Goodness Of Oats

Written by Dr Harold Gunatillake Health Writer

In the West, oats, which Sri Lanka usually imports, seems a very popular food. The Sri Lankans add milk to oats and microwave it for a few minutes thus preparing a healthy breakfast out of it. Some add sliced ripe bananas and other fruits to make it more palatable.

Oats is also suitable for those on diets. Oatmeal and oat bran are excellent sources of fibre because they contain both soluble and insoluble fibre equally. The soluble fibre in oats contains beta-glucans which is proved effective in lowering blood cholesterol. It forms a gel in the intestines that traps the cholesterol in bile, and in the digesting food.

Oats is also a good source of tocotrienols. These are antioxidants that together with tocophenols in the oats, form Vitamin E. Tocotrienols also lowers the cholesterol level in the blood.

Blood sugar
Beta-glucans in oats seem to slow glucose absorption. This is due to the gel foaming in the gut. Betaglucans eliminates inflammation, and eases any inflammatory processes in the pancreas that affects insulin secretion.

100gm of Oats has about 66g of carbohydrates and this amount is considered moderate as per the glycaemic index scale.

Due to these reasons, oats is considered a beneficial breakfast for diabetics.

It is shown that oat betaglucan can increase Peptide Y-Y, a powerful appetite control hormone. If you can keep your appetite in check, you will not be obese; it reduces the possibility of your being diabetic.

Anti-cancer properties
Oats, like other grains, contains hundreds of phytochemicals (plant chemicals). According to researches, people who eat food that contain plant chemicals have less risk of having cancers. Studies have shown that women who take in high fibre diets have a low oestrogen level circulation.

Low blood pressure
Many studies have shown that high soluble fibre in oats can lower blood pressure. Oats is also high in magnesium. It is critical for gaining vascular, muscle and digestive health. Many studies have shown that those deficient in magnesium get high blood pressure. Also for irritable bowel syndrome, oats can be beneficial.

Bowel function
Those who take in high fibre diets experience easy bowel movements. Insoluble fibre does not dissolve in water and it absorbs many times its own weight of liquid. Those who suffer from bowel diseases can get relief from constipation by consuming high fibre diets, researchers show.

In general oats has a higher concentration of well-balanced protein than most other cereals have. The phytochemicals in oats protects you from chronic diseases, including cancer. Oats also contains well-balanced fatty acid that helps people gain good health and longevity.

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