Oats: The Healthiest Cereal Option
Oats are a type of cereal that have been around for years. Baked oats, oatmeal porridge, oatmeal cookies, even oat cakes, are all foods that you’ve probably seen around, and often as a healthy alternative to wheat or rice. So is oatmeal really good for you?
What’s in oats?
Oats pack a whopping amount of essential nutrients like thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B6, and folate. They also contain minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and zinc . To top this all off, oatmeal has large amounts of β-glucan, a soluble dietary fibre that promotes good gastrointestinal health. Oats also contain a large amount of protein, so much so that it is equivalent to the amount of protein found in soy.
So, why eat oats?
Because they’re good for you! Also, they are a healthy alternative to most cereal grains and actually contribute to good cardiovascular and gastrointestinal health.
1) Oats help reduce cholesterol
The high levels of β-glucan in oats help reduce cholesterol. In a study published by the American Society for Nutrition in 2014, Whitehead et al. concluded that adding oats to a diet can reduce LDL and cholesterol significantly, while leaving HDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels intact .
Basically, it gets rid of the bad, artery clogging cholesterol and leaves the good kind in place. Even the FDA gave oats their stamp of approval when they allowed products that used significant amounts of oats or oat bran to label themselves “healthy” .
Now, while most studies agree that oats help reduce LDL cholesterol, the mechanism for the change is still unclear. Further research in the area is attempting to map the biochemical pathways through which the consumption of oats inhibits LDL levels .
2) Oats have a lot of soluble fibre
Introducing required amounts of soluble fibre in your diet can reduce your risk of diabetes, heart disease, obesity, some types of cancer and help you maintain good gastrointestinal health . Soluble fibres help alleviate constipation and help people suffering from piles.
3) Oats help you lose weight and maintain a healthy weight
As oats contain a lot of fibre, eating them makes you feel satiated quickly, lowering the likelihood that you will overeat . The extra fibre also helps as good gastrointestinal health is integral to losing weight.