Forget Fitness enthusiasts and experts, nowadays your local neighbourhood grocery wallah will
also sing to you the benefits of Oats and recommend you to have a bowl of oats in breakfast everday! Your friends, cousins, relatives everybody would be singing the benefits of consuming oats and how heart friendly it is and helps reduce fat. So are these claims true or are Oats just a passing health fad and actually just empty calories such as the popular sugar laden cereals that are so heavily advertised on TV as Health foods?
Well, there is some truth in the claims about Oats. Oatmeal and oat bran are significant sources of dietary fiber. This fiber contains a mixture of about half soluble and half insoluble fibers. One component of the soluble fibre found in oats is beta-glucans, a soluble fiber which has proven effective in lowering blood cholesterol. Oats are also a good source of good minerals such as Manganese, Selenium, Phosphorus, Magnesium and Zinc. Eating Oats helps in controlling blood glucose and insulin levels and is thus helpful in diabetes management too.
The question now is - Are the Oats that we buy from our local grocery store good? When you are buying oats, make sure to buy either steel cut oats or rolled oats. Steel cut oats, also called Irish or Scotch oats are cut, not rolled. They look like chopped up rice, take the longest to cook, and have a slightly chewy consistency. Rolled oats look like flat little ovals. When processing these oats, the kernels are steamed first, and then rolled to flatten them. They take longer to cook than quick oats, but are quicker than steel cut oats.
However the third variety, instant oats are least in nutrional value, even though they cook quick and easy. The food label on your package of oats should list one ingredient: whole grain oats. Avoid pre-packaged oatmeal that may be high in both sodium and sugar and lower in beneficial fiber. So look out for the healthier option and manage your health better.