Oats: Nutritional Benefits and Which Type is Best?

Coming into the winter weather, many of us are swapping our breakfasts over to porridge or oats for the tummy warming benefits but other than keeping us warm on those frosty mornings there are many benefits to eating rolled oats including being budget friendly!

Whole rolled oats are a whole grain, meaning all three parts of the edible grain remain in-tact including the outside bran layer, the endosperm and the germ in the centre of the grain all of which have differing nutritional benefits.

Different Types of Oats

Instant Oats are a convenient option due to the faster cooking time due to removing the outside bran layer which is rich in fibre (soluble & insoluble). This decreased fibre quantities increases the glycaemic index of the oat meaning they do not provide a sustained energy release unlike steel cut and rolled oats. Steel Cut Oats are made by cutting groats into two or three pieces with a sharp metal blade, you get steel cut oats. Rolled Oats are created when oat groats are steamed and then rolled into flakes. This process stabilizes the healthy oils in the oats, so they stay fresh longer, and helps the oats cook faster, by creating a greater surface area.

Reasons to Include Oats in Your Diet

Dietary Fibre

Oats are an excellent source of soluble, insoluble fibre and resistant starch helping to keep the bowels regular.

Cholesterol Lowering Properties

They also contain beta-glucan fibre which assists in the lowering of cholesterol levels, this fibre is found in the outer bran layer of the oat therefore instant oats will not provide this benefit.

Sustained Energy Release

Oats are a great source of low glycaemic index (or G.I.) carbohydrate which helps to keep you feeling full for longer and provides a slow release of energy. For this reason they are a great choice for people with diabetes

Protein

Oats naturally contain a decent amount of protein for a grain product with 100g of uncooked rolled oats providing approximately 12.7g of protein.

Budget Friendly

Too often I hear it is too expensive to eat healthy, well oats are among the healthiest foods a person can consume and rolled oats (the best kind) can be purchased for between $1.50 and $2 per kilogram

Oats also contain other micronutrients such as vitamin E, folate, zinc, iron, selenium, copper, manganese, carotenoids to name just a few!

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