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Healthy Diet Plans >>  Therapeutic Value of Different Foods >>  Grains >>  Oats


A fresh cooked oat meal with milk is an excellent way to start your day. Oats are available throughout the year and are harvested mainly in the fall. Oats are a hard cereal grain and can thrive in poor soil conditions too, where most of the other crops fail to grow. The hulling process does not remove the bran and the germ layer, thus the nutrients and fiber in them are retained.

Health benefits of oats

If you want to prevent or if you are currently dealing with diabetes or heart disease, oats     are a healthy list in your menu.

  1. Fiber form oats – beta glucan has been proved to have beneficial effects to lower cholesterol levels in the body. Studies prove that consuming 3g soluble oat fiber per day can help lower total cholesterol by 8-23%. This is very important as just 1% drop in cholesterol decreases 2% risk of developing a heart disease. High cholesterol levels are directly associated with the development of plaques in the arteries, atherosclerosis, cardiovascular diseases and stroke.
  2. Beta glucan also helps in blood sugar control by releasing the glucose to the blood at a set pace and avoiding high glucose spikes. Besides the magnesium present in oats is a co-factor in various enzymes involved in the secretion of insulin and metabolism of glucose in the body.
  3. Beta glucan from oats also helps to enhance the human immune system in case of a bacterial infection. It helps the neutrophils to reach the site of infection quickly and increase its ability to kill the bacteria or virus responsible for the infection.
  4. Along with fiber, avenanthramides – antioxidant compounds found in oats help to prevent the oxidation of LDL cholesterol by scavenging the free radicals and thus reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Postmenopausal women with signs of cardiovascular disease like high blood pressure, increased cholesterol and obesity can benefit from eating whole grain especially oats by eating them 6 times a week.

Oats are also a very good source of selenium which works synergistically with vitamin E to scavenge the free radicals from the body and reduce the oxidative stress. Oats can even be well tolerated by children who are gluten sensitive or celiac disease (although they have small amounts of gluten).
Consuming whole grains such as oats is also linked to have a protective effect against many health conditions like insulin resistance, atherosclerosis, obesity, childhood asthma and ischemic stroke. As the array of nutrients present in whole grains helps to lower cholesterol, improve blood sugar control and supply essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants for health.

Submitted on January 16, 2014