As a registered dietitian, I am frequently questioned about the foods that are on my list of favorites. When I talk about eating, I invariably bring up oats. The consumption of oats as a morning food is quite popular. In the event that I am feeling down in the morning, my go-to breakfast is a bowl of hot oatmeal topped with nuts and berries. Having a texture that is both mushy and meaty brings me comfort. The benefits of oats, however, extend far beyond the realm of comfort. According to research, individuals who consume a greater quantity of whole grains, such as oats, have a 21 percent lower chance of developing cardiovascular disease compared to those who consume only a little number of these grains. Several other studies have found that consuming an additional serving or two of whole grains may help lower your LDL cholesterol, also known as “bad” cholesterol. So, what is it about oats that makes them so special?
What exactly are oats?
Seeds of oat grass are what we know as oats. The seed, including the bran, which contains the majority of the dietary fiber; the germ, which is rich with vitamins and minerals; and the endosperm, which contains the starch are the components that make up grain products that are considered to be whole grains.
Additionally, oats are milled into flour for use in breads, cereals, and pasta. Additionally, they are rolled into flakes and used as an ingredient in baked goods such as cookies, scones, and muffins. Oats are typically consumed as a breakfast item. In addition, oats can be combined with water to produce oat milk, which is a non-dairy beverage that is rich and creamy.
Every serving of 40 grams of oats contains two hundred and fifty calories, five grams of protein, two and a half grams of fat, and four grams of dietary fiber. Oats are an extremely healthy food.
Wellness advantages of oats
It’s possible that you’ve heard that eating whole grains can provide a number of health benefits, such as lowering cholesterol levels, helping you maintain a healthy weight, and lowering your chance of developing cancer and cardiovascular disease. This article provides additional details on a few of the health benefits that oats offer.
Protect the health of your heart.
What is it about oats that makes them so unique that they are one of the foods that has been studied the most in terms of their impact on the health of the heart? One form of soluble fiber that may be found in oats is called beta-glucan, and it is where the secret resides. When soluble fiber is dissolved in water, it transforms into a gel and functions as a sponge, absorbing cholesterol and fats from the bloodstream so that they can be eliminated through the body rather than being absorbed. According to the findings of a study, consuming three grams of beta-glucan derived from whole oats has the potential to lower total cholesterol by twelve points. There are two grams of soluble fiber in every forty-gram meal of oats, and beta-glucan makes up the majority of the soluble fiber. If you consume 1.5 servings of oats on a regular basis, you may be able to benefit from the cholesterol-lowering characteristics of oats.
Raise the level of blood sugar
The soluble fiber found in oats has the ability to balance your blood sugar levels by reducing the pace at which glucose, which is the fundamental component of carbs, is absorbed into your body. If you practice this, you will reduce the likelihood of experiencing rapid spikes and drops in the level of sugar in your blood.
In order to keep a healthy waistline
In addition, a study that was conducted not too long ago at Tufts University found that consuming whole grains like oats may assist in the maintenance of a healthy waistline. According to the findings of the study, if an individual decreased their consumption of refined grains, which are grains that have had their bran and germ removed, and increased their consumption of whole grains over time, they would have a smaller increase in their waistline.
The capacity of the soluble fiber to take in water gives rise to the possibility that this effect is explained. A satiating effect is produced, in which you may experience a feeling of fullness sooner as a result of including whole grains into your meals and snacks, which in turn allows you to consume smaller portions of food.
Types of oats
However, it is important to keep in mind that consuming 1.5 servings of oats just once is probably not going to accomplish all of the health benefits. On the other hand, if you follow the guidelines from The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025 and consume between 25 and 38 grams of dietary fiber on a daily basis, including whole grains, vegetables, and fruits, you will have the best possible chance of decreasing your cholesterol levels.
Oats are available in a wide range of types, and their digestibility and palatability are affected by the degree to which they are processed. With oats that have undergone less processing, the amount of time needed for cooking increases.
Oat groats undergo the least amount of processing, with only the outer hull being removed. Before being cooked, they need to be soaked because of their chewy texture on their own.
With the exception of the fact that they are chopped into two to three pieces, steel-cut oats are very similar to oat groats. In the same way as the groats, they have a chewy consistency and need to be soaked and cooked for a longer period of time.
Rolled oats are processed differently than steel-cut oats. Rather than cutting into pieces, they are steamed, pressed with a roller and then dried. Because of their shape, preparation time is reduced significantly with no soaking required. Unlike steel-cut oats, rolled oats provide a creamy texture.
In order to further reduce the amount of time required for cooking, quick-cooking oats are rolled oats that have been sliced into smaller flakes.
Oat groats that have been cooked and dried form the basis for instant oats, which are then sliced into thin flakes. When combined with a hot liquid, the oats become more pliable due to the fact that they are cooked throughout the processing process. Despite the fact that instant oats are convenient, many of the variations that are available feature sugar and salt added to them. However, you should select one that is low in sugar and salt, one that is flavorless, or one that does not include any added sugar or salt. By making this choice, you will have the ability to incorporate your own items, such as frozen fruits, unsalted nuts and seeds, and so on.
The only component of oat bran, on the other hand, is the outer layer that is found on the groat. It has a hue that is somewhere between medium brown and rich, and it has a high fiber content. One serving, which is half a cup, contains 116 calories, 8 grams of protein, and 7 grams of dietary fiber.
You can increase the amount of fiber that is contained in your cereal by adding a spoonful or two of oat bran to your existing cereal or to the smoothie that you enjoy the most. You may also use oat bran to enhance the amount of fiber that is contained in the breads and cakes that you make at home.
Oats have the ability to regulate your blood sugar level; nevertheless, it is important to bear in mind that the effects of oats on your blood sugar can vary depending on the type of oats that you consume. If the oats have been processed as little as possible, then their glycemic index will be lower. The glycemic index is a measurement that determines how quickly or slowly food is digested, which ultimately leads to an increase in the amount of sugar in the blood. The glycemic index of oat groats and steel-cut oats is lower than that of rolled oats and instant oats. This is because the digestion and release of the glycemic index into the bloodstream takes longer for the former two types of oats.
There are various health benefits associated with oats, including a reduction in cholesterol levels. Oats are a complete grain. They are so adaptable that you can consume them in their own or include them into a broad variety of other recipes. Begin to take pleasure in oats right away! For your convenience, we have provided you with these recipes that you may cook with a package of oats.