What are the Benefits of Oatmeal?
Dr. Sneha Ganatra
November 17, 2020
Breakfast is often considered the most important meal of the day and oats have slowly become a beloved part of morning routines the world over. While it is a staple in places like Europe, North America, and Russia, it wasn’t until recently that developing countries turned to oats. Naturally, this begs the question, what is oats? Simply put, oats are grains from the Avena sativa plant and are loaded with fibre, vitamins, and minerals. They are among the healthiest whole grains available and are a great source of all the essential nutrients needed by the body.
There are a few different types of oatmeal, such as quick-cooking, steel cut, rolled, crushed, oat groat, and instant. All of these are the different ways in which oats are processed to facilitate cooking, without which they aren’t suitable for consumption. Oats nutrition value is a definitely the hero of this grain, especially since it contains avenanthramides. Experts believe that this unique group of antioxidants can protect against heart disease and whole oats are the only food source that provides it.
To help you better understand this natural superfood and learn what it can bring to your diet, take a look at the following benefits of oatmeal.
What is oats nutritional value?
Here are the oats nutrition facts for 100g of raw oatmeal.
Based on this chart that lists the nutrition facts of oats, protein and carbohydrates stand out among the other nutrients, thus highlighting how healthy it can be. Moreover, oats are about 11% fibre, most of which is soluble. This helps slow down digestion and improve appetite control, while increasing satiety.
Infrequent bowel movement is unhealthy and should be addressed sooner than later. While you can rely on laxatives, these are associated with many side effects. As such, opting for a natural solution is ideal and consuming oats has proven to be effective. Oat bran is rich in fibre, which has been found to relieve constipation, especially in elderly people. This fibre aids optimal gastrointestinal function and can even prevent constipation altogether.
Aids weight loss
Weight loss is often brought on by eating healthy, burning calories through physical activity, and eating in a calorie-deficit. As such, it is smart to consume foods that are nutritionally dense and keep you feeling full for longer. Oatmeal does just that and this is due to the fibre content in it, thanks to beta-glucan in particular. This fibre may also help in the release of the peptide YY (PYY), a satiety hormone, which not only helps reduce calorie intakes, but may also decrease the risk of obesity.
Promotes healthy gut bacteria
The beta-glucan fibre in oatmeal also helps improve gut bacteria. This fibre mixes with water to form a gel-like coating that lines the stomach and digestive tract. As a result, it provides an environment that promotes the growth of healthy bacteria, thus improving gut health.
Serves as a rich source of antioxidants
As mentioned earlier, oatmeal is rich in antioxidants and is a source of avenanthramides. There are several benefits to this antioxidant specifically, such as:
- Reduced itching and inflammation
- Lower blood pressure
- Improved blood flow
In general, antioxidants like enterolactone in oats also combat the effect of free radicals in the body. This is important as free radicals can lead to serious conditions like cancer.
Offers relief from certain skin conditions
When it comes to oats, food is the first use that comes to mind. However, there are several skin care products that use this grain as an ingredient. It is usually listed on such products as colloidal oatmeal and oats have found to be quite effective in treating several conditions. For instance, oats can help treat itchiness and irritation in skin conditions and even alleviate symptoms of eczema. However, it is important to note that this is only applicable when oat-based products are applied to skin and not when consumed.
How to eat oats
Oats are now a part of several Indian recipes that are known for unique textures and tastes. However, for simplicity, here is a short rundown of what you need to do to make a quick bowl of breakfast oatmeal.
- Preparation of oats
o Use the type of oatmeal you desire
o Bring 1.5 cups of water or milk to a boil
o Add 1.5 cups of oats and stir
o Reduce heat to medium
o Continue simmering for the duration indicated on the packaging
o Add sweeteners or spices, as per taste
Based on the type of oats you’ve chosen, the cooking time varies. For steel-cut, rolled, or crushed oats, you will need to simmer for about 10 to 20 minutes for it to completely cook. For the oat groat variant, it will take longer, up to 60 minutes. Finally, the instant variant is usually the quickest and allows you to get your meal ready in a few minutes; however, it is the most processed of the lot.
Do’s and don’ts when eating oatmeal
- Don’t add too much sugar or honey
- Don’t rely on ready-to-eat packaged oats
- Do choose the right toppings
- Do measure your intake
Risks to keep in mind
While oatmeal is generally good for health, there are few side effects that are possible. Here are a few common risks to take note of:
- Allergic reactions to gluten content
- Stomach pain
- Reduced absorption of iron in the intestinal tract
Simply based on the oats nutrition facts alone it is clear that oatmeal is good for you and should be part of a healthy breakfast or snack. As a matter of fact, the instant variant of oatmeal is something you can rely on no matter the occasion as it doesn’t take that long to cook. Some brands even make it as a simple as adding hot water and letting it cook for a few minutes before its ready to consume. For those on the go, this serves as a viable solution to getting many of the numerous essential nutrients required by the body, along with soluble fibre, in order to maintain a good energy balance throughout the day.
However, regardless of the benefits, keep the risks in mind and avoid complications altogether by seeking professional advice. With the Bajaj Finserv Health app, you can find the best nutritionists in your area and ensure that your diet actually gives you the results you desire. What’s more, you can also book appointments online, right from your smartphone, and consult with doctors virtually over video. This makes remote healthcare a reality and helps you get the care you need without any restrictions. This app also allows you to track your vitals and maintain digital patient records, which can then be shared with medical professionals as needed. With the Bajaj Finserv Health app, you get all these benefits and more, right at your fingertips. To get started, download the app for free from the Apple App Store or Google Play today and make sure to include oats in your diet!