Oats (Avena sativa) are a member of the grass family and have been sustaining human beings for thousands of years because their superior nutrition, ability to grow well in poor soil, shelf-stability and versatility make them an ideal foodstuff. They’re delicious, readily available year round and have a number of profound health benefits.
The Benefits of Oats
Oats are a whole grain which contains large quantities of fiber, more than 80 different nutrients and are very low in calories. This alone makes them a good choice for those trying to lose weight. However, they further assist the process by acting to stabilize blood sugar. If your blood sugar is constantly going up and down, you’re more likely to eat excessively and indulge in sugary foods. Furthermore, elevated blood sugar shifts your body into fat storage mode, shuttling a far greater portion of your total caloric intake into fat cells instead of energy.
Oats’ fiber content provides another mode of attack against your waistline in the form of appetite control. Because it is capable of soaking up so much fluid, fiber expands in your stomach. This makes it take longer to digest and takes up space, which helps you eat less and keeps you full longer.
Besides being high in health-promoting fiber and excellent for weight loss, oats are also high in an essential mineral called selenium. Selenium works with vitamin E and glutathione, which are also antioxidants, to ward off oxidative damage in the body. Selenium is useful for aiding asthma and preventing heart disease. It is also has a critical part in repairing your DNA, which reduces your overall risk of cancer and having children with birth defects.
Oats, in all their fibrous glory, may be exactly what’s needed if you suffer from high cholesterol. Fiber acts like a sponge in the digestive system, soaking things up and removing them from the body. Most of the cholesterol in the body comes from food, so including fiber with all of your meals will considerably reduce the amount that you absorb and the rest is carried away harmlessly.
Starting the day with a big, steaming bowl of oatmeal makes your body perform better by enhancing digestion. Oat-based fiber makes digesting food easier. When fiber absorbs water, it forms a jelly-like substance that lubricates the digestive tract and reduces the occurrence of constipation and hemorrhoids.
Anyone who wants to have more muscles, a faster metabolism, accelerated fat loss, improved energy and stamina and a higher libido is advised to eat oats for their testosterone-boosting effects. The increase can be so large that it can be felt within an hour of ingestion. Not all forms of oat will have the same amount of effect. Steel cut or Irish oatmeal, because it is so minimally processed, gives the best results.
There are many ways to cook your oats. Some people cook them in a crock pot, microwave or on the stove. You are advised to soak your oats overnight to neutralize the phytic acid that can bind the nutrients and make them unavailable to the body. Afterward, slow cook them on a low temperature to help them obtain an appealing consistency while preserving the maximum amount of nutrients. Avoid microwaving them, as these devices have been shown to alter and destroy nutrients in food.
Spring into Action with an Energy Rich Food
With the lethargy of cold months starting to fall away and the energy of spring taking over, it is time to start getting active and enjoying the great weather. Spring is a time to start getting back into the warm weather habits and enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, biking and water sports. Sustaining the energy to get through a beautiful spring day starts with an energizing breakfast.
Oats for Breakfast
During spring, energy levels are generally higher than the previous cold months. The body is ready to enjoy the great outdoor weather and that means starting out with plenty of energy. Skipping breakfast is one of the worst decisions a man, woman or child can make, particularly during spring when outdoor activities are on the rise.
Oats are one of the best breakfast foods to help provide long lasting energy that will make the most of the beautiful weather and changes in the season. Oats are full of complex carbohydrates that take time for the body to break down. As a result, a breakfast that contains oats will supply energy for hours without causing the dramatic shift that is commonly seen from sugar.
As a fibre rich carbohydrate food, oats help sustain energy throughout the day without the inevitable crash that comes with processed foods and other sugar heavy breakfast alternatives. During spring, this long lasting energy can make the difference between finishing that uphill climb for an amazing view or getting to a destination on a bike. Breakfast is particularly important for the body to get energy that lasts through any situation.
