They are packed with valuable nutrients and the ability to support our health in a variety of ways. Current research supports that people who eat more whole grains, such as oats, are likely to have a decreased risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, digestive disorders and even some cancers (1,2,3). As part of a healthy eating plan, Canada’s Food Guide recommends that we enjoy whole grains more often (4).
All About Oats (& Why We Love Them So Much!)
by Mirieta Selimovska (BASc., MHSc.)
Small but mighty, oats are a quality source of carbohydrates!
What Makes Oats So Special?
Oats have long been recognized as a whole grain with superior nutritional benefits. Some of these include that:
1. Consuming oats promotes digestive regularity: Oats contain fibre, a type of carbohydrate that passes through the body undigested. When consumed, some of the fibre in oats (called soluble fibre) works in supporting the absorption of water and easing the excretion of waste (5). Oats also contain another kind of fibre, called resistant starch. Resistant starch similarly passes through the body undigested until it is used to feed the gut’s ‘good’ bacteria, thus further promoting digestive health (3).
2. Oat can help to lower your cholesterol levels: A regular consumption of soluble fibre has also been found to help decrease, and therefore improve, LDL (‘bad’) cholesterol levels. The soluble fibre in oats helps to prevent the absorption of cholesterol and mobilizes it for excretion (2,6).
3. Oats are a source of antioxidants: Oats contain a particular antioxidant called avenanthramides. This is a kind of antioxidant that works to combat inflammation, as well as improve blood and oxygen flow throughout the body.
4. Consuming oats promotes more consistent energy levels: Oats are a great source of complex carbohydrates. These take longer to digest compared to other carbohydrates, providing slower-releasing energy as opposed to more immediate spikes and crashes in blood sugar levels (1).
5. Oats are packed with important nutrients: Like many other whole grains, oats are rich in B vitamins, as well as iron, zinc and magnesium. These nutrients all play key roles in essential functions throughout our body, including hormone balance, bone strength and immunity (1).
Kick start your mornings with this Steel-Cut Apple Spiced Oats Recipe
½ cup Anita's Organic Mill Organic Steel Cut Oats
1 cup Oat Canada Zero Sugar Oat Milk (or water)
1 tbsp Beekeeper's Naturals B.Powered Superfood Honey
1 tbsp Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts
1 tbsp slivered almonds
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ cup fresh raspberries
½ apple, chopped
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Directions: Add the water to a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the oats. Bring the mixture to a simmer. Reduce to low heat and stir in the chopped apple. Cook for 10-12 minutes. Once the water has mostly evaporated, remove from heat. Add the honey and cinnamon, and stir well to combine. Pour the oats into a bowl. Top with the hemp seeds, raspberries and almonds. Serve and enjoy!
About The Author
Mirieta Selimovska (BASc., MHSc.) is a Registered Dietitian from Toronto, Ontario. She is committed to helping others drive their own journey towards better health, and connecting food lovers with quality grocery solutions. Keep up with her latest recipes and nutrition tips on Instagram, @thesweetenedpea.
Kelly, S. A., Hartley, L., Loveman, E., Colquitt, J. L., Jones, H. M., Al-Khudairy, L., . . . Rees, K. (2017). Whole grain cereals for the primary or secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease.Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. doi:10.1002/14651858.cd005051.pub3
Tiwari, U., & Cummins, E. (2011). Meta-analysis of the effect of β-glucan intake on blood cholesterol and glucose levels.Nutrition, 27(10), 1008-1016. doi:10.1016/j.nut.2010.11.006
Slavin, J. (2013). Fiber and Prebiotics: Mechanisms and Health Benefits.Nutrients, 5(4), 1417-1435. doi:10.3390/nu5041417
Health Canada. (2019, December 04). Healthy eating recommendations. Retrieved August 30, 2020, from https://food-guide.canada.ca/en/healthy-eating-recommendations/make-it-a-habit-to-eat-vegetables-fruit-whole-grains-and-protein-foods/eat-whole-grain-foods/
Rebello, C. J., O’Neil, C. E., & Greenway, F. L. (2016). Dietary fiber and satiety: The effects of oats on satiety.Nutrition Reviews, 74(2), 131-147. doi:10.1093/nutrit/nuv063
Whitehead, A., Beck, E. J., Tosh, S., & Wolever, T. M. (2014). Cholesterol-lowering effects of oat β-glucan: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 100(6), 1413-1421. doi:10.3945/ajcn.114.086108
Sang, S., & Chu, Y. (2017). Whole grain oats, more than just a fiber: Role of unique phytochemicals.Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, 61(7), 1600715. doi:10.1002/mnfr.201600715