Oats might have a reputation as a simple food, but this nutrient-packed ingredient is surprisingly versatile in the kitchen.
- ...contain an array of valuable nutrients.Oats contain considerable amounts of vitamins from the B group plus about 140 milligrams of magnesium per 100 grams. This, together with the high protein content, makes them the ideal power food for athletes.
- ...are the perfect food when you're sick.If you’re recovering from a flu or other illness, oatmeal can help you get on your feet more quickly. It’s packed with essential nutrients, contains protein, and is very easy to digest.
- ...settle the stomach.Oatmeal cooked in water or low-fat milk is a balm for an upset stomach. This is due to beneficial mucilage that is released when oat flakes are heated, which settle on the mucous membrane of the stomach like a protective film.
- ...are a good source of protein.100 g of oats contain about 12 grams of protein, more than 4 times your average daily requirement.
- ...can help lower blood lipid levels.While oat flakes contain a relatively high amount of fat, it’s mainly composed of healthy unsaturated fatty acids, which help, among other things, to balance high cholesterol levels.
- ...are packed with fiber.100 grams of oats contain about 10 g of fiber, which helps support healthy digestion. A majority of the fiber comprises beta-glucans, a soluble type of fiber that research has shown might help prevent some forms of cancer.
- ...strengthen the bones.Oats are a rich source of phosphorus, a mineral which is essential when it comes to bone and teeth health.
What You Should Know About Oats
Oats, which belong to the sweet grass family, were one of the most important staple foods for hundreds of years, generally falling out of popularity around the middle of the 18th century. However oats have become increasingly popular again in the U.S. in recent decades, and for good reason. This ingredient is yummy, versatile and packed with powerful nutrients.
The original home of the oat lies in Southern Europe, North Africa and Ethiopia. Since about 100 bc, however, oats have been cultivated mainly in the northern latitudes.
Oats can be obtained in any form and any time.
Oats taste mild and slightly nutty.
How Healthy are Oats?
Oats are rightly considered to be almost outrageously healthy, with numerous scientists worldwide currently researching their various health benefits. It has long been known that the grains contain plenty of valuable protein, as well as minerals such as magnesium, phosphorus, iron and zinc, as well as important vitamins, especially B1, B9 and K. In addition, oats health score points with its their high amounts of fiber, pectin and cellulose, which have an extremely beneficial effect on the stomach, intestines and digestion.
But the cereal has a very special advantage with its beta-glucan, a powerful soluble fiber it contains. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) confirms that the consumption of beta-glucan can reduce the concentration of harmful cholesterol in the blood and is even said to have a preventive effect against some types of cancer. Beta-glucan also contributes to making oats one of the most easily digestible grains. This is because the soluble fiber is able to bind together uncessary or harmful substances in the intestine, such as bile acids, and promote their excretion.
In addition, recent research shows that oats can lead to a dramatic improvement in blood sugar levels in cases of insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes.
|OATS NUTRITIONAL INFO (DRY, 100 g)|
Shopping and Cooking Tips
Buy oats in as small quantities if possible, or only as much as you will soon consume, because the grains contain a relatively large amount of fat, which can make them go rancid relatively quickly.
Always store oats and oat products in a cool, dark place.
Soaking is not necessary for oats, unlike other grains, unless you want to make a porridge out of them. In this case, simply soak the grains overnight and rinse them cold the next morning before cooking. You can also purchase instant oaks, which don't require soaking before eating.
What to Make With Oats
Oatmeal is the most well-known use of oats in the U.S., and for good reason. Oatmeal is incredibely heart-healthy and takes only a few minutes to prepare each morning. It's also versatile. For breakfast, simply top your oatmeal with fruit and maple syrup for a nutritious sweet beginning to your day. However oatmeal also makes a delicious and satisfying lunch or dinner. Simply top your cooked oatmeal with some chicken, grilled vegetables, eggs, or whatever you hand, add a couple tablesppons of your sauce of choice, and you have an easy, comforting and incredibely nutritious meal.
Oats are also delicious in baked goods like raisin cookies, and adds texture to savory dishes as well, such as meatballs. Germinated oat grains also add delicious flavor and texture to salads and sandwiches.