In recent times `Oats’ have become very popular in India. Many nutritionists recommend it for breakfast, in multigrain rotis, soups and organic sweets. One of the healthiest whole grains, Oats are gluten-free and a great source of important vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants. One cup (81 grams) of dry oats contains 7.5 grams of fiber; the recommended daily intake of fiber is 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men.
Important minerals found in Oats are thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, B 6 and folate.
Oats can be found in muesli, granula and bread.
Scientifically known as Avena sativa, some of the major benefits are weight loss, lower blood sugar levels and a reduced risk of heart disease. Some have referred to it as a super food, with bran, Endosperm and Germ.
There are different types of oats – Raw oats, whole oats, rolled oats, quick and steel cut oats. Quick oats are the highly processed variety and easy to make as a porridge. This oatmeal which is commonly eaten in water or milk takes the shortest time to cook.
Let us look at some of the benefits of Oats.
Benefits of Oats
Good source of carbs and fiber
Oats are well-balanced and a good source of carbs and fiber. It includes powerful beta-glucan (a type of soluble fiber), protein and fat.
High in antioxidants and beneficial plant compounds called polyphenols and a unique group of antioxidants called avenanthramides, which are almost solely found in oats.
Reduces Cholesterol levels
Beta-glucan, a type of soluble fiber can reduce LDL and total cholesterol levels. It partially dissolves in water and forms a thick, gel-like solution in the gut.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death globally. One major risk factor is high blood cholesterol.
Many studies have shown that the beta-glucan fiber in oats is effective at reducing both total and LDL cholesterol levels
Oats can help balance blood sugar levels.
Type 2 diabetes is a common disease, characterized by significantly elevated blood sugars. It usually results from decreased sensitivity to the hormone insulin. Research proves that Oats may help lower blood sugar levels.
Helps in weight loss
According to the British Journal of Nutrition oats may play an important role in improving the feeling of fullness, digestive, cardiovascular, and general metabolic health.
Whole grains are often recommended for their beneficial effects on the gastrointestinal tract. The researchers suggest potential health effects ranging from improved immune health to reducing the risk of obesity and chronic disease.
Oatmeal porridge can be a delicious breakfast made in milk and water. You have to just bring it to a boil, cook it for some time and use jaggery in it. Multigrain oats Dosa is also a good recipe for breakfast. Mix oats, with Rawa, Besan and some curd. Add the masalas as per taste and make a nutritious dosa.
To make oatmeal tastier you can add nuts and seeds.
To make a Oats Risotto, oats are first toasted for a few minutes in hot oil and aromatics like shallots or diced onion. Then stock or water is added, until the water is cooked.
Some of the brands available in India are Nestle, Quaker Oats and Patanjali Oats.