Are oats the best thing on your breakfast menu?
Go to the health food section in your supermarket, and you’re bound to find plastic containers full of powders claiming to provide perfectly balanced, optimised nutrition. The nutrition industry has spent the last seventy years trying to perfect their formulas and some would have you believe their shakes are the only way to guarantee your body will get the nutrients it needs. It’s a fair statement considering most of the supermarket isles are dedicated to heavily processed, sugary foods. It’s understandable why people seeking a healthy lifestyle will reach for the ‘scientifically proven’ optimum nutrition formula, without realising, long before the dawn of humanity, mother nature had done it all for you in the form of oats.
It may seem old-fashioned and outmoded, but I can clearly recall seeing the ‘central heating for kids’ slogan on the Ready Brek advert when I was growing up in the late 70s and early 80s.
Oatmeal based breakfasts were, however, giving children far more than the alleged warming effect. In the days when there was no snacking between meals, a good serving of porridge first thing would ensure your children would last out until lunch time. Thanks to the slow releasing carbohydrates, oats would keep you fuller for longer without overloading on calories.
Nutrient dense, a 75g serving provides a good dose of all the vitamins and minerals you need and the balance of macronutrients is almost perfect. Okay, it’s nutrient profile isn’t spot on, but neither are the precisely engineered nutrition formulas. No food provides all your vitamins and minerals in exact doses, but then there isn’t such a thing as an exact dose because individual requirements vary.
So, mothers who were packing their kids off to school with a belly full of oats were doing far more than abating the shivers. Whilst providing a substantial percentage of daily nutrition requirements, a less than 300 calorie serving of oats provides a plethora of other benefits.
First up, as a low GI and high fibre food, oats can help combat obesity by stabilising blood sugar and suppressing cravings for sugary foods. According to the British Journal of Nutrition, oats can also help prevent diabetes and improve digestive health.
A paper published in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine in 2008, concluded consuming oats could reduce the risk of coronary heart disease because it significantly lowers cholesterol.
Researchers in Britain and the Netherlands found that consuming oats can reduce the risk of Colo-rectal cancer.
An article published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition stated eating oats was just as effective at lowering blood pressure as any medication.
Other benefits include antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Fast forward to the 21st Century and I think it’s fair to say we’ve become so preoccupied with ‘manufactured’ nutrition, we’ve totally overlooked the stuff that’s been doing the job just fine for generations. Business Insider Australia ranks it the Number 1 Whole Grain. Okay, it doesn’t provide every vitamin and mineral in the exact required amount but as long as you’re eating plenty of variety of good wholesome foods, Oats will provide the bulk of what you need. Add in a handful of berries and seeds to a bowl of milk porridge and you’ve pretty much nailed it.
What’s for breakfast tomorrow? I most certainly will be having my bowl of porridge along with honey and Cacao powder for a delicious chocolaty flavour. Following that, I know I won’t even be thinking about eating until mid-afternoon.
So why not try it for a week? I betcha you’ll feel great!
Nutrition facts (according to Healthline)
The nutrition facts for 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of raw oats are (5Trusted Source):
- Calories: 389
- Water: 8%
- Protein: 16.9 grams
- Carbs: 66.3 grams
- Sugar: 0 grams
- Fiber: 10.6 grams
- Fat: 6.9 grams
- Vitamin B1.