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
Makes 2 portions: (keeps in fridge for 2-3 days)
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?
Another great oats recipe is: Gluten Free Fruity Flapjacks