Since I am very much in the mood for eating oats, I did a google search on oats health benefits today. The information that I gathered from the internet was impressive, which makes me want to eat more oats! 🙂
Here’s what I found from some health-related websites and I have summarized the health benefits below:
Health benefits of eating oats:
Oats may boosts immune system
Oatmeal’s beta-gluten fiber does more than protect your heart. Beta-gluten can also amp up our immune systems and help fight bacterial infections by helping non-specific immune cells called neutrophils (our body’s first line of defense against pathogens) quickly locate and heal infected tissues.
Oats may help reduce cholesterol.
Among all grains, oats have the highest proportion of soluble fibre. This gel-like fibre transits your intestinal tract and may help trap substances associated with high blood cholesterol. Studies show that people with high blood cholesterol who eat just 3 g of soluble fibre per day can reduce their total cholesterol by 8% to 23% (remember that one cup of oats yields 4 g)!
Oats are diabetes-friendly.
For the same reason that the fibre in oats helps to stave off hunger, it also helps to steady the levels of glucose in the bloodstream. People with diabetes especially benefit from this awesome oat trait. Most people need about 26 g to 35 g of fibre per day, but those with diabetes need upwards of 50 g. A fibre-filled bowl of oats can provide some of the much needed nutrient. Just be sure not to tip the balance by adding too much sugar or other blood glucose-spiking toppers to your oats.
Oats support healthy digestion.
The insoluble fibre in oats scrubs through the intestines, moving food along and helping to prevent constipation. Also, people with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) who follow a diet higher in fibre and lower in total fat may experience fewer symptoms of GERD, such as heartburn.
Oats can shield your skin.
At some point in human history, someone discovered how nice it felt to apply oats to dry, itchy, irritated skin. Moms have been stirring raw oats into hot baths for generations to soothe children’s chickenpox symptoms, and many people make DIY facial masks by blending oatmeal with yogurt and honey. The starchiness of oats creates a barrier that allows the skin to hold its moisture, while the rougher fibrous husk of the oat acts as a gentle exfoliant.
Oats may reduce the risk of coronary artery disease.
A study titled “Oats at 10 Years”, published in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, found that eating foods rich in whole-oat sources of soluble fiber (oats, oat bran, and oat flour) may help reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.
Oats may help lower the risk of colorectal cancer.
Researchers in Britain and the Netherlands pooled published evidence that covered nearly 2 million people to evaluate whether a high fiber diet (mainly from whole grains and cereals like oats) is linked to a lower risk of colorectal cancer.
The study found that for every additional 10g of fiber in someone’s diet there is a 10% reduction in their risk of developing colorectal cancer.
Oats may help lower blood pressure
An article published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded that a diet which includes plenty of whole-grains (such as oats or wholemeal bread) is just as effective as taking anti-hypertensive medication in lowering blood pressure.
Oats may prevent breast cancer
Studies have shown that a diet rich in fiber can protect against breast cancer, particularly if the fiber comes from whole grains. A UK Women’s Cohort Study found that pre-menopausal women who ate fiber from whole grains had a 41 percent less risk of developing breast cancer, while fiber sourced from fruit only offer a 29 percent reduction rate.
Oats are an affordable and nutrient-dense food that can be used in many ways. Beyond the breakfast bowl, oats can be added to cookies, breads, pancakes, or stuffing; sprinkled atop fruit cobblers or crumbles; plopped into a smoothie to boost its fibre and bulk; and grounded to make flour for baking. Anywhere you need a little texture, a little extra oomph, turn to oats. And oatmeal itself comes in several varieties (i.e., slower-cooking steel-cut, old-fashioned rolled oats, or quick “instant” oats) and can be dressed with fresh berries, bananas, honey, seeds, or nuts.
Risks and precautions
Although oats don’t contain gluten, in rare cases they are grown in the same fields as wheat or barley and these crops can sometimes contaminate oats with gluten. Therefore, those who suffer from gluten intolerance may have to exercise caution when eating oats.
Despite all of oats’ virtues, not everyone should eat them. If you have celiac disease, be warned – though oats may not be completely off-limits, some oat products are contaminated with wheat. Check with your doctor before deciding to try oats or oatmeal.
Oats fill you up. For all that nutritional intensity, one cup of plain, whole grain, cooked oats will only cost you 147 calories. But it’s not the calories in oatmeal that fill you up – it’s the fibre. In addition, the grain falls on the low end of the glycemic index (GI), which is a ranking of how carbohydrates affect your blood sugar levels. When you eat oats, your body will digest and absorb them slowly, keeping you feeling full, controlling your appetite, and delaying hunger pangs.