Health Benefits of Oats And Their Nutritional Value – Why Should You Include Oats In Your Diet?

Health Benefits of Oats And Their Nutritional Value

Either a healthy- nutritional breakfast or a delicious breakfast? Well, what if you get both in one?

Can you name one of the healthiest grains on earth?

The best part –

It’s one of the most nutrition-dense foods one can eat. And it’s delicious, nourishing, and affordable too. 

A cup full of these grains packs 51g of carbs,  13g of proteins, 5g of fat, and 8g of fiber, that too in only 303 calories.

If you’re looking to achieve wholesome fitness, it’s high time to add Oats and oatmeal to your diet. These gluten-free whole grains are rich in essential vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants.

Sounds exciting? Let’s discuss oats’ nutritional value and their various health benefits.

What are Oats and Oatmeal?

What are Oats and Oatmeal
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Oats are a type of whole grain from the cereal plant Avena sativa. They are gluten-free whole grains and have recently received significant attention for their excellent nutrient profile and health benefits. 

Oats are a popular breakfast food because of their versatility. They can be prepared in many ways, including oatmeal, granola, cereals, biscuits, muffins, pancakes, or added to smoothies or baked goods to inspire people to consume these health-boosting grains.

On the other hand, Oats porridge, also called oatmeal, is a dish made from oats that have been boiled in water or milk.

What is the nutritional value of oats?

nutritional value of oats
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Oats are rich in valuable nutrients such as proteins, unsaturated fatty acids, and dietary fiber. They also contain micronutrients such as vitamin E, folate, zinc, iron, selenium, copper, manganese, and choline.

Oats’ nutritional value per 100 g, as per ICMR –

  • Calories: 374 kcal
  • Proteins: 13.6 g
  • Fats: 7.6 g
  • Carbohydrates: 62.8 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 11 g
  • Calcium: 50 mg
  • Iron: 3.8 mg
  • Phosphorus: 380 mg
  • Folic Acid: 34 mcg

Types of Oats

Types of Oats
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Oats are available in three different forms, and it includes:

1. Instant Oats

Instant oats are convenient for those who want a quick and easy breakfast. They are precooked, dried, and then rolled into thin flakes, making them cook much faster than other forms of oats like rolled or steel-cut oats.

While they may have a different texture and flavor than other forms of oats, instant oats can be a great option for busy mornings when you don’t have much time to prepare breakfast. You can add your favorite fruits, nuts, and other ingredients to customize the flavor and add more nutrients to your meal.

2. Rolled Oats

Rolled oats, also known as old-fashioned oats, are created when oat groats are steamed and flattened into thin flakes. This process stabilizes the oats’ healthy oils, which helps keep them fresh for longer periods.

In addition to their extended shelf life, rolled oats are also a popular choice because they cook quickly and can be used in a variety of recipes. They are a great source of fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals, making them a nutritious addition to any diet.

Rolled oats can be used to make oatmeal, granola, and baked goods like muffins and cookies. They can also be added to smoothies or used as a topping for yogurt or fruit bowls. 

3. Steel-Cut Oats

Steel-cut oats are made by cutting the oat groats into pieces using a heavy steel blade, resulting in a coarser texture than rolled oats. Because they are less processed, they take longer to cook, but many people enjoy their nutty flavor and chewy texture.

Steel-cut oats are also a great source of fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals, making them a nutritious addition to one’s diet. They are a great option for breakfast, especially during colder months when a warm and hearty meal is preferred. Steel-cut oats can be cooked with water or milk and customized with toppings like fruits, nuts, or sweeteners like honey or maple syrup.

What is the Best Form of Oats?

Best Form of Oats
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Various types of oats differ in their way of processing and nutritional value. Rolled and steel-cut oats are healthier and offer similar health benefits.

But one needs to be careful with instant oats as they may contain high salt or sugar, low dietary fiber, and no significant nutritional value.

It’s essential to carefully read the nutrition facts label on instant oatmeal packets before deciding to consume them.

Health Benefits of Eating Oats Everyday

Health Benefits of Eating Oats Everyday
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Oats for weight loss

Oatmeal can aid in weight loss due to its high satiety factor. Oats contain a type of soluble fiber known as beta-glucans, which delays stomach emptying and stimulates the release of peptide YY, a hormone that creates feelings of fullness. This results in a reduction in overall calorie intake and lowers the risk of obesity.

A 2016 study discovered that regular oat consumption effectively reduced weight and controlled blood sugar levels. 

In another clinical trial, overweight individuals who consumed oats experienced a significant reduction in body weight, body mass index (BMI), body fat, and waist-to-hip ratio. 

Therefore, incorporating oats into your diet can effectively promote weight loss and improve overall health.

Oats for weight gain

Oats are a healthy option for both weight gain and increasing calorie intake. Adding nutrient-dense toppings such as fruits, dried fruits, honey, dates, seeds, nuts, and nut butter can enhance oats’ nutritional value and calorie density. 