Adding to Breakfast
Oats are a durable and easily changed breakfast food that avoids the boredom and potential lethargy inducing impact of eating the same meal every morning. In spring, it is particularly easy to make breakfast interesting as fresh berries and other fruits are easier to obtain.
Adding to the oats for breakfast requires nothing more than adding fresh berries, banana slices and raisons with cinnamon after cooking. The oats combined with fresh fruit or healthy spices create a double impact on a positive health benefits of this amazing breakfast food.
Energy Through the Day
Oats are an energy stabilizing food due to the complexity of the carbohydrates. While it is a great way to start a spring morning, it is also useful for maintaining energy levels throughout the day.
Whether the plan is going for a hike or getting through work on a beautiful day that beckons outdoor activity, energy is a necessity. Packing an oat bar in a lunch or for a snack at the top of the hill will give a boost of energy that lasts for hours.
Oat bars are full of energy rich oats as well as other ingredients like raisons and other dried fruits and nuts that naturally give the body energy. After a long hike, bike ride or day at work, the additional energy of an oat bar can make it easier to get through the second half of the activity. The oats give sustainable energy to the body that is maintained for the next few hours while the dried fruit and nuts give an immediate burst of energy that provides a second wind.
Spring is a time of energy, action and liveliness that requires an excellent breakfast and energy boosting snacks. During the spring months, when outdoor activities are at their peak due to the comfortably warm weather that has not yet reached the summer heights, having long lasting energy is a necessity. Springing into the action packed activities of the beautiful spring days starts with a healthy breakfast.
Oats, A Breakfast of Champions
Breakfast in the most important meal of the day because it provides the body with the base nutrition needed to perform the days work. Most people wake from a night’s sleep and need to refuel in order to start the day. There are many food options that can be considered for breakfast. Theses foods include fruits, eggs, breakfast meats, such as bacon or sausage, and grains, like toast, cereals and oatmeals.
Oats have many nutrients and minerals within. B vitamins are great for helping in metabolic processes. Vitamin E is great for one’s skin. Zinc has healing properties and Iron is needed to help transport oxygen in the blood. But in addition to providing our bodies with many important vitamins and minerals, oats have been found to provide many other dietary benefits. A diet that includes oats can lower a person risk of heart disease. Oats contain antioxidants, which help reduce free radicals from damaging the cardiovascular system.
The consumption of oats can also help reduce bad cholesterol levels in the blood by providing the necessary soluble fibers needed to bind to the low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, also known as the bad cholesterol, and ultimately be excreted from the body through digestion. Lowering the bad cholesterol in ones body can decrease the person’s chances of heart attack or stroke.
Diabetics often struggle with their blood sugar levels. Soluble fiber can benefit a diabetic’s diet. Digestion is slowed with the presence of fiber that can result in a more gradual change in blood sugar levels.
Oatmeal is a whole grain and can be a great tool to assist in weight management. In addition to the soluble fiber found in oats, insoluble fiber is also found in oats and can make a person feel fuller longer. Since digestion of oats is a slower process due to the fiber it also provides the body a steady release of energy. Oats can easily be supplemented by adding fresh fruits, like bananas or berries, and low-fat milk. With these additions one can create a meal that can boost metabolism and provide long-lasting energy needed for the day.
Nursing mothers can also find added benefits from a diet including oats. Inadequate milk supply can be a common concern for new mothers. Many moms have noticed an increase in milk production when eating oats on a regular basis. Scientific studies have not been able to provide definitive proof of this benefit but many allocate the positive results some moms find to the soothing and stress reducing comfort eating a bowl of oatmeal can provide a person. The source of iron found in oatmeal may also be a factor in the increase in milk production for anemic mother produce more milk.
In addition to providing many dietary benefits, oats have phytochemicals. Phytochemicals have been found useful in preventing cancer because of their cancer fighting properties. These days, we come in contact with so many carcinogens, oats may help us prevent those carcinogens from killing us.
Oats for breakfast may be the best kind of breakfast. It can be dressed up with fruits, or served as a side to one’s eggs and bacon but the dietary benefits cannot be ignored but savored.