What Are The Health Benefits Of Oats?

What Are The Health Benefits Of Oats?

This cereal that is commonly eaten as a breakfast option comes packed with nutrients. The dietary fiber (beta-glucan being the most important of that) and minerals present in oats help avert numerous dangerous conditions like heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and even cancer. They also enhance the health of your skin and hair.  

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Aid In Diabetes Treatment

Oats have a low glycemic index, and their high fiber content helps regulate blood sugar levels. Also, oats, being rich in fiber, are digested slowly. Foods that are digested quick can cause quick blood sugar spikes – making it difficult to manage blood sugar spikes. Oatmeal makes the contents of the stomach much thicker, thereby making them get digested slowly. As per one study, oatmeal can also reduce insulin dosages.

As per one study, oats consumption has a beneficial effect on the glucose and lipid profiles in patients with type 2 diabetes. Beta-glucans in oats were also found to reduce blood glucose concentrations upon consumption.

Help Treat Hypertension

Consuming oats was found to reduce systolic blood pressure by 7.5 points and diastolic blood pressure by 5.5 points. It not only reduces your blood pressure, but also cuts the risk of heart disease by 22 percent. For this purpose, you can choose cooked (non-instant) and organic oatmeal.

Addition of oats to the normal diet of hypertensive patients produced beneficial effects. The study concluded that soluble fiber-rich oats could be an effective dietary therapy to prevent and treat hypertension.

May Help Relieve Constipation

Since oatmeal is rich in fiber, it also can help relieve constipation. Oats were also found to increase stool weight, thereby treating constipation. They can even play a protective role against colorectal cancer.

In another study, oat bran was found to improve constipation and the bioavailability of B12 in older adults.

Oats are rich in insoluble fiber. This is particularly true for steel-cut and old-fashioned rolled oats. Insoluble fiber is very good for gut health, with one of its benefits being the treatment for constipation.

Promote Bone Health

Oats offer a host of minerals essential for bone health. Steel-cut oats are preferred to the rolled variety as the former has less air exposure and is less likely to turn rancid. However, try to avoid instant oatmeal as it can turn rancid very quickly.

Another important mineral oats are rich in is silicon. This mineral has a role to play in bone formation and maintenance. Silicon can also aid in the treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis.

Boost Energy

Since carbs are the body’s primary source of energy, and since oats are rich in carbs, they offer an energy boost when consumed right in the morning. But worry not – oats are absorbed much slower in the body, and this gives you a longer-lasting boost (in addition to not spiking your blood sugar levels). And the B vitamins in oats (like thiamin, niacin, and folate) work together to help your body metabolize energy.

Help Fight Cancer

The antioxidants in oats can help combat cancer. And the fiber in oats can prevent rectal and colon cancers (as already discussed). Though there is limited research on the type of oatmeal that helps fight cancer, it is better to stick to the variety that you feel comfortable with.

A set of 12 studies involving over 800,000 people had revealed that taking a large bowl of porridge (another name for oats) a day can cut the risk of death by cancer by as much as 20 percent. Consuming fiber can also reduce the risk of bowel cancer.

Improve Cardiac Health

Oats contain a powerful fiber called beta-glucan that helps lower cholesterol levels. Beta-glucan is the main component of the soluble fiber in oats, and it reduces bad cholesterol without affecting the levels of good cholesterol. The antioxidants in oats (avenanthramides and phenolic acids) work along with vitamin C to prevent LDL oxidation, which can also cause heart disease.

Oat bran also contains vitamin E, another nutrient for heart health. More interestingly, oat bran contains more fiber (15 to 26 percent) than oatmeal (7 percent). In one study, oat bran intake was linked to 12 percent decrease in average total cholesterol.

Improve Immunity

The beta-glucan in oatmeal can enhance your immunity levels. A majority of immune cells in your body have special receptors that are designed to absorb beta-glucan. This kicks up the activity of the white blood cells and protects against disease. Oats are also rich in selenium and zinc that play a part in fighting infections.

According to a Norwegian study, the beta-glucan in oats is far more potent than echinacea (a North American flower popular for its healing properties). The compound can accelerate wound healing and make antibiotics more effective in humans.

Enhance Sleep Quality

The amino acids and other nutrients in oats help produce melatonin, the chemical that induces sleep. And when mixed with milk or honey, oats become a wonderful bedtime snack.

Whole grain oats also promote insulin production, which helps the neural pathways receive tryptophan. Tryptophan is an amino acid that acts as a sedative to the brain. Oats are also rich in vitamin B6, which helps reduce stress (one major cause of sleeplessness). Combining oats with milk and bananas can further help your body relax.