Oats are so delicious and versatile and come with a multitude of health benefits, which is why they are without a doubt my ‘go to’ grain. What’s more, due to their low cost and their quick preparation time, they are on the menu for me (and my family) many days of the week.

This powerhouse grain is the key ingredient to a remarkable amount of different recipes, from warming bowls of oatmeal to gooey flapjacks and refreshing bowls of Bircher muesli. They can even be a great addition to savoury dishes, such as an alternative crust to breadcrumbs for fish.

So what are the health benefits of oats? Why are they so good for us? Below are a couple of examples!

Nutrient Dense Food

As well as being a fantastic source of complex carbohydrate, they are also packed full of essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. These include; manganese, phosphorus, copper, B-vitamins, iron, selenium, magnesium and zinc, which all contribute to your overall well-being.

Full of Fibre – great for Digestion

Oats are packed with phenomenal amounts of fibre, which helps to keep you feeling suitably full and energised for hours. This, in turn, will help you to avoid the dreaded sugar spikes and crashes, caused by low fibre breakfast options. The high fibre content also ensures your digestive system is functioning efficiently, thus relieving constipation and helping you to feel sufficiently energised all day!

Lowers Cholesterol Levels

Unlike the majority of the fibre in wheat and other whole grains that are high in insoluble fibre, oats contain more soluble fibre. This fibre, specifically known as beta-glucan, helps reduce your low-density lipoprotein “bad cholesterol”. This cholesterol lowering property is great news for those with high cholesterol, as it has the potential to significantly decrease the likelihoods of suffering a heart attack or stroke.

Can help prevent Cravings and Contribute to Weight Loss

As well as being high in fibre, did you know that oats are a good source of protein? In fact, there are around 17g of protein per 100g of oats – higher than most other grains. This is great news because, as mentioned in an earlier blog, incorporating protein into your breakfast will help you to feel fuller for longer, making you less tempted to reach for unhealthy, sugar-laden snacks mid-morning.

For an oat dish that packs a serious protein punch, I recommend adding a sprinkle of nuts or seeds or perhaps some yoghurt. These additions to your already protein-rich oats are sure to keep your hunger at bay, thus contributing to weight loss!

Recipe: Apple and Raisin (or Blueberry) overnight Oats

‘Overnight oats’ (also referred to as Bircher muesli) are one of my favourite ways to enjoy oats. They take minutes to prepare and are a tasty, easy and portable breakfast for those with little time or for those who tend to eat on the go! It’s also a great breakfast to make in batches so it’s one less thing to think about or prepare during those hectic weekday mornings!
As with many oat based recipes, overnight oats are so versatile and can be enjoyed in so many ways, based on your preferences. I have tried many different combinations of ingredients, but below is one of my favourites. Feel free to adapt or change up accordingly.

Makes 2 portions: (keeps in fridge for 2-3 days)

100g rolled oats (around a large mug!)
250ml almond milk (apple juice or any other milk would work) plus a little extra for serving!
2 tsp of ground cinnamon
1 tsp of ground ginger
1 apple
1 Tbsp raisins (or blueberries)
45g pumpkin seeds
1 tsp of maple syrup or honey
50g of natural or Greek yoghurt

Method:

Soak the oats in the milk, cinnamon and ginger, in a bowl. Mix together well then place in the fridge overnight.

In the morning, take out the oat mixture from the fridge, grate in the apple on top then add the remainder of the ingredients, stir together and enjoy!

So what are the benefits of soaking the oats overnight?

In addition to taking the stress out of breakfast preparation in the morning, soaking the oats overnight will break down the starch component, which makes it much easier for our bodies to digest them.

Another great oats recipe is: Gluten Free Fruity Flapjacks

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