Why are oats good for you? Six amazing health benefits

Oats remain a firm breakfast favourite in the UK and are eaten across the globe for their versatility and health benefits. If you haven’t woken up to the incredible health benefits of oats yet, then read on.

Here are six reasons to start eating oats every day.

1. Oats can lower your cholesterol

Oats contain a type of soluble fibre called beta-glucan.

Beta-glucan has been shown to reduce levels of low-density lipoprotein – more commonly known as ‘bad’ cholesterol.1 The beta-glucan in oats mixes with water in your gut to create a gelatinous substance, which binds to bad cholesterol before eliminating it from the body during a trip to the loo.

To experience the cholesterol-lowering effects you’ll need 3g beta-glucan per day, which can be easily met with a bowl of porridge.

2. Oats give you longer-lasting energy

Oats are an excellent energy source as they contain complex carbohydrates.

The body converts all carbohydrates, both simple and complex, into glucose which is then used as energy. Complex carbohydrates such as oats take longer to digest, as they are made of longer chains of molecules than simple carbohydrates such as white pasta.

Therefore, the rate at which glucose enters the bloodstream is less rapid, provide a slower, longer-lasting energy release.

3. Oats help balance your blood sugar

The beta-glucan in oats slows the rate at which they are converted into glucose by the body. This prevents a sudden raise in blood sugar. This helps balance your blood sugar – making oats a good choice for people with diabetes.

Fewer blood sugar raises means fewer sugar cravings, too.

4. Oats are packed with nutrients

Oats are full of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.

They also contain polyphenols, a plant compound which helps prevent cell damage from harmful free radicals.

Oats are also a source of magnesium, iron, phosphorous, zinc, vitamin B1 and vitamin B5.

5. Oats feed your good gut bacteria

Trillions of bacteria live inside your gut, helping you digest food, absorb nutrients and stay immune from catching nasty bugs.

This bacteria colony, known as your microbiome, needs to be fed properly to work optimally. Soluble fibre, such as the type found in oats, feeds the good bacteria in your gut so your microbiome stays in balance.

6. Oats promote weight loss

Oats are a great food for helping with losing weight. They’re both low in calories and promote a feeling of satiety (fullness) due to their fibre content.

The insoluble and soluble fibre in oats adds bulk inside your stomach, which signals to the brain that it’s time to stop eating.

Replacing a daily breakfast high in simple carbohydrates (such as a croissant or bowl of corn flakes) with a bowl of oats will help stop the late-morning energy slump and hunger pangs associated with simple carbohydrate foods.

Last updated: 30 April 2020

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