By: Alana Misiura
What does your daily breakfast consist of? Here’s the answer to getting the most nutritious breakfast to keep your hunger controlled until lunchtime that is fast and easy! The delicious meals and snacks you can make with oats are limitless and they open you up to a creative side. The many products you can create with oats provide an enormous amount of health benefits and decrease the risk for chronic disease.
Oats are high in protein, providing 10-14% of your protein needs for the day (following a 2,000 calorie diet), and they have high fiber content. Dietary fiber is important for the body to remove cholesterol from the digestive system. The antioxidant properties that oats provide help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by preventing free radicals from damaging LDL cholesterol. In addition it is also well known to consume whole grain products to reduce the risk of high blood pressure and heart attacks. Eating whole grains have also been proven to enhance immune response to infection. Beginning your day with a bowl of oatmeal may boost your immune response as well as your energy level in the morning!
Oats contain a specific type of fiber known as beta-glucan. Studies have shown in individuals with type 2 diabetes, beta-glucan has beneficial effects such as lower rises in blood sugar compared to those who have been given white rice or bread. Beginning your day with oats will help stabilize your blood sugar throughout the day! Another benefit of oats and Type 2 diabetes is that oats and other whole grains are rich sources of magnesium, which act as a cofounder for the body’s use of insulin and glucagon. Studies have shown consumption of whole grains, and other foods rich in magnesium were proven to decrease the risk of Type 2 diabetes.
Now for the fun stuff- what can you make? The fun thing about oats is creativity! Soak oats overnight, cook them in the morning, blend them in a smoothie, bake granola, grind them to use as flour for cakes, cookies, or muffins… there are no rules! One of my favorite things to do with this whole grain is making overnight oats. Overnight oats involves no cooking, so it’s easy and you are welcome to add anything to it! I usually like to mix oats up with some berries, a banana, almond/coconut milk, cinnamon, flax seed, and chia seeds, shake it up in a mason jar and leave in the fridge over night. In the morning you have a delicious, nutritious, and filling breakfast! Plus soaking oats helps the body to digest the grains easier. In addition to cold overnight oats, hot oatmeal in the morning can be done by heating up hot water and/or milk, stirring in desired amount of oats, and whatever else you may want to flavor your oatmeal with. Some suggestions include a banana and peanut butter, berries, or vanilla and cinnamon. You can make cookies, pancakes, banana bread, and muffins with ground oats (as substitute for any flour) that can be easily done using any blender. Be creative and eat your oats!
Oats. The World’s Healthiest Foods. George Mateljan Foundation. http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=54
Katz, David. A Scientific Review of the Health Benefits of Oats. The Quaker Oats Company. Sept 2001. http://roscomoss.com/pdf/HealthBenefitsofOats.pdf