Over the past few decades, oats (Avena sativa) in the form of oatmeal or rolled oats have become a very popular 'health food.' They are mainly eaten as porridge, as an ingredient in breakfast cereals and in baked goods.
Research claims that they have a range of potential health benefits. But what are they?
1. Oats are high in fibre, coming from whole grain which contains all three parts - bran, endosperm and germ which helps maintain digestive health.
Oats contains both soluble and insoluble fibre, providing 9.4g of fibre per 100g in comparison to cup noodles (4.1g), white rice (1.3g) and brown rice (3.6g).
Oat Bran contains the greatest amount of Beta-Glucan and is a rich source of B vitamins and nutrients.
Oat Endosperm, the largest section and middle layer, serves as the main energy source of the plant, in the form of carbohydrates and protein.
Oat Germ, the heart of the grain and the smallest part of the kernel, is loaded with nutrients like B vitamins, vitamin E, trace minerals and phytochemicals.
2. Oats are an important source of soluble fibre, beta-glucan which helps to lower cholesterol if it is accompanied by a diet low in saturated fat and low in cholesterol.
3. Every bowl of oats (40g) is filling and provides lasting energy. Oat soluble fiber may help slow digestion and the release of glucose into the blood stream, providing a slower supply of energy. For 150 calories, one-half cup of oatmeal provides 15 per cent of the Daily Value of fibre including two grams of soluble fiber. A 40 grams serving of oatmeal helps keep you full for up to four hours when consumed with one cup of fat-free milk.
4. It is a good source of protein with higher levels compared to most cereals, thus helps build and maintain body tissues. Oats provides 13.7g of protein per 100g, compared to white rice (7.1g), brown rice (7.5g), white wheat flour (10.3g), pearled barley (9.9g) and whole corn flour (6.9g).
5. High with vitamins and minerals, it is good for general health and wellness.
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