Take Oats to Heart as a Healthy Super Food With Numerous Advantages
Oats earned themselves a special distinction as a super food in 1997 when the Food and Drug Administration claimed an association between diets high in oats and a reduced risk for heart disease. The announcement helped oatmeal, oat bran, and oat flour skyrocket in popularity among whole grains. Oats are now considered one of the top 10 super foods. This warrants a closer look at what this well-known grain has to offer.
Great Nutrition and Lifetime Health Benefits
Yes, oats and other whole grains provide protection against heart disease. This benefit increases the potential for healthier people who live longer by including them in their daily diet. Oats offer more than that, though. This is a high protein, high fiber food that's rich in vitamins and minerals like iron, calcium, copper, potassium, manganese, and selenium, and low in calories.
Beta glucan is the magic ingredient in oats responsible for lowering serum cholesterol levels. They also contain antioxidants called avenanthramides. These two elements are shown to reduce LDL cholesterol levels when oats are eaten regularly.
These super grains also have a low glycemic index, meaning energy from this food is release slowly and stays with us longer to satisfy hunger for longer periods of time. This effect also helps the body stabilize blood sugar levels, eliminating spikes which can cause health problems and hinder dieting and concentration. As an added bonus, the B vitamins in oats contribute to healthier nails, skin, and hair.
Oats are also linked with other whole grains in helping fight against breast cancer, asthma in children, and Type 2 diabetes. With such a compelling list of health benefits, why wouldn't you eat them?
More than Just Oatmeal
Luckily, oats are also widely available and inexpensive grains that can be incorporated into meals at any time of day. They have a long shelf life, and are easy to store in airtight bags or sealed containers.
Most of us enjoy oats in the morning, as a hot bowl of oatmeal. Whether you buy "quick oats" or raw, you are starting the day off right with a good bit of nutrition. By varying the toppings and ingredients you add, you can vary the recipe enough to eat several servings of oatmeal each week without getting stuck in a rut. Berries and nuts are always good, as well as protein powders, stevia extract, or milk to help boost the flavor of your favorite oatmeal recipe.
Oats aren't just for breakfast, though. They might offer a toasty coating for broiled or baked fish, and there are many recipes to make hearty muffins, cookies, and much more. There's also convenient trail mixes or granola bars that include oats as a central ingredient for some tasty midday treats.
One more way to add oats to your diet is to use them as a binding agent in ground meat for meatloaf, burgers, and meatballs. Oats also add texture and heartiness to a number of bread recipes.
Nutritionists and health experts recommend eating up to three servings of whole grains a day, as part of a healthy diet. They provide enough significant benefits to make them a vital part of a well-balanced diet for healthy living.