Friday, December 4, 2009
The Health Benefits of Oats
The ancient Romans regarded oats as a weed fit only for horses and Barbarians. Scottish settlers introduced oats to the US in the 1600's, and today Russia is the largest producer of oats. A mere 5% of the oats grown worldwide is used for human consumption, and is most commonly used as feed for horses.
Different stages of processing oats:
This is the whole oat grain, with only the outer hull removed. Oat groats are extremely nutritious, but they need to be soaked and cooked a long time. Oat groats are usually processed into one of the other forms below.
Produced by running groats through steel cutters, chopping the groats into smaller pieces and creating a chewy texture. Steel-cut oats still contain the whole grain and oat bran, and are also very nutritious.
Rolled oats or old-fashioned oats
Steaming groats and then flattening them with a roller make rolled oats.
Steaming and flattening steel-cut oats make quick-cooking oats.
Produced by rolling more thinly and steaming longer or partially cooking the oats. Instant oatmeal will also have salt, sugar, and in some cases artificial sweeteners added to it.
The more processed the oats are, the less nutritious.
Health Benefits of Oats
Oats are a good source of magnesium, selenium, manganese and phosphorous.
Oats are also a good source of vitamin B1 and dietary fiber.
The protein in oats is almost equivalent to the quality of soy protein, and combined with the dietary fiber, makes it the ideal food to start the day with.
Oats has become popular as healthy food due to its dietary fiber being high in beta-glucan, which helps to lower cholesterol. In individuals with high cholesterol levels, consumption of the equivalent of 3gr of soluble oat fiber per day lowers cholesterol by 8 – 23 percent. A reduction in serum cholesterol levels decreases the risk of developing heart disease.
A study of adults with type 2 diabetes who consumed foods high in oat fiber, experienced a much lower rise in blood sugar than other participants who ate rice or bread. The beta-glucan in oats increases the viscosity of the contents of the stomach, thereby slowing down digestion and prolonging the absorption of carbohydrates into the bloodstream.
A study at Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, supported previous reports that a diet rich in whole grains such as oats is beneficial in the prevention of coronary heart disease.
In another study at Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, it was determined that consumption of whole grains may contribute to favorable metabolic alterations that mayreduce long-term weight gain.
Avenanthramides are phenolic antioxidants, which are present in oats, and have the potential to reduce plaque build in the artery walls, and may contribute to the prevention of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries)
at 5:57 AM