Oats are one of the most nutrient-rich and beneficial cereals for health. Avena sativa, commonly known as oats, forms panicles with its grains in different branches. This cereal is a very characteristic element in the diet of active and sportspeople, not only due to its high content in complex carbohydrates and proteins, but also thanks to its nutritional advantages. It has a high fiber content, rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Oats are one of the most popular cereals in the world of fitness. It is rich in low IG carbohydrates, vegetable proteins, fiber, vitamins and minerals.
For thousands of years oats have been integrated in the human diet, due mainly to its excellent taste which is superior to other grains. Despite this fact, its intensive cultivation has been relatively recent.
While wheat and barley have been cultivated for 10,000 years, oats did not begin to be farmed until approximately 3000 years ago, when humans began to see the extraordinary qualities of this cereal: its richness in nutrients (greater than other cereals), its easy cultivation (even in the poorest soils) and how its properties can be benefitial for health.
Oats are an extraordinary source of nutrients, which supplies the body with excellent materials to build proteins.
Unlike other grains (such as rice), a small amount of oats is enough to get the full of advantage all the vital substances that they contain.
Oats and beta-glucans
Most of the soluble fiber in oats comes from their beta-glucans, which have enormous benefits for health. Beta-glucans act in combination with white blood cells called neutrophils and, among other things, they have anti-inflammatory effects which isolate inflammation in the body.
Beta-glucans also have benefits for people who have high cholesterol, so the consumption of oat bran is often recommended in these cases. Oat bran is formed from the outer layers of oats without endosperm. It has a higher fibre content and twice the beta-glucan of oatmeal.
40 grams of oat bran contain 3 grams of beta-glucan. People suffering from high cholesterol levels may reduce them between a 8 and 23 percent by consuming 3 grams of oat bran daily for three weeks. (You should also drink plenty of water when consuming oat bran).
In addition, we can also reduce the risk of heart attack and other cardiovascular problems by consuming oats every day, especially if we take into account that cholesterol increases the chances of cardiovascular disease.
How does beta-glucan from oats reduce cholesterol?
The process by which beta-glucan increases the amount of bile in the intestine is very simple. There are a lot of fat and toxic substances in the bile which, thanks to the action of beta-glucans, can be excreted through faeces instead of returning to the blood stream.
Natural oats help to lower "bad" cholesterol or LDL, so that the "good" cholesterol remains intact. Moreover, it has antioxidant properties, derived from their specific antioxidant element which is known as avenanthramide.
All the vital substances mentioned above can be found abundantly only in wholemeal oats. Oatmeal is usually made from whole seeds, both in the case of polynuclear flour, fine flour or flour for babies.
Oats, preferably wholemeal
However, if you buy certain kinds of products, such as oat biscuits for example, they may not be made purely from oatmeal and they will often contain other types of grains or sugar. That is why it is very important to check the list of ingredients on the packaging of the products. Unlike wholemeal products, the grains that are used to make white flour contain fat and produce hunger.
Wholemeal oats provide other health benefits in addition to the ones that have been listed:
In particular, recent clinical studies conducted on 20,000 participants have shown that men who eat wholemeal oats for breakfast every day can reduce the risk of suffering a heart attack by a third.
In the case of women, a clinical study conducted on 35,000 participants has shown that women eating 13 grams of wholemeal oats daily may reduce the risk of breast cancer by a 40 percent. These are some of the reasons to choose oats as the cereal with the best properties for health. Moreover, oats also contain a very small quantity of gluten.
Oats contain very little gluten
Oats are not completely gluten-free, but they have so little that they cannot be used to bake bread. Gluten is the ingredient in bread that forms the dough and causes its fermentation and rise. In the case of oats, the amount of gluten is so scarce that if other additives are not used only flat bread can be made.
However, oatmeal can be mixed with other ingredients by up to 30 percent in order to make bread. Although oats do contain a small amount of gluten, it is different from the one that can be found in wheat. It can be tolerated much more easily than the one found in wheat, rye, and spelt.
Therefore, even those who are celiac can consume limited quantities of oats, as long as they do not exceed 50g daily which has to be always wholemeal (free from gluten) and without mixing it with wheat, barley, or spelt.
When a field of oats is next to a wheat field there is a risk that some of the wheat grains could be mixed with the oats and end up in commercial oat products. These small amounts of wheat can be a problem for celiac people, so they should pay close attention to the product label and choose only those that state that they are "gluten-free".
This ensures that they contain less than 20ppm* gluten (* 20ppm = 2mg of gluten per 100g of food) and that they are therefore in the recommended range for celiac people.
A clinical study carried on 116 celiac children showed that they could tolerate oats. They formed two groups, the first one was given the classic gluten-free diet and the other was allowed to eat oat products (without wheat). The study was able to confirm that oats had not affected the intestinal mucose of the children that had consumed them and that it had also strengthened their immune systems.
However, it is recommended that celiac people test themselves with specific amounts of oats to see what they can tolerate, beginning with small amounts and observing how their body reacts.
Celiac people can perform a test phase and regularly check how they to react to gliadin, in order to recognise their oat intolerance as soon as possible.
Gliadin is the part of gluten that causes autoimmune reactions in the intestine of celiac people, which causes symptoms in the intestinal mucose such as diarrhea, stomach pain, and flatulence. If we want to take advantage of the multiple health benefits of oats, we can consume them in the form we find most appetizing.
Ways to consume oats
Oats are a versatile cereal with which we can prepare thousands of recipes and shakes.
- Oat flakes or cereals are rich in fiber and they are ideal for breakfast, add them to your milk or yogurt.
