The Health Benefits of Oats
Are grains in or out? You may have been told to watch your intake of carbs, but that does not mean that you need to cut out all carbs from your diet. In fact, complex carbs can be good for you, keeping you fuller for longer and providing your body with lasting fuel. Oats are one of these complex carbs that can yield numerous health benefits.
Oats qualify as one of those whole-grains that all health experts keep mentioning. However, not all oats are created equal. You want to look for rolled oats or steel cut oats. Those instant oats you find in oatmeal packets are oats in their most processed form, devoid of the nutritional benefits rolled or steel-cut oats provide.1
Oats have more protein and fats than most grains, meaning you can eat less while still getting the benefits of this nutrient-dense whole-grain. A half-cup of dry oats contains 380 calories and has 13 grams of protein, 5 grams of fat, 8 grams of fiber, and 51 grams of carbohydrates.2 For the full skinny on oat’s nutrition profile, follow this link.
One particular dietary fiber found in oats, beta-glucan, has been shown to lower bad levels of cholesterol (LDL cholesterol) and according to a Study in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, you can reduce your risk of coronary heart disease by eating foods full of whole-oat sources of soluble fiber.3 Fiber is also an important aspect in weight loss. A Harvard Health publication states that getting 30 grams of fiber in your daily diet can put you on track for weight loss.4
A collection of reviews in the British Journal of nutrition evaluated the health benefits of oats and found that not only do they improve satiety, they can also improve digestion and metabolic health.5 Satiety is an important aspect of dieting. If you are looking to lose weight, it is best to choose foods that are not only good for you, but that also keep you feeling fuller for longer. These satiating foods will curb those cravings you get between meals.
Additionally, oats are also full of antioxidants called polyphenols. One particular polyphenol, known as avenanthramide, increases your body’s production of nitric oxide which has an anti-inflammatory effect and can reduce your blood pressure.6
According to researchers, oats may also have cancer-fighting capabilities. Researchers in Britain and the Netherlands studied over 2 million people and found that for every additional 10 grams of fiber in an individual’s diet, there was 10 percent reduction in the individual’s risk of colorectal cancer.7
Did your latest visit to the doctor reveal high blood pressure? Try eating more oats. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that a diet that includes whole grains can actually lower your blood pressure and might be just as effective as taking a hypertension medication.8
Celiacs and gluten free friends, oats are a safe grain for you! Oats are a naturally gluten free grain.9 However, oats are often grown in the same field as other grains containing gluten, so it is important to choose specifically labeled gluten free oats.
Diabetics, this fun fact is for you. Oats have a low glycemic index, making them diabetes-friendly.10 Food with low glycemic indexes help to regulate your blood sugar levels and prevent spikes.
One last note that is extremely important. While adding oats to your diet may yield health benefits, it is also important to avoid added sugar.11 Read the label of oat products and when making your morning bowl of oatmeal, skip the sugar and instead add some cinnamon and nuts.
Love your morning bowl of cereal? Skip the sugary cereals and try this oat granola recipe. EatSmarter also has the perfect granola bar recipe for you featuring oats and peanuts for a quick pick-me-up snack on the go.
1. Hrefna Palsdottir, "9 Health Benefits of Eating Oats and Oatmeal," Authority Nutrition, Authority Nutrition, 17 Aug. 2016, Web, 22 Dec. 2016.
2. Palsdottir, "9 Health Benefits of Eating Oats and Oatmeal."
3. Joseph Nordqvist, "Oats: Health Benefits, Facts, Research," Medical News Today, MediLexicon International, 19 Jan. 2016, Web, 22 Dec. 2016.; "The Health Benefits of Whole Grain Oats: New Scientific Review," Medical News Today, MediLexicon International, 31 Oct. 2014, Web, 22 Dec. 2016.; "Health Benefits of Oats," Oldways Whole Grains Council, Oldways, n.d., Web, 22 Dec. 2016.; M. Rondanelli, A. Opizzi, and F. Monteferrario, "The Biological Activity of Beta-glucans," Minerva Medical 100.3 (2009): 237-45, PubMed.gov, Web, 22 Dec. 2016.
4. Sylvie Tremblay, "Is Oatmeal a Good Breakfast for Weight Loss?" LIVESTRONG.COM, Leaf Group, 29 Oct. 2015, Web, 22 Dec. 2016.
5. Nordqvist, "Oats: Health Benefits, Facts, Research."
6. Palsdottir, "9 Health Benefits of Eating Oats and Oatmeal."
7. Nordqvist, "Oats: Health Benefits, Facts, Research."
9. Palsdottir, "9 Health Benefits of Eating Oats and Oatmeal."
10. Lizette Borreli, "Benefits of Oatmeal: Why You Should Add the Power Food to Your High-Fiber Diet," Medical Daily, IBT Media Inc., 10 Apr. 2015, Web, 22 Dec. 2016.
11. Tremblay, "Is Oatmeal a Good Breakfast for Weight Loss?"