You might have heard many people say that oatmeal is magical for your body, but have you ever wondered what exactly it does? Oatmeal is known for its heart-protective starch called beta-glucan, which reduces cholesterol and lowers the risk of cancer. In today’s article, we are going to go through everything that makes oatmeal, the perfect choice for your breakfast.
What are Oats?
Avena sativa or oats is a go-to breakfast option, but did you know that it’s primarily used to feed livestock? Oats grow in moderate temperatures and can withstand poor soil. Oats are among the world’s healthiest grains. It’s an excellent option for people who are gluten intolerant and can be a great source of vitamins and fiber.
The nutrition values of 1 cup (81 grams) of oats are:
- Calories: 307 grams
- Water: 8.7 grams
- Protein:10.7 grams
- Carbs: 54.8 grams
- Sugar: 0.8 grams
- Fiber: 8.1 grams
- Fat: 5.3 grams
Carbs make up around 66% of dry oats.
Starch is the largest component of oats. However, the starch in oats is slightly different from other forms of starch. It has a higher fat content and high viscosity.
Fibers make up 11% of oats. Daily consumption of this fiber has so many benefits that you may not know of.
Oats are a good source of protein and an excellent source of protein for vegetarians.
Vitamins and Minerals found in Oatmeal
Manganese: found in whole grains, excellent for metabolism.
Phosphorus: This mineral is important for bone health.
Copper: An anti-oxidant, important for heart health.
Vitamin B1: Also known as thiamine
Iron: A protein responsible for transporting oxygen in the blood.
Selenium: Important for mental function and immunity.
Types of Oats
Steel cut Oats
Also known as Irish oats, steel-cut oats are coarse oats. Each groat is chopped into two or three pieces rather than flattening it.
Whole oat groats
These are hulled oat kernels, that need to be peeled before eating. The cooking time of this kind is pretty long ranging from 50 to 60 minutes.
The whole groats are ground to a coarse texture and mostly used in porridges.
This is the most common type of oats available in the market. The groats are first steamed and then flattened. Their cooking time is minimal spanning from 10 to 20 minutes.
Benefits of Oatmeal
1) They can lower blood sugar levels
Type 2 diabetes is a very common health condition. Oatmeal may help lower blood sugar levels, especially in people who are struggling with weight issues.
2) Helps reduce weight
Because of its rich fiber content, oatmeal can be extremely filling keeping you fulfilled for longer periods of time. Beta-gluten is also known to promote the release of peptides.
3) Lowers the risk of childhood asthma
Research suggests that early introduction of oats to children’s diet can protect them from developing asthma.
4) Promoting healthy bacteria in the gut
The beta-glucan in oatmeal forms a gel-like substance when it’s mixed with water this gel form a layer in the stomach and digestive tract. The layer feeds good bacteria in the gut which increases their growth rate and can contribute to a healthy gut.
5) Helps with constipation
Constipation is a common gastrointestinal problem that affects almost everyone at some point. The fiber in oatmeal can help keep the stool softened which might relieve constipation.
6) Reduces hypertension and stress
Because of its heart-protective qualities, oatmeal keeps the blood pressure in check. This, in turn, results in reduced hypertension. Oats are also comforting food, a warm sweet oat porridge in the morning can help you start the day on a positive note keeping your stress under control.
7) Oatmeal is also good for the skin
Oats are rich in Zinc making them an amazing option for people with acne. Oats also absorb the excess oil from your skin which is another prime reason for acne.
8) Oats improve the quality of sleep
Oats boost the production of melatonin, which is an important hormone for sleep. They can also help release serotonin which helps to calm down the mind and body.
9) Works as a sedative
If you are really tired but can’t fall asleep, have a bowl of oatmeal. Oatmeal has Tryptophan, an amino acid that has sedative properties. Oatmeal boosts the production of insulin which acts as a sedative- to the brain. Make sure to have oatmeal with milk and banana for a good night’s sleep.
10) Improves immunity
Your immune cells are designed to absorb beta-glucan which kicks up the activity of the white blood cells and protects against infections. The compound is also known to accelerate wound healing. Besides, oatmeal also contains zinc that helps you fight infections and stay in fight mode.
11) Can promote bone health
Oat is rich in minerals that are important for healthy bones. Oats are rich in silicon that can aid in the treatment of fractures and ligament tears. A recent study conducted at Harvard University shows that eating a bowl of oatmeal porridge every day can help protect you against bone diseases.
12) Treats Chicken Pox
For centuries, oatmeal has been treating chicken pox. In the past, people used to pour oat flour onto a cheesecloth tied it around the bathtub faucet, and periodically pressed out the water. This method was used to get rid of the itchiness. It has properties that can not only moisturize the skin but also help with other skin problems like eczema.
13) Oatmeal is a natural cleanser
A compound called saponins is found in oats which helps remove dirt and oil from pores. You can prepare oat milk but soak ats in water and use that as a cleanser.
You could also use ground oats for mild body scrubbing. Unlike harsh, stripping cleansers oatmeal can be extremely gentle on your skin making it an ideal choice for people with sensitive skin.
14) Treats Dandruff
Oatmeal is known to improve scalp health. It can soothe the scalp and remove itchiness. Oatmeal is also known to provide moisture and remove excess oil. Besides removing dandruff, it also boosts the shine in your hair, making it look lustrous. Oatmeal is also rich in lipids that can prevent dandruff and flakes resulting in a fresh scalp.
15) Lowers the risk of colon cancer
While oatmeal is really good for your entire digestive system, it is especially good for your colon. Due to its high fiber content, research has shown that whole grains can lower the risk of colorectal cancer. It is also very helpful if you are suffering from ulcerative colitis, which directly affects the colon.
So, this was all about oatmeal, its contents, and its benefits. I hope you learned something new about oats and oatmeal today. They are really very good for your health and can help you keep your blood sugar levels, and cholesterol levels low and protect your skin from irritation. Furthermore, oatmeals are pretty filling and are a perfect breakfast choice for most of us.