- Instant oatmeal, due to its great dissolution, is perfect to cook shakes, bread, pizza dough, pasta, pancakes, etc.
Who are oats especially ideal for?
- Anyone who wants to add a healthy and natural product to their diet that provides energy and proteins of vegetable origin.
- All types of athletes and active people who are looking for a powerful carbohydrate with a low glycaemic index that will provide fiber and prolonged energy.
- Given the large number of vitamins, minerals, proteins and carbohydrates that they contain, oats are an ideal food for children’s optimal development.
- It is an ideal food for old people, since it promotes cardiovascular health (regulates cholesterol) and digestion (relieves constipation).
- Since it is a low glycaemic index cereal, it is suitable for diabetics.
- It is an excellent source of vegetable protein for vegetarians or vegans.
Buy Instant Oatmeal
We can find different brands of oatmeal in many supermarkets. Very often we find it with raisins and nuts. Surprisingly, ecological oatmeal can be bought at a lower price, but directly from the producer.
When it comes to sweet oatmeal, it is easy to find it from natural cultivation, with the additional guarantee that it lack transgenic raw materials and it is even supported by a special technology that avoids the presence of weevils and any other kind of biological contamination that may cause intestinal discomfort. They often have a calorie-free sweetener with a pH regulator in order to balance the acid of the product.
We recommended our HSN Raw Oatmeals, specially the instant oatmeal with strawberry and chocolate-coconut flavor, which dissolve very easily without the need to use a shaker. They are ideal for breakfasts,afternoon snacks, and to cook protein pancakes and brownies. In HSNstore you can purchase oat powder with an optimal dissolution rate when it comes to preparing shakes, since it mixes really well with liquids (water, juice, milk, etc) and it does not produce lumps.
You can also find a wide range of flavours in which you can find oat powder: (natural, chocolate, strawberry, vanilla, cheesecake, etc). that will grant you many possibilities when it comes to prepare shakes or to cook bakery recipes.
Before carrying out any kind of physical exercise, the organism requires an intake of enough nutrients with which to make up for the loss of energy and minerals during its execution. Otherwise, it will need to recur to the energy deposits and to the breakdown of muscle fiber in order to obtain a proper compensation.
Oats are known as the king of cereals, due to their healthy benefits in general and mainly because they are an excellent food to take care of our heart. Oats contain beta glucan, a component that allows the regulation of LDL cholesterol levels, by absorbing both these as well as bile acids from the intestine and helping to eliminate them in a natural way. With a daily intake of oats it is possible to reduce cholesterol levels to a 5%.
It is not easy to find reasons why we should not eat this cereal. The truth is that it can be integrated in our daily diet without any problem, although it is recommended to interchange it with other cereals in order to follow a balanced diet. If we have to choose a time of the day in order to consume oats, the most adequate time is for breakfast, when the organism is ready to receive nutrients, specially energy, in order to face our daily activities and to improve our health.
It is a fact that society does not pay enough attention to wholemeal cereals in diets when they are actually a very plausible aim. It has been established by experts in nutrition and dietetics that at least half of the cereals that we consume should be in their wholemeal form while distancing our consumption habits from refined and enriched cereals.
The bran is the layer or tegument of any cereal that covers the grain on the outside, which ends up being the part with higher fibrous content. But not all brans are the same, as we are going to see now.
There are several concepts related to this cereal which are relevant to know in order to get the most out of the nutritional properties that we have described in previous entries of our knowledge / nutritional wiki.
As it can happen with any product that we consume, oats can also provoke some side effects, that is why it is highly recommended to be well informed of their possible inconveniences before their sustained consumption.
Oats, whose scientific name is Avena sativa, are an herbaceous plant of annual cycle, which belong to the gramineous family (also called Poaceae), which comprises the greatest scale in the monocotyledon phanerogram plant group. They are commonly recognized as one of the members of the vegetable food collectives of most importance in the Food Pyramid: cereals.
Oats belong to the nutritional group of grains and flours and it is considered a cereal meant for different culinary uses with great properties and benefits. It is a collective that occupies the base of the Food Pyramid and which is formed by bread, pasta, rice, processed cereals (wheat, corn, oat, barley…). All of them are an irreplaceable source of nutrients and benefits, especially if they are consumed in their wholemeal form.
Oat flakes are mechanically grounded grains in order to make them more digestible, without affecting their original nutritional properties at all. Originally, oat flakes were born in order to complete a range of specific products to be consumed for breakfast, once there were more generic nutritional habits adopted by the population.
Oatmeal stands out due to its high antioxidants content that stops the rancidification that naturally affects all the foods that contain fat in noticeable amounts. It is used as an ingredient for products such as margarine, chocolate, flours for industrial baking, coffee and snacks. At the same time, it is used as an additive in foods that require a fat stabiliser, such as milk ice creams and other dairy products.
Oats are the most nutritious cereal with more benefits for our health. Avena sativa, commonly known as oats, forms its grains in panicles with different branches. This cereal is one of the most used in the diets of sportspeople, not only due to its high content in complex carbohydrates and proteins, but also because of its nutritional advantages. It has a high content in fiber, and it is rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
From muesli bars or wholemeal oat pack to sugary oat flakes, any presentation that we have previously mentioned can be found in the shelves of these shops. However, the best places to buy this product may be herbalists’ shops and the so called eco-shops, which usually provide several brands of flours, flakes, brans… with a wide range of prices.
Oats has proven to be a very useful food to lose weight, in fact, diets that include oats for those whose aim is to lose weight are very recurrent lately. The important thing is not to give oats or any other food all the responsibility of a slimming regime.
Those who suffer from diabetes, anemia, celiac disease... these are some of the people that cannot or should not eat oats due to different diseases.