What Is So Great About Oats Anyway?
This is a sponsored post for Quaker Oats and was first published on MyCity4Kids.com
A few days back, I wrote about how a letter from the Principal of our school got me searching for a filling alternative to a mere glass of milk my little one would have before school; leading me to discovering the miracle grain – Oats – that would keep my little one full and energetic until it was time for his snack break. Since then, oats have been a regular in our home and I have also made it a point to include oats in the different snacks and smoothies that I usually make for him.
Now mostly, he is unaware of what goes into his snacks – so long as it tastes delicious, he is happy and all is well with the world! But then there are times, when he keeps me company in the kitchen and while he keeps chirping in the background about his day, I go about making his after-school snacks. One such time though, when I was making his favourite Akki Roti last week, he stopped mid-sentence when he saw me add a bit of Quaker oats to the recipe.
“Ismein bhi oats dalti ho?” (“Do you put oats in this too?”) he asked.
“Haan, why not?” (“Yes, why not?”) I retorted.
“Why put in everything?” he wanted to know. “Why eat oats every day? It’s so boring!”
“Oh, but it isn’t really boring, is it?” I asked. “You sure like the taste of all that you have! And in any case, oats is so healthy, that the more you eat oats, the better it is for you!” I said.
By then his snack was ready and he had lost interest in the health benefits of oats.But the question kept nagging me. Really, why was I so keen on including oats in our diet in some form or another? What was so great about oats anyway?
Of course, when I had researched earlier, the trusted Google had assured me that a bowl of oats was a miracle bowl that kept your energy levels up without making you feel terribly full or sluggish. I was also assured by good old Google that oats was versatile and could be cooked in a jiffy, (which, too I had experienced to be true.) But now that I had gotten to adding oats to almost everything I made, I wanted to really know more about the grain. And that’s when I turned, again, to my reliable research tool – Google – for more information on this whole grain.
Of course when I embarked on this search, I was prepared to be bombarded with information about the nutritional value of oats, about the fibre content in oats and information on those lines. But what I wasn’t prepared for was the sheer number of hits my search produced! There were so many good people of the internet hailing this humble grain, that I found myself rooting for this underdog of a grain too!
But what really caught my attention were these really important long term benefits:
- Oats contains fibre that is extremely beneficial to us
Oats is said to be a significant source of dietary fibre, both soluble and insoluble. The soluble fibres help in lowering the bad cholesterol and stabilizing the blood glucose levels. The insoluble fibre helps in improving intestinal growth. It also helps in keeping us feeling fuller for longer thereby reducing mid-meal food cravings and aiding in weight loss.
- Oats provides important antioxidants and minerals
Oats contains several antioxidants which help enhance the overall health of the body. Oats also contain many important minerals such as iron, zinc, manganese, phosphorous, selenium, magnesium, thiamin and so on that are essential for the smooth working of our body.
- Oats reduces the risk of high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes
Studies have found that oats being a whole grain is helpful in substantially lowering the risk of Type 2 diabetes thanks to complex carbohydrates and its high fibre content. The magnesium present in high quantities in oats also helps in insulin secretion as well as the proper use of glucose.
- Oats reduces the risk of certain cancers and cardiovascular diseases
Oats is said to contain lignans or chemical compounds which are said to protect against cardiovascular diseases. One specific such chemical compound – enterolactone – is said to be beneficial in protecting against breast cancer as well as other cancers that are hormone dependent. The unique antioxidants in oats are said to be helpful in fighting off free radicals that attack the good cholesterol in the body; and are said to be helpful in fighting off cardiovascular diseases.
- Oats is good for your immune system
Oats are high in an amino acid – arginine – which is influential in the maintenance of the body’s immune function. One of the fibres in oats – beta-glucan – is believed to be helpful to white blood cells in locating the site of infection and improving the ability of eliminating the bacteria from there.
Now you tell me, is this list impressive or what!
Growing up in India, we are not used to eating oats porridge for breakfast. Accustomed to poori bhaji, idli sambar, and even the humble but flavour-packed upma in the morning, we as a country are a little skeptical when it comes to having the bland oats porridge as our first meal of the day. Put off by its insipid flavour, we don’t much use it in our regular cooking either. Not only that, our little ones, growing up in the true blue Indian household; also prefer parathas, samosas, maybe even a cheese sandwich; but wrinkle their noses at the vapid oats porridge. Obviously, this leaves health-freak mums with no choice but to sneak in this extremely beneficial whole grain in all our recipes in any which way we can!
So yes, it is an effort to ensure that oats finds its way in our diet every day one way or the other; but looking at the benefits, I would say, it is definitely worth the effort to include oats in our everyday cooking.
Believe me; the very same children who might hate oats today will be the ones to thank you tomorrow for the long term benefits this amazing grain will provide them with! So go ahead, indulge in the wholesomeness of this amazing grain; and get your little ones used to it from an early age too!