Six health benefits of oats

If you’ve been struggling to find a healthy, easy and affordable staple to get you up and going in the mornings, look no further than oats.

Oats are nutrient rich and packed with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Compared to other grains, oats contain a high amount of fibre and protein. Not only are they gluten-free and easy to cook with, oats come with a long list of health benefits.

Rich in antioxidants
Avenanthramides belong to a rare group of antioxidants found almost exclusively in whole oats. They can increase the production of nitric oxide, which helps to dilate blood vessels and may lower blood pressure. Avenanthramides can also have an anti-itching and anti-inflammatory effect.

Packed with nutrients
Oats are a good source of carbs, fibre, protein and healthy fats. Just half a cup of dried oats contains 34 per cent of your recommended daily intake (RDI) of magnesium, 191 per cent of your RDI of manganese, 24 per cent of your RDI of copper, 41 per cent of your RDI of phosphorus, 20 per cent of your RDI of both iron and zinc, 11 per cent of your RDI of folate and 39 per cent of your RDI of vitamin B1 (thiamine). Half a cup of whole oats is also packed with 5g of fat, 8g of fibre, 13g of protein and 51g of carbs.

High in beta-glucan
Beta-glucan is a type of soluble fibre that can help to reduce blood sugar and insulin response. It can reduce bad cholesterol levels, promote the growth of good bacteria in the digestive tract and can help you feel fuller for longer.

Lower risk of heart disease
LDL cholesterol can contribute to the progression of heart disease. This can increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes by damaging tissue and causing inflammation in your arteries.

The beta-glucan in oats has been shown to reduce LDL cholesterol levels and the total amount of cholesterol in the blood. It reduces the amount of circulating cholesterol by increasing the excretion of a cholesterol-rich bile.

According to healthline.com, vitamin C and the antioxidants found in oats work together to help prevent LDL oxidation.

Relief from constipation
Older people are more likely to experience constipation and irregular or infrequent bowel movements. Oat bran, the outer layer of the grain, which is rich in fibre, has been shown to relieve constipation in older people. One study found that oat bran helped to manage constipation and B12 bioavailability in older people who experienced chronic illnesses. Another trial found that after three months of consuming a dessert or soup that contained oat bran each day, the wellbeing of the elderly patients improved. After this trial, 59 per cent of the participants stopped using laxatives.

Weight loss
Eating foods that make you feel full can help you to consume fewer calories throughout the day, resulting in weight loss. The beta-glucan in oatmeal can help you to feel full, and may also promote the release of a satiety hormone in the gut that has been shown to reduce calorie intake and even lower your risk of obesity.

Fitting oats into your diet
So, you’ve heard the health benefits and are converted – welcome to the oat loving community. Luckily, it’s easy to cook with oats. If a simple porridge isn’t your kind of meal, use them in a range of desserts including biscuits, slices and cakes.  

Do you consider yourself an oat lover? How do you like to eat your oats? If you want to share a favourite recipe with other YourLifeChoices readers, please do so in the comment section below.

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Disclaimer: This article contains general information about health issues and is not advice. For health advice, consult your medical practitioner.

Written by Liv Gardiner

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