Diabetes, Heart Disease and Cancer. What positive role can consuming oats play in keeping you healthy?
by Tammy-Lynn McNabb, Holistic Nutritionist, Rogers Foods
We often think of oatmeal as an old-fashioned breakfast our grandparents used to eat. Something cooking on the stovetop served on a hot winter’s day. Oats continue to be a food source recommended by nutritionists and doctors worldwide for its numerous health benefits. Oats are high in the soluble fibre called beta-glucan, with multiple health benefits including reducing cholesterol and blood sugar levels, promoting healthy gut bacteria and increasing feelings of satiety. Oat fibre is like your internal plumber, cleaning your body’s pipes!
1. Oats Are Very Nutritious
The nutrient composition of Oats is highly favourable and is a source of healthy carbs and fibre along with the potent fibre called beta-glucan. Beta-glucans are soluble fibres that come from the cell walls of bacteria, fungi, yeasts, and certain plants. The healthy benefits of this potent fibre have been known to prevent the cholesterol in foods from being absorbed by the body. This, in turn, may reduce the risk of heart disease. Beta-glucans have also been known to stimulate the immune system, increasing the chemicals that prevent infections.
If you have issues with high cholesterol or heart disease, or this is something that runs in your family, you should be proactive with your health by including oats in your diet! Those affected by diabetes or eczema should consider incorporating oats in their diet for their health benefits as well.
Oats are loaded with vitamins, minerals and antioxidant plant compounds.
Half a cup (78 grams) of dry oats contains:
- Manganese: 191% of the RDI
- Phosphorus: 41% of the RDI
- Magnesium: 34% of the RDI
- Copper: 24% of the RDI
- Iron: 20% of the RDI
- Zinc: 20% of the RDI
- Folate: 11% of the RDI
- Vitamin B1 (thiamin): 39% of the RDI
- Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid): 10% of the RDI
- 51 grams of carbs, 13 grams of protein, 5 grams of fat and 8 grams of fibre, and 303 calories. Oats are amongst the most nutrient-dense foods you can eat.
2. Whole Oats Are Rich in Antioxidants, Including Avenanthramides
We often hear the buzzword ‘antioxidants’ and consume foods rich in them. But what are antioxidants, and why should they be part of your diet? Antioxidants are molecules that fight free radicals in your body. Free radicals cause damage if their levels become too high in your body. Linked to multiple illnesses like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, consuming foods rich in antioxidants should be a priority for anyone wanting to combat disease through the foods they eat!
Whole oats are high in antioxidants, and beneficial plant compounds called polyphenols. Found almost solely in oats, this unique group of antioxidants called avenanthramides has been known to help lower blood pressure levels by increasing the production of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is a gas molecule that helps dilate blood vessels and leads to better blood flow, thus lowering the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
3. Oats Lower Cholesterol Levels and Protect LDL Cholesterol From Damaging the Heart
Years of studies indicate that heart disease is the leading cause of death globally. One significant risk factor is high blood cholesterol. Multiple global studies indicate that beta-glucan fibre effectively reduces both total and LDL cholesterol levels. LDL, the bad cholesterol, produces inflammation in arteries, raising the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
So what are you waiting for? Oats have made an impressive comeback in the health and wellness arena. So much so and on such an exceptional level that everyone should consider incorporating this healthy grain into their diet as a preventative ingredient in combating so many potential life-threatening illnesses!
- Anti-oxidants explained simple – https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/antioxidants-explained#what-they-are
- Science Direct – Oat Antioxidants – https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0733521000903497
- 9 Health Benefits of Eating Oats and Oatmeal – https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/9-benefits-oats-oatmeal
- WebMD- Beta-Glucans – Uses, side effects and more. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-1041/beta-glucans
- OMGFacts – 4 Health Benefits of Oat Fibre – http://omgfacts.com/4-health-benefits-of-oat-fiber/
- Nutritional advantages of oats and opportunities for its processing as value-added foods – a review – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4325078/