Tuesday, July 05, 2011
The Mighty Oat
The Mighty Oat – A Super Food Close To Your Heart
As kids, my mom always made sure we had a hot breakfast on those cold mornings. Oatmeal was actually one of my favorites. We would add either brown sugar or honey and boy was that a great way to start the day! Today, I still love oatmeal for breakfast however these days you'll find me adding nuts and stevia instead of brown sugar or honey. Also, some seeds make it even more nutritious.
Even though my mom knew the benefits of oats, this food gained a special distinction as a super food back in 1997. At that point in time, the Food and Drug Administration made the claim that there is an association between a diet high in oats and a reduced risk of coronary heart disease. With that announcement, oats, oatmeal, oat bran, and oat flour skyrocketed in popularity. Now it's placed right up there in the top 10 super foods. Let's take a look at what else this well known, but not totally understood, grain has to offer.
Outrageous Nutrition for a Lifetime
We know that oats, along with other whole grains, provide protection against heart disease, potentially extending the lifespan of people who include this food regularly in their diets. That would seem to be enough of a reason to add oats to your diet, but there's more. This is a high fiber, high protein food that's low in calories and rich in important vitamins and minerals like iron, calcium, copper, potassium, manganese, and selenium.
Beta glucan is the main ingredient responsible for lowering serum cholesterol levels. Oats also contain special antioxidants called avenanthramides. Together these two elements have been shown to significantly reduce LDL cholesterol levels when oats are consumed on a regular basis.
Oats have a low glycemic index which means the energy from this food burns slowly and stays with you to satisfy your hunger for a longer period of time. Having nutrients released slowly into the bloodstream and throughout the body helps stabilize blood sugar levels, eliminating the spikes which can cause many health problems, concentration problems, and dieting problems. In addition, the B vitamins contribute to strong healthy skin, nails, and hair.
Along with other whole grains, studies have found that consuming oats can aid in the battle against breast cancer, Type 2 diabetes, and asthma in children. With this sort of super food on your side, why wouldn't you eat it? For more ways oats can help with health see the Six Health Benefits of Eating Oats.
Countless Ways to Enjoy
Oats are an inexpensive and widely available grain that can be easily incorporated into meals at any time of day. Oats are easy to store in containers or airtight bags, and have a very long shelf life.
A bowl of hot cereal in the morning is the most familiar way oats are served. Whether you buy raw oatmeal or quick cooking, you are starting off with a good basis for nutrition. Vary the toppings and you vary the recipe enough to eat servings of oatmeal a number of times each week without getting bored. Add berries, seeds, nuts, stevia, or protein powders to boost the flavor and superpowers of your oatmeal.
More than just a breakfast cereal, there are a number of other ways to incorporate oats into your daily diet. Oats can provide a toasty coating for baked or broiled fish, and are often used to make hearty muffins, cookies, and other desserts. Don't forget about convenient trail mixes or granola bars. Oats are often the central ingredient in those tasty treats.
Mixing oatmeal in as a binder in ground meat for burgers, meatloaf, and meatballs is another way to 'sneak' more nutrition into your diet. Oats also play center stage in a number of bread recipes, whether as a main ingredient or to add just a bit of heartiness and crunch.
As part of your healthy diet, oats provide enough significant benefits for healthy living to make them a vital part of your good diet.
A perfect way to start a day of healthy eating! And who would have thought that a bowl of oatmeal could provide over half of the daily value for those hard-to-find omega-3 fatty acids as well as 109% of the daily value for manganese. Enjoy!
Prep and Cook Time: 15 minutes
2-1/4 cups water
dash Celtic salt
1 cup organic regular rolled oats
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup fresh, frozen or dried fruit or berries
1/4 cup chopped walnuts or almonds
1 TBS flaxseeds
Combine the water and salt in a small saucepan and turn the heat to high.
When the water boils, turn the heat to low, add oatmeal, and cook, stirring, until the water is just absorbed, about 5 minutes. Add cinnamon, fruit, nuts, and flaxseeds. Stir, cover the pan, and turn off heat. Let set for 5 minutes. Serve with stevia and milk if preferred.