Oats for cholesterol

Due to their high soluble fiber content, oats can help lower cholesterol levels. Beta-glucans, a type of soluble fiber, inhibit the oxidation of harmful LDL cholesterol and its circulation in the bloodstream, which reduces the risk of heart attack and coronary artery disease.

A study conducted on 69 Asian Indians with high cholesterol levels found that a daily intake of 3 grams of soluble fiber from 70 grams of oats significantly reduced total cholesterol and LDL levels. 

Oats for diabetes

Oats are also beneficial for people with diabetes, as they can help maintain healthy blood sugar levels. The high soluble fiber content in oats improves insulin response and helps lower HbA1c levels, which is a measure of long-term blood sugar control.

Oats for bodybuilding

For fitness enthusiasts and bodybuilders, oats are an excellent addition to their diet. They primarily contain slow-digesting complex carbohydrates that provide sustained energy for longer durations.

Oats also contain other essential nutrients crucial for muscle growth and bodybuilding, including protein, iron, magnesium, and healthy fats. Combining oats with other calorie-rich foods like honey, nuts, peanut butter, banana, and dried fruits can further enhance their nutritional value for those aiming for bulk bodybuilding.

Oats for digestion

Adding oats to your daily diet can improve your bowel health and prevent issues like gas formation, bloating, and constipation, commonly caused by inadequate dietary fiber intake. 

A clinical trial conducted on seniors found a significant 59% reduction in the use of laxatives among those who regularly consumed oat fiber for 12 weeks.

Oats for babies

Oats are a nutritious food choice for babies as they contain minerals, vitamins, dietary fiber, and antioxidants that aid digestion, and oat allergy is the least common among children. 

However, it is advisable to consult a pediatrician before introducing oats as a weaning food.

Oats for immunity

Whole oats contain a unique group of antioxidants called avenanthramides, which have anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, and anti-itching properties. These beneficial plant compounds, along with oats’ high zinc and selenium content, help boost our immune system and infection-fighting ability.

Oats for skin

Grounded oats are commonly used in skincare products as an exfoliant due to their gentle texture, making them suitable for sensitive skin. Oats also contain compounds called saponins, which act as natural cleansers, removing dirt and oil from the skin. 

Furthermore, their anti-inflammatory properties can help soothe skin irritation and itching.

Oats during pregnancy

Oats are a great food option for pregnant women as they are rich in essential nutrients required during the prenatal stage.

Popular Oat Products

Popular Oat Products
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With increasing health awareness and people shifting to healthy food products, oats have become popular in commonly eaten foods.

Oat Biscuits & Cookies

Oat biscuits and cookies can be a healthier alternative to traditional tea-time snacks made with refined flour or maida. However, it’s essential to read the labels and check the fat and sugar content before making a choice.

Oat Flour

Oat flour is a great alternative for individuals who want to avoid gluten-containing or refined flour. It is also a good source of dietary fiber and essential nutrients like protein, vitamins, and minerals. Oat flour can be used in various recipes, including bread, muffins, pancakes, and cookies.

Oat Milk

Oat milk is a dairy-free, plant-based milk alternative suitable for those who follow a vegan diet or are lactose intolerant. It is made by blending oats with water and straining the mixture to remove solids. Oat milk is also a good source of fiber and nutrients like calcium and vitamin D, essential for bone health.

Oats Noodles

While oats noodles can be a healthier alternative to regular noodles, it is essential to note that the percentage of oats used in them may not be significant.

Oats in Breakfast Cereals 

Oats in breakfast cereals are a great idea to opt for breakfast cereals containing oats as they provide an energy-dense and protein-packed start to your day.

Many breakfast cereals are made with whole grains, including oats, and provide a significant amount of fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

However, reading the nutrition labels carefully is essential, as some breakfast cereals may contain high amounts of added sugars and preservatives. Choosing cereals with low sugar and high fiber content, and pairing them with fruits and nuts, can make for a healthy and satisfying breakfast option.

Oat Bran

It is the outermost layer of an oat groat and is versatile. One can have it as a breakfast cereal or add it to smoothies, shakes, yogurts, and bread dough.

How to Select and Store Oats for the Best Taste & Quality?

How to Select and Store Oats for the Best Taste & Quality
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The selection of oats depends on your preference and taste. If you enjoy your oatmeal creamy and smooth or need something quick, instant oats are your game. If you prefer a nutty flavor with chewy consistency, try steel-cut oats.

In an airtight container, one must store dry oats in a dry, dark, cool, and clean storage area to prevent infestation and increase shelf life.

Cooked oatmeal can last for three to five days. However, one must ensure it is completely cool before being kept in a refrigerator.

Appearance, foul smell, and change in taste and color are reliable ways to determine whether or not the oats have expired and gone bad.

Best Oatmeal Recipes

Best Oatmeal Recipes
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Here are some of the healthiest and greatest oatmeal recipes: 

Overnight Oats

A no-cook recipe where oats are soaked in milk or yogurt overnight along with other ingredients like fruits, nuts, and sweeteners.

