Oats are on the up. Recently, they’ve shed their stodgy image and thanks to things like GI (glycaemic index – low GI foods help us to absorb carbs more slowly, keeping us full for longer) are seen as an excellent, slow-burn source of fuel.
Compared to other wholegrains, oats have a very high concentration of protein, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, copper, manganese, thiamin, folacin and Vitamin E. They’re also a great source of soluble and insoluble fibre, which, in turn, means they can help to lower cholesterol levels. Beta-glucan, a form of soluble fibre, prevents cholesterol from being absorbed into the blood. It can then be carried out of the body.
Oats are also thought to contain unique antioxidant compounds, which can help to prevent damage from free radicals. They’re rich in selenium, which together with Vitamin E, works in a number of antioxidant systems in the body. Studies also indicate that selenium can reduce the risk of both colon cancer and heart disease.
Convinced yet? If you’re not about to press send on an email asking how you can join the International Society for Lovers of the Oat’ with complimentary t-shirt and flashing badges, then I’ve got even more for you.
Oats are great for the skin. As well as helping to health-proof your insides, they have serious beauty benefits. They’re rich in silica, helping to renew the hair, nails and skin. Applied topically, avenanthramides found in the groat of the oat seed have been proven to soothe inflamed and irritated skin. Oat proteins also leave a protective layer on the skin, helping to prevent water loss. Both of these actions have big implications for those who suffer from dry skin or atopic conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.
In short, oats are fab. And I’ve been remembering that all over again reading Margaret Briggs’ informative little book Porridge: Oats and their many health benefits which you can get on Amazon for just £2.99.
The book contains a number of beauty and culinary recipes, so I’ve decided to have an oat spa day to try some of them out. Come back in a couple of days to find out how it went!