Whether in the form of oatmeal, granola or mixed into baked goods, oats are always a great healthy option for breakfast or a midday snack. Oats gain part of their distinctive flavor from the roasting process that they undergo after being harvested and cleaned. Although oats are then hulled, this process does not strip away their bran and germ allowing them to retain a concentrated source of their fiber and nutrients. Here are just seven of the many health benefits of oats.
Oats help to lower bad cholesterol and prevent heart disease
Oatmeal and oat bran are significant sources of dietary fiber. One component of the soluble fibre found in oats is beta-glucans, a soluble fiber which has proven effective in lowering blood cholesterol and preventing heart disease.
Oats help to stabilize blood sugar levels and prevent diabetes
Eating oats can spread the rise in blood sugars over a longer time period. Control of blood glucose and insulin levels is essential in preventing many of the complications associated with diabetes.
Oats help to reduce cancer risk
Oats, like other grains and vegetables, contain hundreds of phytochemicals (plant chemicals). Many phytochemicals are thought to reduce a person's risk of getting hormone-related diseases such as breast cancer, prostate cancer, endometrium and ovarian cancer.
Oats help to reduce high blood pressure
A daily serving of whole oats rich in soluble fibre can reduce hypertension, or high blood pressure, and so reduce the need for anti-hypertensive medication.
Oats help to promote healthy bowel function
Fiber is necessary in keeping bowel movements regular and oats are high in both soluble and insoluble fiber. Insoluble fiber absorbs many times its own weight of liquid, making stools heavier and speeding their passage through the gut.
Oats help to maintain healthy weight
As the soluble fiber of oats is digested, it forms a gel which delays the stomach emptying, making you feel full longer and preventing over-eating.
Oats help to boost athletic performance
Oats have been shown in scientific studies to favorably alter metabolism and enhance performance when ingested 45 minutes to 1 hour before exercise of moderate intensity.