Delicious but just how nutritious?
Oats are one of my favourite things to have for breakfast. As well as being versatile and delicious, there's a whole host of benefits to them, which is why my next two posts will be devoted to them!
Oats are gaining quite a lot of scientific evidence behind some of their health benefits. But just what are they?
Oats are rich in soluble and insoluble fibre, phosphorus, thiamine, magnesium and zinc. Niacin is also known as vitamin B3 which helps the digestive system, skin and nervous system.
Studies have found that people who have a high whole grain diet (which includes oats) have a significantly decreased risk of heart disease (by about 20%!). There's not quite enough evidence to prove that this is just oats (the studies were too small scale so this is still being investigated) but it all helps!
Secondly, oats help reduce the amount of LDLs in your blood - otherwise known as low density lipoproteins or 'bad’ cholesterol. You may need about 100g daily for this effect, but one study suggested they can decrease LDLs by 13%.
The fibre in the oats has two benefits. First, fibre decreases potential inflammation in the gut, so helping prevent constipation and illnesses such as diverticulitis. Secondly, the fibre delays gastric emptying (i.e. it stays in your stomach longer) which helps slow the absorption of sugars into the blood, and thus prevents sharp increases in blood sugar. Great for weight loss, managing type 2 diabetes and generally feeling fuller and more alert for longer.
Watch out for 'instant’ oats though - the smaller oats leave the stomach faster so they don't have as many of the benefits as the larger oats! Plus instant oat pots are often high in other sugars and flavourings.
Tempted? Stay tuned next week for my favourite oats recipes!
What are your favourite ways to eat your oats?