Health Benefits of Oats
Ever wonder what could be the best breakfast you could make yourself? Something that would be easy on the stomach, nice to the taste buds, and nourishing at the same time? We already know the answer and think you should too. It's none other than our very beloved oats. A whole-grain cereal that has gained immense popularity in the past few decades for its high nutritional value and how quick it is to make. Oats are high in fiber, minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants, which has rendered them as one of the healthiest foods to consume. They are available in different varieties and used for multi-purposes such as cereals, porridges, oatmeal, pancakes, oats roti, so on and so forth.
In the current article, we discuss the nutrition facts of oats, the various health benefits that are associated with oats, different types of oats, and ways in which oats are cooked.
Let us begin by discussing the nutrition facts of raw oats, including their calorie count, key micronutrients, minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. The table below is based on the nutritional value of 100 grams of raw oats:
Energy (per 100 g)
Vitamin A, Vitamin B-6
Calcium, Iron, Magnesium
Oats are quite high in carb content that is further categorized into fiber and starch. They are low in sugar, and the starch in carbs makes the process of absorption slow, leading to healthy digestion and an improved gut system.
Other than the basic constituents that are carbohydrates, oats are also rich in protein, fiber, and fats. These three essential nutrients work together in the system, ensuring plenty of health benefits to the body.
Another aspect that makes oats highly nourishing is the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants they contain. Oats are packed with minerals such as manganese, phosphorus, copper, iron, magnesium, selenium, zinc, vitamin A, vitamin B, and B6. All these compounds are responsible for different functions in the body, including development, metabolism, growth, bone health, heart health, chemical reactions, and immunity system of the body. These processes are essential to a healthy functioning body, and the combination of different micro and macronutrients in oats ensures that our body gets ample energy and nourishment while maintaining a safe distance from diseases that may occur as a result of lack of any of the essential compounds that it gets from food.
Health Benefits of Oats
An overview of the nutrition info of oats shows that the grain is wholesome in its nature. It is a source of numerous health benefits that we can take advantage of. Just like any other whole-grain cereal, oats target each and every system of the body due to the abundance of nourishing substances that it contains and provides the following health benefits among many others:
- Defense Against Celiac Disease
Oats are a naturally gluten-free grain that helps the body fight against celiac disease. Celiac disease is largely linked to our immune system, and any dysfunction to part of the immune system may lead to certain health conditions such as celiac disease, a condition in which the body is unable to process gluten in the food, leading to a damaged small intestine. Although found in whole grains, oats are one such type of grain that does not contain gluten, which makes them a desirable food choice for people with celiac diseases. They are also good for those who have a sensitivity to gluten and wish to avoid foods that contain gluten in any form.
- Aid in Weight Loss and Maintenance
When it comes to losing weight the effective way, the most important aspect that is considered is to consume low or reasonable calories but high energy foods. Oats contain certain properties that make them an ideal option for people looking forward to losing weight. Firstly, oats contain dietary fiber, an essential nutrient that has the ability to make the body feel full for a longer time and keep the cravings at bay. Then, the process of digestion takes longer when you consume oats, and the other nutrients it provides are also friendly for your weight loss regimen. Overall, various studies have shown that a daily intake of oats along with other healthy food combinations leads to effective weight loss and weight management.
- Promotes Good Heart & Muscle Health
Oats are a rich source of the essential mineral magnesium, a key constituent involved in carrying out enzymatic functions in the body. Magnesium is involved in the production of energy in the body; it helps in the prevention of related heart diseases and strokes by keeping the blood vessels relaxed. Another important function that magnesium plays is to keep the muscles in good health and regulate blood pressure. When the body gets enough magnesium, it is able to manage the use of glucose and secrete insulin, two extremely significant processes of the body. Hence, the daily use of oats may provide your body with ample amounts of magnesium that is required to carry out the core functions of our system.
- Prevents Constipation & Diabetes
The fiber in oats is significant as it is responsible for carrying out a whole host of functions that our body relies on for good health. For example, the fiber in oats helps to regulate bowel movement, an essential process for the excretion of waste materials. As a result of smooth bowel movement, oats help in the prevention of constipation and regulates the stool that passes out of the body. The high fiber content of oats also makes them beneficial for the blood sugar levels of our body and helps to reduce the risk of type-2 diabetes. With the help of fiber that oats contain, the conversion of food into sugars slows down, hence helping to keep the blood sugar levels low. In short, oats are up to a lot of good.
The content of antioxidants present in oats are beneficial for the health of the human heart; they provide an essential boost to the immunity system that, in turn, fight against many diseases such as cancer, hypertension, diabetes, celiac disease, and provides nourishment to every vital bodily function that takes place.
Types of Oats
The differences in the types of oats lie in the processes they go through after the crops are harvested from the field. The rawest form of oats is whole oats that are simply extracted after the harvesting process takes place. These oats take the longest to cook, and the grain looks similar to a grain of rice. Some other types of oats that are popularly used are:
When the whole oat groat is cut into smaller pieces of two or three, they are known as steel-cut oats. They are named steel-cut because they are cut using a sharp metal blade. Steel-cut oats are easier to cook as compared to whole oats and are used for making oat cereal, porridges, etc.
Rolled oats are made by steaming the whole oat groats and then rolling them in the form of flakes. The process allows rolled oats to cook quicker than whole oats and steel-cut oats. Rolled oats are popularly used for making overnight oats, which are eaten the next day for breakfast. Usually, rolled oats are mixed with different fruit toppings to make them tastier and increase the nutrition of the meal.
The traditional Scottish way of stone-grinding the oats result in tiny bits of oats that we know as Scottish oatmeal. This type of oats is perfect for making porridge as it tends to make the porridge creamier than the one that we get from steel-cut oats. It all depends on the way the oats are processed.
As the name suggests, oat flour is obtained by finely grinding oats in the form of flour. The flour is used for baking, making tortillas, thickening of soups and stews.
How to Cook Oats
Oats are used in all kinds of sweet and savory foods. They are conventionally used in breakfast in the form of oatmeal or porridge with a combination of fruits and nuts. Other than the traditional use of oats, there is a large variety of food items that can be made from oats such as:
- Oats granola bars
- Oats pancakes
- Oats roti
- Oats smoothies
- Oats muffins
- Oats banana bread
And the list goes on.
Oats have gained much popularity over the past few decades for the variety of foods that can be made using this simple, affordable, yet healthy whole-grain cereal. Packed with innumerable vitamins, minerals, and other macronutrients, oats are a great source of energy that also keeps certain bodily functions in check. They not only taste great but can be made in sweet and savory flavors while your body enjoys a boost in the immunity system that helps it fight against diseases.