If you are what you eat, why not be an oat?
Having been consumed for thousands of years as a culinary staple, it's no secret that oats are pretty super. Oozing with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fibre, oats are getting the thumbs up from nutritionists world wide and in turn, hold a well deserved place at the breakfast (lunch & dinner) table.
So, ever wonder why you feel so full after a bowl of the good stuff? It's because oats are packed with fibre, making you feel fuller for longer. However, it's not just any old fibre we're talking about, it's the soluble fibre in porridge that is the real star of the show. Soluble fibre, also known as 'beta glucan' is a thick gel-like substance that forms in the gut once it's digested, making you feel fuller for extended periods. Beta glucan also helps to balance the immune system, speeds up metabolism, regulates blood sugars, lowers cholesterol levels and encourages healthy gut bacteria.
But that's not all.. Oats also include a wide range of vitamins and minerals which are a major contributor to their overall health profile. These vitamins and minerals as well as their benefits include;
- Manganese: Important for development, growth and metabolism.
- Phosphorus: Important for bone health and tissue maintenance.
- Copper: An antioxidant mineral that is often lacking in the Western diet. It is considered important for heart health.
- Vitamin B1: Found in many foods, including grains, beans, nuts and meat. It's not uncommon for vegetarians and vegans to be lacking in this vitamin.
- Iron: A component of haemoglobin which is a protein responsible for transporting oxygen in the blood. Iron is an essential component in the human diet.
- Selenium: An antioxidant, important for various processes in the body. Low selenium status has been associated with increased risk of premature death, and impaired immune and mental function.
- Magnesium: Often lacking in the human diet, this mineral is important for numerous processes in the body. Magnesium deficiency has also been linked to mental health and depression.
- Zinc: A mineral that participates in many chemical reactions in the body and is important for overall health.
So now you know that these good things are working wonders on your insides, you'll be happy to know they work from the inside to the out! Having been used in natural skin remedies through the ages, the starchiness of the oat creates a barrier that allows the skin to hold its moisture, while the rougher fibrous husk of the oat acts as a gentle exfoliant, gently removing dirt and oil for a deep down clean. Oatmeal contains anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, treating a variety of skin disorders - for example; sunburn, eczema as well as dry, itchy or irritated skin.
So if you're suffering from the winter woollies try having an oat bath by filling a clean sock with oats and leaving it in the bath as it runs (sounds weird but it works wonders on the skin).
Finally, I’ll end with the million-dollar question: Are oats gluten free?
Despite what people often think, oats are naturally gluten-free. It is only through cross-contamination that oats will hold traces of gluten/ wheat. If you are celiac, it’s best to check with your doctor before deciding to try the super food!
So there we have it, the many phases of the oat and all that it stands for.
Happy oating x