BY ROBERT JAY WATSONIt’s well known that oats are popular with the fitness conscious and athletes, but some might wonder if the benefits of this breakfast or snack are quite as much as its advocates claim. After all, how different could a bowl of oatmeal be from hot cereal made from other grains such as wheat?
It turns out that the answer is very different indeed. When you look at oats from a nutritional perspective, it is more beneficial. Here, we’ll look at eight amazing virtues of this special grain.
Are you dealing with itchy, flaky skin or conditions such as eczema? Then oats can be part of the cure! By reducing inflammation, oats contribute to healthier skin, which will naturally be smoother and shinier. How does it do this?
Oats are rich with vitamins and minerals, including those that are known to have a big effect on the skin. Per Healthline, even a half-cup of dry oats, a normal-portion size for oatmeal, will contain 20 percent of daily zinc and iron requirements, 34 percent of your magnesium needs, and a whopping 191 percent of the manganese you require.
Together, these minerals help reduce swelling and inflammation, improve blood circulation and skin regeneration, and clear pores.
While many people look to meat, dairy, eggs, or avocadoes to keep them fueled for the day, oats have a surprising amount of protein. That same half-cup that contains all those minerals also has about 15 percent of your daily recommended protein. If you add some seeds and nuts, you can get a big morning boost before exercising or heading off to work.
Oats, like another indispensable kitchen staple, olive oil, contain high levels of polyphenols. These natural compounds have powerful antioxidant properties. Oats even have a particular type of polyphenol known as avenanthramides, which can help lower blood pressure and prevent inflammation.
Oats also contains ferulic acid, which has significant antioxidant properties too. So the more of this you eat, the better your body will be able to fight the debilitating effects of aging.
While “low-carb” and even “no-carb” diets are all the rage these days, many people ignore the difference between simple carbohydrates, found in white flour, refined sugar, sodas, and many snack foods, and complex carbohydrates, which are found in whole grains.
Complex carbs have much more complicated structures and take longer for your body to break down, meaning that they provide you with much more energy. Rather than you getting a quick burst of energy from a piece of white toast, your morning bowl of oats will give your body significantly more to work on.
5. Weight Loss
The complex carbs found in oats don’t just give us more energy; they also facilitate weight loss.
As oats give energy and help you feel full longer, they also help you avoid overeating.
Oatmeal contains beta-glucan, which is a soluble fiber that helps fight hypertension and abnormal levels of fat in the blood. According to a study published in the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism in 2012, this fiber can help increase satiation, making oats a good addition to your diet when you are trying to lose weight.
The other mechanism at work is that oats help maintain good blood sugar equilibrium, which has all kinds of benefits.
6. Heart Disease
For a healthy heart, there’s no better stop than your morning oatmeal. It contains both polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, which are considered beneficial by nutritionists in healthy amounts. Oats are great for keeping the heart itself in good condition.
Oats are rich in fiber, which plays a major role in being able to successfully and regularly digest food. With 8 grams of fiber in a half-cup, morning oats can comprise up to a quarter to a third of your daily requirements depending on your age and gender.
If you add fiber-rich fruits such as strawberries, raspberries, or bananas to your oatmeal, then you’ll be even better off as you start the day.
8. Lower cholesterol
Last but not least, by regularly eating oats, you can lower harmful cholesterol. Oats contain beta-glucan, which coats the inside of your stomach when mixed with liquids such as water or milk.
Beta-glucan significantly reduces LDL (a.k.a “bad” cholesterol) so you can do yourself serious good by regularly having oats.
Last but not least, when eating oats, it’s always best to get whole oats, such as steel-cut or rolled. If you buy instant oats, it might not be as beneficial. So next time you have a bowl of oatmeal, enjoy the delicious taste and the good things you’re putting in your body.