Kate Moss loves them.
Madonna is addicted to them.
Bill Gates doesn’t leave home without them. Nor do I.
Gone are the days when oats were seen as stomach-churning grey sludge.
Today, they takes pride of place on health-conscious tables.
The Reasons Why:
- Oat bran, the outer protective coating of the kernel, is a good source of silicon, a trace element needed for healthy joints and normal bone growth.
- Studies show that oat bran has a role in reducing blood cholesterol. “Studies prove that controlling cholesterol is one of the best ways to prevent heart attacks,” says Christopher Suhar, a cardiologist at Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine in San Diego, USA. “It’s the fibre in oatmeal that does the trick.”
- The grain has excellent nutritional qualities, complete with proteins, B vitamins, calcium, unsaturated fats, and fibre.
- Oats boost immunity, protecting you against recurrent infections.
- Oats are seen to be particularly beneficial for post-menopausal women, protecting them from raised blood pressure and thickening of arteries.
- Type 2 diabetes patients have reported lower blood sugar levels after starting their day with oats.
- Oats are a rich source of selenium, which works with Vitamin E to bestow antixodiant benefits throughout your system. Which means lower risk of asthma, and a reduced risk of cancer—especially of the breast and colon.
- Oats keep you feeling fuller longer, which helps with weight loss.
Oats, known scientifically as Avena sativa, are a hardy cereal grain. They can withstand poor soil conditions which would kill other grains. After being harvested and cleaned, oats are roasted—this gives them their distinctive flavour. Happily, even though oats are then hulled, this process does not strip away their bran and germ, so they retain their concentrated fiber and nutrients.
Steel-cut, Rolled, or Instant?
Good news! Ruth Frechman, registered dietician and spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association, says that it doesn’t matter if you choose steel-cut, rolled, or instant oats: They all pack the same nutritional punch. “No matter what kind it is, it’s a whole grain and has important health benefits,” she says. “I recommend that everyone eat oatmeal.”
Exciting Ideas with Oats
- Heat a little olive oil, and pop some mustard seeds into it. When the mustard seeds begin crackling, add some chopped vegetables, salt and pepper to your taste, and cook until they are tender but slightly crunchy. Now add the oats, and cook for a couple of minutes. Sprinkle some freshly chopped cilantro or parsley leaves on top, and enjoy hot.
- Grind some oats to a powder, and knead them into your tortilla dough, pizza or pie mix for a power punch.
- Mix oats with fresh yogurt and a sliced banana. Filling, and full of nutrients.
- Power your oats with sliced strawberries, blueberries, flaked almonds, sunflower seeds, sultanas, raisins or sesame seeds.
- Thicken your soups and stews with oats.
And if you have some delicious, offbeat ideas for harnessing the healing power of oats, please share them with me!