Oats are a well-known staple for millions of people, and not without good reason! They are easy to cook, can be used in countless recipes, and are readily available in virtually every country in the world. But most importantly, oats are one of the most nutrient-dense foods we can eat. You might not have thought of this small, beige grain as particularly interesting (other than providing your morning bowl of porridge), but that’s why you need to read on for Oat Power: 6 Reasons to Love this Pantry Staple!
1. High in Nutrients
Oats are rich in carbs, fibre, as well as protein and a small amount of good fats. They are also high in manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, zinc, iron, folate and B vitamins. What gives them away as nutrient-dense is that each serving is comparatively low in calories.
2. Relieves Constipation
Oats are very high in both soluble and insoluble fibre, and a whole host of their benefits are linked to this. We’ve all had mornings where we’ve woken up and just felt a bit backed-up down below. For many people a good solution to this is a bowl of porridge, and there is science that backs this up. The high fibre content and glutinous nature of the oats helps to make stools softer and larger, which makes them easier to pass on those slightly slower days.
3. Oats Help Lower Blood Pressure
Studies have found that eating a small portion of oats every day (around 60 grams of rolled oats) has led to a reduction in blood pressure. This is due to a type of fibre found in them called beta-glucan, which can reduce cholesterol levels. Fibre really is amazing!
4. Fills You Up
Having a high water and fibre content makes them very filling. The fibre increases the viscosity of all the food in the gut, which increases the overall volume and this is what makes you feel more full. For this reason oats are useful for people who are trying to lose weight, as feeling full can prevent snacking between meals. This is also why oats are so often eaten in the morning – what a great way to start your day!
5. Antioxidant Properties
Antioxidant foods help to counter the effects of harmful free-radicals in the body, so reduce oxidative stress and are therefore protective against diseases, including many types of cancer. There is actually a unique antioxidant called avenanthramide, which is only found in oats!
6. Soothes Eczema
So we know oats are good for the gut, but can they really be good for our skin too? If you’ve ever been desperate for a solution to itchy eczema then you might have already stumbled upon the suggestion of using oats before. In fact, rubbing porridge over the irritated area of skin is a tried and tested method of exfoliating and relieving itchiness. You can even buy special oat-based skin products, which really make the most of their soothing properties.