Healthy Living

Oats For Weight Loss And Other Health Benefits

Oats are a healthy whole cereal grain popularly consumed for breakfast as oatmeal by either boiling oats in water and sometimes even milk. Rich in dietary fiber, complex carbohydrates and several nutrients, oats are filled with important vitamins and minerals such as magnesium and calcium essential for good health. 

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) said that every 100 grams of oats contain 398 calories, 4 grams of beta-glucan, 11 grams of fiber and 16.9 grams of protein. There are many forms it can be eaten. Oat groats are not easy to process since they are the whole form and it can take a while to cook it properly, while some people might want an easier-to-process variety such as rolled or steel-cut oats.

This mushy-textured oats can also be found in several baked goods. The main health benefits derived from eating oats for breakfast every day or in any other form are mentioned below:

Antioxidants

The whole oats variety are rich in antioxidants, particularly avenanthramides, that are only found in oats and no other food. It helps bring down blood pressure and nitric oxide levels. Oats also have anti-inflammatory properties. Polyphenols that are important plant compounds are also present in oats, which contribute to lessening oxidative stress. 

Weight Loss

Eating fiber rich food is known to fill up the stomach to saturation point and gives a sense of fullness, preventing hunger pangs due to the presence of beta-glucan; thus, reducing the amount of calories consumed. How does this happen? A hormone called peptide YY(PYY) is released in the gut when appetite has been satiated. It reduces risk of obesity among other harmful health conditions. 

Anti-Cancer

A study done on 2 million people was conducted by researchers in Britain and the Netherlands. It looked at the benefits of consuming a high-fiber diet with whole grains such as oats. The findings that were published in BMJ said that consuming 10 more grams of fiber, reduced their risk of contracting colorectal cancer by 10 percent. 

Heart Disease and Cholesterol

According to information provided by Medical News Today, there was a paper in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, published in 2008, that shows oats play a role in reducing cholesterol. It had looked at studies for over a decade, where it was observed that eating soluble fiber ( oats being one of them) significantly brings down the risk of coronary heart disease. 

The study concluded that consuming oats and oat-based products regularly reduced cholesterol levels. This is due to the beta-glucan fiber found in oats that are known to bring down LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglycerides. 

Blood Sugar

Oats help improve insulin sensitivity as it aids the absorption of glucose into the bloodstream. In this way, blood sugar levels are reduced, especially with people who are obese and have a predisposition to diabetes. 

Skin Care

Oats are listed as one of the many ingredients on the labels of skin care products. Finely grounded oats are called ‘colloidal oatmeal’ and it is approved by the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) as a legitimate skin-care substance. It is used to treat various skin care conditions including eczema. 

Heart Healthy Oats Oats are a heart-healthy source of nutrients, that is commonly eaten as a breakfast cereal. Photo courtesy of Pixabay, public domain

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