3 Health Benefits of Eating Oatmeal

1 An Ideal Combination of Carbohydrates and Protein

Oats are recommended as an excellent way to start the day for a variety of different reasons. They are a good source of protein with a relatively low calorific value that produce a comfortable feeling of fullness thanks to their fibre content. Oats have a low Glycaemic Index (GI) and provide a slow release of complex-carbohydrates throughout their digestion, which makes them an ideal food source for maintaining blood sugar levels, avoiding the spikes and cravings that can be associated with highly processed alternatives. This makes them ideal for maintaining energy and concentration levels over a sustained period of time. A portion of oats provides approximately 21 per cent of the daily protein requirement for an adult and replacing animal with plant protein helps to reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer. These health benefits are mainly due to a reduction in fat and cholesterol, particularly as opposed to red meats, although complementary protein sources such as nuts or pulses are required alongside the oats to obtain the full variety of amino acids the body requires. As well as making delicious porridge, oats can be incorporated into a number of recipes, in cakes and biscuits, stuffing and as a coating for other proteins such as fish, making them highly versatile.

2 An Important Source of Fibre

Oats are a rich source of dietary fibre that provides a number of beneficial properties. The fibre is counted amongst their carbohydrate content, but as the body cannot digest it, the calories pass straight through the body. While the fibre is in the stomach it helps to give a feeling of fullness and satiety, which is ideal for people who are watching their weight and wish to avoid cravings between mealtimes. The nature of the fibre also helps to keep the contents of the digestive tract moving in a healthy manner, providing a gentle cure for constipation. This regular passage of waste material through the gut has been shown to reduce the risk of bowel cancer as potentially harmful substances and organisms spend less time in contact with the intestines. Oats are rich in the soluble fibre beta-glucan, which has been demonstrated to reduce blood cholesterol levels. One bowl of oats containing an average of 3g of soluble fibre is sufficient to reduce cholesterol by between 8 and 23 percent when taken daily. The fibre also helps by binding to cholesterol in the stomach, so that it passes through the body without being absorbed. Further studies have found that the beta-glucan also has an effect on blood sugar levels, particularly in people with type-2 diabetes, adding to the beneficial effects that eating oats provides, stabilising the blood sugar and helping to avoid the dangerous sharp rises that characterise the condition. In addition, the same soluble fibre has been found to boost the immune system against foreign bodies such as bacteria, fungi, viruses and parasites, its presence appears to assist the body's defences so that they are better able to identify the invaders and provide a more robust response.

3 Rich in Nutrients

Oats contain a wide variety of important trace elements that include potassium, magnesium, manganese, selenium, phosphorous and zinc. Oats are also rich in a variety of more complex compounds which include flavonoids, carotenoids, vitamins and avenanthramides, many of which cannot be synthesised in the human body and are only available from plant sources. Oats are a particularly good source of Thiamin (B1) and Folate. Thiamin is essential for a healthy nervous system, the metabolic process and synthesis of adenosine tri-phosphate (ATP.) Folate plays a part in the formation of red blood cells and is used by the body to synthesise DNA and RNA. Pregnant women are advised to consume folate rich foods which help to guard against birth defects, while a regular intake can guard against the risks of heart disease, depression and some forms of cancer. Out of the many elements that oats contain, zinc and iron are present in quantities that make up a significant part of the recommended daily intake (RDI.) Zinc plays an important role in the immune and endocrine systems as well as reproductive health, with deficiencies leading to neurological problems, heart disease and macular degeneration. Iron is essential for the hemoglobin in red blood cells and the synthesis of ATP, but the form found in oats is not as easily absorbed as that found in red meat. Absorption can be increased by combining oats with animal protein in a recipe, or vitamin C, such as a glass of orange juice. One of the main nutritional benefits from adding oats to the diet are the many substances that are present in trace quantities that are highly beneficial to health but lacking in more refined carbohydrates, with oats offering a very palatable alternative. Oats are a popular choice for many different reasons, they are inexpensive, very tasty, provide a slow release form of carbohydrate, are rich in protein and are high in fiber, particularly the soluble form, beta-glucan. Well researched health claims have been substantiated, particularly the reduction in cholesterol and benefits for a healthy heart. Being a whole grain, oats provide a host of trace elements and micro nutrients, many of which can be deficient in modern diets. In our Battle Oats we use only the finest English gluten free oats to make up the majority ingredients of our bars giving you all the benefits of the above, from rich nutrients, an important source of dietary fibre, to being high in quality carbohydrates and protein.