Porridge Oats

A classic oatmeal recipe where oats are cooked in milk or water until they become creamy and thick. It can be sweet or savory, and toppings include fruits, nuts, and spices.

Oats Chilla

A savory Indian pancake made with a batter of oats, chickpea flour, and spices and cooked on a grill or pan. It can be served with chutney or sauce.

Oats Dosa

Another Indian breakfast item, similar to a crepe, is made with a batter of oats, rice flour, and lentils. It is served with coconut chutney and sambar.

Oats Upma

A South Indian breakfast dish made with roasted oats, vegetables, and spices. It is often served with coconut chutney.

Oats Idli

A steamed Indian breakfast cake made with a batter of oats, rice flour, and lentils. It is served with chutney and sambar.

Oats Smoothie

A breakfast drink made with oats, milk or yogurt, fruits, and sweeteners. It is blended until smooth and creamy.

Oats Khichdi

A savory Indian dish made with oats, lentils, and vegetables, cooked in a pressure cooker or on a stove. It is often served with yogurt or pickles.

Oats Pongal

A South Indian breakfast dish made with oats, lentils, and spices, cooked in a pressure cooker or stove. It is often served with coconut chutney and sambar.

Are there any Side Effects of Eating Too Much Oats or Oatmeal?

Side Effects of Eating Too Much Oats or Oatmeal
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Although uncommon, over-consumption of oats can result in gastric swelling, flatulence, and abdominal cramps. It is commonly seen among people who suddenly introduce excessive fiber to their no or low-fiber diets.

Final Thoughts

Health Benefits of Oats And Their Nutritional Value
Source: Canva

Oats are healthy and gluten-free. They have a lot of upsides and significantly fewer downsides. Include a bowl of oats in your diet every few days for a stronger and healthier you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are oats gluten-free?

Oats are gluten-free and are safe for people with gluten intolerance. However, they may get contaminated with gluten if processed in a facility containing foods like wheat, rye, triticale, and barley. Therefore, it is advisable to read the warnings and disclaimers carefully if you are sensitive to gluten.

Is it good to eat oats every day?

One can easily include oatmeal in the daily diet considering all the health benefits associated with oats. However, the portion size must be as per the nutrition needs.

Do oats make you gain weight?

Oats can help with your weight-related goals. You can combine oats with calorie-rich nutritious foods like nut butter, dried fruits, honey, nuts, dates, and seeds if you wish to gain weight.

How much oats should I eat in a day?

One can consume around 50 grams of oats in a single meal. 

What happens when you eat oatmeal every day for a month?

One can expect several health benefits from oats when consumed regularly for a month, like healthy blood sugar and cholesterol levels. However, the weight will vary depending upon the form they are taken.  

What are oats exactly, and what should you know about their history?

Oats (Avena sativa) are small, oval-shaped, and cream-coloured grains.

The popularity of oats grew when Romans introduced them to Scotland, where they flourished. Oats gained acceptance in America in the 17th century and were used primarily as animal feed. Today, Europe leads in oat production.

Who should avoid oats?

People who are allergic or intolerant to oats must avoid them. Although they are gluten-free, if you are gluten intolerant or sensitive or suffer from celiac disease, it is advisable to read the warnings carefully as oats may be contaminated with wheat, barley, rye, and triticale.

What is the healthiest way to eat oatmeal?

One can enjoy oats in many ways like oats porridge, vegetable oats, oats upma, oats idli, or add them to shakes, smoothies, etc. 

Is Quaker instant oatmeal healthy?

Oats possess anti-inflammatory properties due to the presence of avenanthramide. Studies suggest that daily consumption of oats porridge for four weeks can suppress inflammatory markers while increasing antioxidant levels9 .

Which brand of oats is the best?

These days the market is flooded with various oats brands providing good-quality oats in multiple forms, flavors, and varieties. One can choose from any depending upon the preference and taste.

It is advisable to read the nutrition facts carefully before you buy oats. Check the ingredient list, sugar content, and additives used.

How to prepare oatmeal?

Oatmeal is healthy, easy, and quick to prepare. Take one cup of water or milk, and bring it to a boil. Then slow down the flame, add oats, and allow them to cook until they thicken. You can add honey, dates, raisins, fresh fruits, maple syrup, or peanut butter for sweetness.

What are the disadvantages of eating oats?

One must avoid taking large portions of oats at a time as it may consequence in abdominal discomfort and indigestion issues. People with celiac disease, gluten intolerance, or sensitivity must opt for gluten-free oats.

Can oats make you fat?

Oats can not cause fat accumulation if consumed per daily dietary needs. Oats are packed with complex carbohydrates, and excess intake of more than the required can increase calorie load.

Can you eat instant oats raw?

Eating raw oats is generally safe. Many processed varieties of oats are pre-steamed and heated to destroy potentially harmful pathogens, making them safe to eat raw. However, some people might experience difficulty in digesting raw oats. Moreover, cooking helps release nutrients that our body can’t extract from raw oats.

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