Do you start your morning with a steaming bowl of Oats? When they are tasty, healthy and quick, why wouldn’t you? Although food trends may come and go, oats are still one of the most popular go to for breakfast. The whole-grain in oats are a powerhouse packed with serious nutrition and hearty flavours. Not only are oats a great source of fibre and loaded with vitamins but there are numerous benefits to this healthy comfort food.
There are many different types of oats available in supermarkets, but some do differ slightly in terms of nutritional value and health benefits. Here are some of the different types you can purchase.
- Instant oats: Oat groats that have been steamed and flaked.
- Rolled oats (also called regular or old-fashioned oats): Oat groats that have been steamed and rolled into flakes that are thicker (and thus take longer to cook) than instant oats.
- Steel-cut oats (also called Irish oats): You get the whole oat kernel, cut up. These take about 20 minutes to cook.
- Scottish oats:These are like steel-cut oats, but instead of being cut, they are ground.
- Oat groats: This is the whole oat kernel — no cuts, flakes, or grinding. They take longer to cook than other oats. Give them 50-60 minutes to cook, after you bring the water to a boil.
Oats lower cholesterol levels
Oats contain a specific type of fibre known as beta-glucan. Over the years, studies have proven that this soluble fibre is strongly linked to improving cholesterol levels and boosting a healthy heart. The antioxidants found in oats work along with vitamin C to reduce LDL levels in the blood. This can protect the cardiovascular tissue against inflammation, reducing the risk of heart disease.
Oats stabilise blood sugar levels
Oats have a low glycemic index, which means their high in fibre content helps regulate blood sugar levels and can be digested slowly. This high fibre and complex carbohydrates makes the contents of the stomach thicker, thereby slowing down the digestion process. Foods that are digested slowly can prevent quick blood sugar spikes, which can be difficult to manage, especially if you are diabetic. There are also studies that show the beta-glucan in oats reduce blood glucose and delays the fall in blood sugar level before and after meals.
Great source of magnesium
One of the main nutrients found is oats is Magnesium, which is key to enzyme function and energy production. Magnesium helps move blood sugar into your muscles and dispose of lactic acid, which can build up in muscles during exercise and cause a lot of pain. Other beneficial elements of magnesium help prevent heart attacks and strokes by relaxing blood vessels, aiding the heart muscle, and regulating blood pressure. The high levels of magnesium nourish the body’s proper use of glucose and insulin secretion.
Enhances immune response to disease
Beta-glucan really is the fibre of wonders. It dissolves in water to form a thick gel-like substance, which promotes the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut and can help to enhance your immunity levels. Studies have shown that beta-glucan not only help immune cells navigate to the site of an infection more quickly, it also enhances their ability to eliminate the bacteria they find. Oats are also rich in selenium and zinc that play a huge part in fight off infections.
PORRIDGE BoostS energy
The body’s primary source of energy is carbohydrates and as oats are full of them, they are the perfect morning meal to kick start your day with a boost of energy. Aa oats are absorbed much slower in the body, this gives you a longer lasting boost to keep you going throughout your day. B vitamins found in oats are also beneficial as they work together to help your body metabolise energy.
That’s right, who would have thought that oats would have an array of benefits for healthy skin. Your favourite porridge has superb benefits for your face – think oatmeal face mask for your Friday night. Whether your skin is dry, itchy or just in need of some brightening, oatmeal powder or even oat milk can treat almost any type of skin condition. Simply blend oats into a powder and then mix into hot water to form a paste. Apply this to your skin like a mask, and rinse with water. One of our favourite benefits of oatmeal is that it’s full of proteins, which maintain the skin’s natural barrier. Its lubricating fats also aid UV protection to keep you safe from the sun.
Cooking with oats
With all the many benefits of oats, why not try one of these tasty recipes to kick start your week. We’ve made sure they are simple, healthy and quick to rustle up.
Banana Oats Smoothie
What You Need
- ¼ cup of old fashioned oats
- ½ cup of plain low-fat yogurt
- 1 banana, sliced into thirds
- ½ cup of fat-free milk
- ¼ teaspoon of ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons of honey
In just two steps…
- Combine all the ingredients and puree until you obtain a smooth mixture.
- Serve immediately.
Easy peanut butter overnight oats
- 1/2 cup oats
- 1/2 cup unsweetened plain almond milk
- 3/4 tbsp chia seeds
- 2 tbsp natural salted peanut butter or almond butter (creamy or crunchy)
- 1 Tbsp (15 ml) maple syrup (or sub coconut sugar, organic brown sugar, or stevia to taste)
- 1/2 cup (45 g) gluten-free rolled oats
- Sliced banana, strawberries, or raspberries
- Flaxseed meal or additional chia seed
Now for the fun part
- To a small bowl, add almond milk, chia seeds, peanut butter, and maple syrup (or other sweetener) and stir with a spoon to combine. The peanut butter doesn’t need to be completely mixed with the almond milk.
- Add oats and stir a few more times. Then press down with a spoon to ensure all oats have been moistened and are immersed in almond milk.
- Cover securely with a lid or plastic wrap and set in the refrigerator overnight (or for at least 6 hours).
- The next day, open and enjoy as is or garnish with desired toppings (see options above).
- Overnight oats will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, though best within the first 12-24 hours.
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