Oats are one of the most consuming grains of all time. You are mainly eaten in the form of oatmeal or rolled oats. And many of you consume it mostly for breakfast as it works as a healthy meal for you and it is a better option other than the foods available on the market. Oats are a very flexible meal, which you can eat by adding fruits or vegetables which makes it more flavorful. You can easily get oats as your meal which are nutritious and contain certain health benefits. Also, it helps in controlling your weight and heart health. However, you need to take it in a moderate amount. Consumption may lead to bloating and other health conditions.
What are Oats and Oatmeal?
Oats are a whole grain food, named Avena Sativa. Oats are a type of cereal grain from the oat plant. It can be found in many types which are in different textures. These types are processed varieties with instant oats being the most highly processed ones. However, some oats take a very long time to cook, including oat groats which are the most intact and whole form of oats. That is why rolled, crushed, or steel-cut oats are a better option for you to save time. When you boil oats in water or milk, the meal that will be turning out is known as oatmeal. And this meal can be taken mostly for breakfast and it is very nutritious which adds various nutrients to your diet. Oats are a very good source of fiber, and also contain vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. These antioxidants help you from protecting against heart disease. Also, having oats in your diet has many benefits including, lowering blood sugar, and cholesterol levels.
Types of Oats
Based on how oats are processed, they can be available in a variety of forms. The given list of oats is classified in order of least to most processed ones. Although, the nutritional value can be similar in most oats and these are;
- Oat Groats: oat groats are oat kernels that are found by removing the hulls. These hulls are the hard outer shells that protect the seeds of the oat plant. This type of oat contains the intact germ, endosperm, and bran. Oat bran gives you the most fiber content present in a groat.
- Steel-cut or Irish: it is a type of oat that can be taken as the original, unprocessed oat groat. Steel-cut oats can be produced by cutting off the groats into pieces using a steel blade. Pieces can be of smaller size so that they can cook easily.
- Scottish oats: these are oats that are oat groats that are ground into a meal. When you cook them it creates a porridge-like texture which can be eaten mostly for breakfast.
- Rolled or old-fashioned: these types of oats are oat groats that have been processed by steaming and flattening into flakes, and then dried so that the moisture present in them can be removed.
- Quick or instant: these are the most processed oats that are steamed for a longer period and also rolled into thin pieces so that it helps in absorbing water quickly. And you can cook them easily.
Note- You need to avoid those oats which contain flavor or sweeteners and add those to your diet which does not contain added sugars.
Health benefits of eating oats
As you know that oats are whole grains and you can add them to your healthy diet routine. They contain various nutrients which provide you with several health benefits including weight loss, lower blood sugar levels, and reduce risk of heart disease. Oats are the main source of fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals. And one of the main types of fiber present in oats is beta-glucan which helps in slow digestion, increases satiety, and suppresses hunger. If you take one-half cup of rolled oats and cook them in water, the nutrients contained in it include; 2 grams of dietary fiber, 3 grams of protein, and 0 grams of sugar.
Following are the main health benefits that can be provided by oats that are;
● Helps in lowering cholesterol
High cholesterol level is a risk factor for heart disease. Oats can lower your total and LDL(bad) cholesterol levels due to the presence of beta-glucan which may reduce the absorption of fats and LDL (Low-Density Lipoprotein) (bad) cholesterol in your body. Some studies show that if you consume oatmeal containing 3 grams or more of beta-glucan per day it helps you in reducing your total cholesterol level. Moreover, beta-glucan helps in maintaining your gut health by growing the healthy-bacterial colonies in your gut which helps in regulating your immunity.
● Improve blood sugar control
Type 2 diabetes is one of the causes of high blood sugar levels. This is due to the deficiency of insulin hormone in your body. Oatmeal contains soluble fiber, beta-glucan which helps in improving your insulin sensitivity and leads to a reduction of your blood sugar level. Therefore, if you have type 2 diabetes, oatmeal is a healthy offer in helping your level of blood sugar, but make sure not to add extra sugar to the meal. Also, your body can’t able to digest the soluble fiber, which slows the carb’s absorption into your bloodstream and gives you the feeling of a filled stomach.
● Rich in antioxidants helps lower blood pressure
Oats are rich in antioxidants called avenanthramides. This helps in lowering your blood pressure by increasing the production of nitric oxide. These nitric oxide molecules help your blood vessels to get wide so that this helps in flowing your blood in a better way.
Also, these antioxidants help in boosting your immune system which can fight against certain infections like itchy skin and inflammation.
● Highly nutritious
Oats are nutritious because of the contents present in them. They are a good source of carbs, and fiber, and also high in protein with all essential amino acids. Oats are also a great combination of important vitamins, minerals, etc. Moreover, oats are a good source of essential fiber that is beta-glucan which contains many health benefits. The nutrients contents present in 1 cup (81 grams) of raw oats are;
● Calories: 307
● Water: 8.7 grams
● Protein: 10.7 grams
● Carbs: 54.8 grams
● Sugar: 0.8 grams
● Fiber: 8.1 grams
● Fat: 5.3 grams
When your stool gets dry and hard, you can face the problem of constipation which refers to irregular bowel movements. And it is found in all age groups. Some studies show that oat bran, one of the types of oat that has a fiber-rich layer, helps in relieving constipation in old-age adults. Because of the presence of fiber, the water content of the stool will be increased which helps in easily passing the stool. Therefore, you can easily reduce the need of using laxatives.
Help in weight loss
When most of you consume oats, your main purpose of eating is to lose weight. This is one of the cereals you take when it comes to your healthy weight. Because it contains fiber and protein which makes you feel full for a long period. When you do not eat food because of being full for a long time you never crave food. And this is what makes you eat fewer calories and leads you to maintain your weight or lose weight.
Decrease the risk of childhood asthma
Asthma is mostly found in children. It is the condition in which your air passage gets blocked due to various stimuli including allergens, exercise, and cold air. Some studies show that the consumption of oats in the early developmental age of children can protect them from the development of asthma. Feeding oats to infants before 6 months of age can also decrease the risk of childhood asthma. 
Are there any risks of having oats in your diet?
Oats usually do not have any risks but for some conditions, they may give you side effects. Therefore, you need to be aware of that and these may include;
- Allergies: some oats are mixed with wheat gluten which is why you need to be aware and should look for gluten-free oats if you have a gluten allergy.
- Minor side effects: try to take it in a moderate amount because too much consumption of oats may cause side effects like gas and bloat.
- Added ingredients: some oats contain added ingredients like dry fruits and added sugars which may be harmful to you if you have diabetes. Therefore, go for whole-grain oats.
- Gastroparesis: if you have gastroparesis, you need to avoid it because it may make your condition even worse.
Thus, we can say that oats are the best cereal choice containing several nutrients, and these nutrients help in giving health benefits to your body. It comes in various forms depending upon its process which is in different textures. You can easily take it into your diet and make your diet nutritious. However, try to take it in a moderate amount otherwise it will give you some side effects which are not healthy for you.
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