07 Apr 2022 Article

Healthy food doesn’t have to be expensive. And vice versa of course: expensive food is not always healthy. Today I will talk about a very affordable and simultaneously extremely healthy product that you can eat just about every day – oatmeal.

Like barley, oatmeal contains the unique soluble fiber Beta-glucans (β-glucans). β -glucans are found in the cell walls of oat grain endosperm. It has been scientifically proven that β-glucans help maintain normal blood sugar levels and normal cholesterol levels.

Oats, oatmeal, oat flakes…

Oats are a gluten-free whole-grain cereal. Its scientific name is Avena Sativa. Unprocessed oats require pre-soaking and take a long time (up to an hour) to cook.

Steel cut oats are cut in smaller pieces than the whole grain and thus require less cooking time. They are still unprocessed.

The word “Oatmeal” is used to describe all types of processed oats.

Rolled oats have been softened by steaming, then run through metal rollers to flatten them.

Instant oats have also been rolled, in addition they have been precooked (and then dried again). They are, of course, ready in an instant. You just need to add boiling water and stir.

Oat bran is a hard outer layer of oat grains.

Maintaining normal blood sugar levels

Oatmeal is not only a delicious breakfast, but it also fills the stomach. By eating foods that are very satiating, you automatically eat fewer calories and thus keep your weight and blood sugar under control. Beta-glucans in oatmeal can increase the release of the peptide YY (PYY). PYY is a hormone produced in the gut in response to food. This satiety hormone has been shown to reduce calorie intake and thus reduce the risk of obesity. β-glucans show a beneficial effect on glucose metabolism in healthy humans and in subjects with type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM2). In addition, they have a blood pressure lowering effect. Many people with diabetes suffer from high blood pressure. β-glucans also have a positive effect on the blood lipid profile (“lipids” are fat-like substances in the blood), which is often disturbed in most people with DM2.

Cholesterol Control

It has also been scientifically proven that the consumption of beta-glucans helps to maintain normal cholesterol levels. Specifically, β-glucans help reduce low-density lipoprotein (so-called “bad cholesterol”) in the blood, thus reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Other Positive Health Benefits of Oats

In addition to β-glucans, oats contain another beneficial substance: avenanthramide (AVA). Avenanthramide is a collective term for a group of chemical compounds that, according to scientific studies, have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

Oatmeal is an excellent source of vitamins, minerals and fatty acids.

100 grams of oatmeal (dry weight) contains:

  • 370 calories
  • 14 grams of protein
  • 11 g fiber (a third of the daily norm for women and a quarter for men)
  • 4.9 mg manganese, or no less than 245% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA)
  • 523 mg of phosphorus (52% RDA)
  • 0.8 mg vitamin B1 (50% RDA)
  • 177 mg magnesium (45% DV)
  • 0.6 mg copper (31% DV)
  • 2.6 mg zinc (26% RDA)
  • 4.7 mg iron (25% RDA)
  • 55 mcg folic acid (15% RDA)
  • 1.4 mg vitamin B5 (14% RDA)

Oat bran

Well, for those who want to get the most out of oats, I recommend consuming small amounts of oat bran on a regular basis. Bran is the hard outer layer of cereal grains. Bran is an integral part of whole grains, but it is often a by-product of milling during the production of refined (processed) grains. When bran is removed from the grain, the grain loses some of its nutritional value. Bran is particularly rich in dietary fiber, essential fatty acids and minerals. However, the high oil content in bran makes it prone to rancidity. This is one of the main reasons it is removed before further processing the grain.

Oat bran contains a lot of soluble fiber. Read why fiber is important for your health in this article.

How do you eat oats and oatmeal?

  • Well, the most obvious and well-known way is making porridge. Oatmeal porridge is loved by young and old. You can vary it endlessly with different toppings: nuts, seeds, fruit, berries, nut butters… Oatmeal porridge is a great breakfast. Don’t have the time to cook in the morning? Use instant oatmeal or make overnight oats by soaking rolled oats overnight in (plant-based) milk.
  • Bircher muesli is oatmeal soaked in yogurt.
  • Not a fan of oatmeal porridge? You can still experience the benefits of oatmeal. Use oatmeal to make pancakes, waffles or cookies.
  • Whole oats can be used instead of rice or other grains as a side dish.
  • You can add oat bran to your porridge, yogurt or muesli.