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Eat your oats

Old Fashioned, quick, instant and steel cut are all examples of oat varieties. Is one type of oat more nutritious than the other? No. All varieties of oats provide similar amounts of nutrients, calories, and fiber; a nutrient that is chronically underconsumed in the United States. Oats are an example of a whole-grain and full of key nutrients required in our diets daily, such as thiamin, phosphorous, magnesium and a soluble fiber called beta-glucan.

A half cup serving of old-fashioned oats provides about four grams of fiber and including just one serving of oats into your diet daily, can help close the fiber gap while providing important health benefits.  To provide a reference point, adult women under the age of 50, require 25 grams of fiber daily, whereas men under the age of 50 require 38 grams of fiber daily.

Oats are also naturally gluten-free and maybe suitable for those who suffer from gastrointestinal conditions such as celiac disease.  However, it is important to consider where oats are manufactured since they may come in cross-contact with other gluten-containing grains. In this case, check the nutrition label and product packaging and look for key phrases such as gluten-free. Several brands now exist on the market that ensure their product is gluten-free.

Clients often ask why oats should be included in their diet. Besides being a versatile food that can be used beyond breakfast, the health benefits of oats are well documented throughout scientific literature. One of the first established health benefits of oats is for heart health. Scientific evidence supports the role of oats in lowering cholesterol, a known risk factor for heart disease. This benefit of oats is due to beta-glucan.  Beta-glucan helps to bind a cholesterol containing substance called bile and then gets rid of it before it reaches the bloodstream.

Studies also report that oatmeal may help to promote satiety; the feeling of fullness after a meal, which prevents eating in between mealsThis is a useful technique for weight management and obesity in general.  Finally, emerging science continues to investigate other benefits of oats for blood pressure, blood glucose management, optimal release of energy and digestive health.  For example, beta-glucan is a prebiotic dietary fiber that can have a range of benefits for digestive health.

Finally the essential nutrients that oats contain are unique in their composition due to compounds that contain antioxidant activity and have been shown to provide additional protection against heart disease, skin inflammation, and colon cancer . 

Image: Oats, CC0 via Unsplash

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  2. Kristin Pangallo

    Hi! My daughter has celiac disease and cannot eat oats. She seems to be sensitive to the oats themselves, as we made sure to purchase purity protocol oats to avoid the issues of cross-contamination. It is my understanding that this is due to the avenin protein in oats that is structurally similar to the gluten protein. I thought it was worth noting that many people with celiac disease cannot eat oats.

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