We OAT to be Healthy
Waking up to a freezing cold green smoothie doesn’t sound that attractive when it’s 10 degrees outside. A nice, hot bowl of porridge on these cold winter mornings sounds much more appealing to me, thankyou!
Read the extended version of my latest nutritional article published in the Taste section of the Gold Coast Bulletin. And don’t forget to click on the links to some of the most delicious, easy to prepare oaty recipes! Enjoy!
Many of us seem to naturally crave more ‘warming foods’ during winter. This colder weather can steer us away from salads, cold smoothies and raw foods, while we crave and consume more ‘warming’ type foods. Warming foods are ones which contain higher thermal levels. They improve circulation and dispel cold. According to the ancient Chinese and Ayurvedic Medicines, warming foods such as oats, increase our natural internal ‘flame’ or ‘oven’, as they warm the body up from the inside out and increase our “Qi” or “Prana” (Chinese and Sanskrit words for vital force). Apparently oats hold their warming effect on the body even when eaten at room temperature.
Oats have been around for thousands of years dating back to Egyptian times around 2000 B.C., but have not been cultivated until a couple of thousand years later. They eventually found their way to Scotland and Europe, where the cooler, moist climate was perfect for growing the grain.
Who would have ever thought, this simple, humble looking grain which used to be treated as a weed by the ancient Egyptians, considered to be food for barbarians by the Greeks, and fed to horses by the Romans, can hold so many incredible health benefits which can not only switch on our internal flame, but also support the function of our immune system, prevent colon cancer, reduce cholesterol, regulate our blood sugar and help prevent diabetes.
The unique fibre in oats called Beta Glucan along with the unique polyphenol antioxidants called avenanthramidesgive this humble grain a Super – Grain status. Beta Glucan strengthens the immune system as it helps neutrophils (white blood cells) travel to the site of infection faster and enhance their ability to eliminate bacteria. This unique fibre in oats has also been demonstrated to have a direct effect on cholesterol reduction, as well as increasing satiety and reducing hunger by increasing levels of the hunger – fighting hormone, cholecystokinin.
The unique antioxidants in oats help prevent inflammation and boost our production of nitric oxide to help prevent hardening of the arteries. A 2010 study has also associated the avenanthramides in oats with decreasing the spread of colon cancer cells.
Oats have a low GI (Glycaemic Index), which means they promote a gradual rise in blood sugar, rather than a fast and sharp one, sustaining energy, increasing mental, physical and athletic performance as well as preventing cravings for sweets and highly refined carbohydrates helping us feel fuller for longer. The higher than average protein content in oats compared with other grains, makes them a perfect choice for breakfast any day. Just by adding some chia seeds, sunflower seeds or slivered almonds to your cooked oats, granola or muesli, you will find you’ll have enough protein to help kick start your day.
Oats are also an excellent source of fibre, thiamine (vitamin B1), manganese, selenium, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, copper and iron. They contain good levels of pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5) and potassium. Altogether, these magical nutrients help support healthy energy production, while fighting the effects of stress on the body, and regulating our fluid levels.
Although oats do contain some gluten, they seem to be a lot less reactive than wheat. People suffering from a wheat intolerance generally seem to tolerate oats quite well, as many of them do not present with any related symptoms such as bloating and wind, especially when consuming cooked rather than raw oats.
Wholegrain oats, steel cut oats and oats groats are your best choice as they contain the highest level of nutrients and hold the most health benefits.
While steel cut oats and oats groats take a bit longer to cook, wholegrain oats seem to be a very convenient, yet healthy choice. Cooking half a cup of wholegrain oats on the stove with 1 ¼ cups of water and a pinch of Himalayan Rock Salt for 5 minutes is easy enough to do while you are getting ready for work in the morning. I always put the kitchen timer on, leave the kitchen to get dressed, and by the time I’m ready, so are my delicious oats! I then like to add some honey, sunflower seeds and either blueberries or a couple of stewed figs for extra fibre, and voila! My nutritious and delicious fuel for the morning is ready to enjoy!
Quick oats are ‘Dead Oats’ from a nutritional point of view. They are so highly refined that unfortunately, they don’t have much goodness left in them. The refining process increases their GI as well and causes a sharp rise in blood sugar when consumed. Heating up these nutritionally – depleted oats in the microwave will compromise their nutrient content further and suck all of the vibrational “Qi” or “Prana” out of whatever goodness may be left. To top it all off, many of the Quick Oat varieties are loaded with refined sugar, which makes them just as bad as having any plain, sugary cereal for breakfast.
Here are a couple of my oaty recipes out of my current book (KIS and Lose Weight) and my up and coming book (The Pescatarian Diet). I would love to hear any feedback via my Facebook business page (Maya Brosnan), Instagram (mayabrosnan) or my website (www.mayabrosnan.com.au). Bon Appetite!