in the body.
Last but not least, instant oatmeal contributes to weight gain in the long run. This is because, instant oatmeal is digested quickly resulting to hunger pangs. This prompts one to look for a snack, mostly junk in order to fill the stomach, resulting to weight gain in the long run. If this habit is not checked, it could possibly lead to colon cancer.
Dress Up your Oatmeal
Oatmeal should be made in a friendly and appetizing manner for the whole family. Use toppings such as apples, grapes, bananas, pears or other fruits that are naturally sweet in order to boost the fiber level and taste of the oatmeal. Spices such as cinnamon will play part in improving the natural texture of the breakfast meal. Alternatively, soaking oatmeal overnight, will lessen the burden of preparing the food in the morning.
You also have to know what type of oatmeal is amazing for your family. However, trying a number of mix-ins here and there in order to keep the taste buds happy will not hurt. In the long run, oatmeal will be a better breakfast cereal for your family.
WH Foods – http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=54#historyuse
The Guardian – https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/jan/06/why-oats-are-good-for-you
BodyBuilding – http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/9-ways-to-ruin-perfectly-healthy-oatmeal.html
Everyday Health – http://www.everydayhealth.com/columns/bonnie-taub-dix-nutrition-intuition/reasons-why-you-should-eat-oatmeal-every-day/
The Globe and Mail – http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health-and-fitness/ask-a-health-expert/is-instant-oatmeal-really-that-bad/article582521/