What are Oats and Their Health Benefits

What are Oats and Their Health Benefits

Consumed for a long time in the form of flakes in Anglo-Saxon countries, oats are coming back to the fore thanks to their many virtues, particularly in cholesterol and insulin. Discover its health benefits.

Oats: what are they?

Only recently, oats have found a prominent place in our diet. This cereal was reserved for horse feed in France and England for a long time. Moreover, legend has it that the English looked down on this cereal and snubbed the Scots, who already used it in their diet. One found in a famous English dictionary of 1755 this definition: ” Oats: cereal which the Scots consume, but which the English give only to their horses. ” With the repartee that characterizes them, the Scots found this word: ” That’s why England has such good horses and Scotland, such admirable men!”.

Beyond the anecdote, the fact remains that since then, various studies conducted on the subject have demonstrated the real benefits of oat consumption on our health: anti-cholesterol, satietogenic, anti-kilos, and it even improves transit.

The characteristics of oats

This vegetable plant is:

  • Rich in dietary fiber;
  • Rich in vitamins and minerals (iron, calcium, phosphorus, Manganese, magnesium…);
  • Source of carbohydrates;
  • It promotes satiety and intestinal transit;
  • It contains gluten.
  • Oats are, therefore, a particularly good health food: they help to Replenish energy, combat fatigue, and promote weight loss. But Beware: oatmeal must be eaten raw to maintain its glycemic index. Once cooked, they heat up, and their glycemic index skyrockets.

The different forms of oats

On supermarket shelves, oats can be found in the form of:

  1. Oatmeal: this is the whole grain, stripped of its husk;
  2. Flakes: these are entire cereal grains, shelled and then steamed;
  3. Bulgur: these are minced, pre-steamed, and dried groats;
  4. Flour: it results from the milling and sifting of oats;
  5. Bran: it is obtained after grinding and sifting oat flakes;
  6. Milk: it is received by mixing soaked oat flakes and water;
  7. Cream: like flour, it results from the grinding and sifting of oats.

Oats: nutritional values ​​for a portion of 100 gr

Proteins – 16.9

Lipids – 6.9

Carbohydrates – 55.7

Water – 8.22

calories – 378

How to choose the right oats?

More than 30 varieties of oats are grown, some spring and others autumn. Old-fashioned flakes are the go-to, but if you’re rushed in the morning and every minute counts, you’re better off choosing quick-cooking oats.

Whatever its form (bran, flour, whole or crushed grains, oat flakes…), organic oats are the best option and can be purchased in organic stores.

Note: Beware processed products, including breakfast cereals, containing sugar, hydrogenated oils, preservatives, artificial flavors, colorings, and other low-nutrient additives.

Oats: how to prepare them?

Recipes ingredients cooking

They are therefore incorporated as such into preparations before cooking (in pastry, for example), or they are cooked (as for risotto or breadcrumbs). They can also swell (as for porridge or pancakes).

Flour and flakes can replace in whole or in part white flour or whole wheat flour in bread, muffins, pies, cakes, pizza dough…

Granola, muesli, porridge… Consuming oat flakes for breakfast is a balanced, energizing, and satiating option to get the day off to a good start!

You can also accompany them with a dairy product (yogurt, cottage cheese, cow’s milk, vegetable milk, etc.), making them more tender.

Oats: what health benefits?

Oats are a good source of fiber. 

What currently makes oats so famous is their insoluble fiber! With an exceptional content of 8.4 g per 100 g, oats affect transit. Once in the body, these fibers swell and have a satietogenic effect which limits nibbling and, therefore, weight gain.

In addition, oats would also have a preventive effect on certain digestive cancers 1, including colon cancer, even if their role in treatment is still controversial.

Be careful to favor oat flakes over oat bran, as they are aggressive on the intestine. The dietary intake of bran must always be done very gradually. Oat bran is any way to be avoided in children under 5 years old and older at risk of disturbing their digestion. In the latter, staying within 3 tablespoons of bran daily is advisable.

The consumption of oats, in any form, must necessarily be accompanied by a large quantity of water because it absorbs all the liquids present!

Oats to lower cholesterol

It is the ideal breakfast cereal in flake form because its profile has nothing to do with fake processed grains, usually fatty and sugary.

Very rich in fiber and particularly well supplied with beta-glucan, a soluble fiber, oats would help reduce blood cholesterol levels.

Moreover, since 1997 and based on various studies on the subject, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA, an American organization equivalent to ANSES and Afssaps) authorizes two claims relating to the hypocholesterolemic properties of oats and in particular on the fact that as part of a healthy diet, soluble fiber can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.

In fact, according to current knowledge, beta-glucan, as well as the other soluble fibers present, would act by trapping part of the dietary cholesterol, which will then be excreted instead of absorbed. Moreover, it has been shown that a daily consumption of 6 g of beta-glucan for 6 weeks would significantly reduce total and LDL cholesterol levels in hypercholesterolemic subjects. More generally, other studies have shown the benefit of regular consumption of beta-glucan on cholesterolemia.

So feel free to have a bowl of oatmeal every morning or 3 tablespoons spread over salads, yogurts, or vegetables.

Oats for beautiful skin

Like any cereal, oats are well supplied with B vitamins, useful for maintaining nerve cells. It also has the merit of being a mine of minerals: potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, and iron.

Finally, oats have been used for centuries for their benefits to the skin. Already, Romans and Greeks took oatmeal baths to hydrate, soothe and repair their damaged skin. Today, many products, including skin creams in drugstores, are made from oats. These properties are due, in particular, to its high vitamin E content. This antioxidant vitamin protects the cells and is found in the germ.

And there is no need to go to specialized stores to find it; supermarkets and supermarkets also sell it in the form of seeds and flakes. But for organic or other specific products (there are, for example, oatmeal cookies), you will find what you are looking for in health food or organic stores!

Also Read: How to Follow a Healthy Lifestyle

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