Oats and oatmeal, including their gluten-free variety, feature in a number of the Cake and Biscuit recipes in Volume 1 of the Alchemist’s Cookbook Series, including the Chocolate & Hazelnut Rounds. They are full of nutrients and provide a great source of dietary fibre to our bodies. They also feature in the Blood Sugar-Stabilising Breakfast Pancakes inVolume 2 of the Alchemist’s Cookbook Series - Breakfasts-Light Bites-Breads & Soups. They come under the “sweet” category or foods, and are great for balancing the health of our spleen and stomach.
The health benefits of oats have been known about for centuries. Here are a few of them that perhaps you may not have heard of:-
Reduce Asthma Risk in Children - According to a Finnish Prospective study of 1,293 children, it was found that children introduced earlier to oats were far less likely to develop persistent asthma. This study was reported in The British Journal of Nutrition, January 2010
Oats May Boost Nutrition for Those Adhering to Gluten-free Diets – Studies carried out in Scandinavia and recorded in The European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, January 2010 and The European e-Journal of Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism, December 2009, concluded that adding oats to a gluten-free diet may enhance the nutritional value, particularly for vitamins and minerals as well as increasing antioxidant levels. 13 men and 18 women with Coeliac Disease were asked to follow a gluten-free diet whilst adding either kilned (stabilised) or unkilned oats. Six months later, those following the stabilised oats in their diet recorded an increase in their ability to absorb Vitamin B1 and Magnesium. Those on the unkilned oats showed increases in Magnesium and Zinc. In the second study, the addition of gluten-free oats also allowed the participants to maintain the recommended daily intake of fibre as well as increases to the antioxidant, bilirubin. This antioxidant helps our body to eliminate free-radicals (abnormal cells, which cause inflammation) as well as protect our brain and other organs from oxidative damage
Oats Increase Appetite-Control Hormones – Perhaps no surprise at all that eating oats in the morning keeps you fuller for longer! Well, in an Australian study in October 2009, researchers studied 14 people. Some were instructed to eat a control meal whilst three different groups were given different cereals, which contained varying levels of beta-glucan. Four hours later they collected blood samples from everybody and found signiﬁcant dose responses between those with higher levels of oat beta-glucan, which also showed higher levels of Peptide Y-Y, which is a hormone associated with appetite control. So……. If you want to stay full longer; have porridge for breakfast!
Oat Beta-Glucans Improve Our Immune System Defences – An Italian study recorded in Minerva Medica, June 2009, reviewed existing research into the positive effects of beta-glucans on human health. Their studies revealed that in addition to reducing the “bad” LDL cholesterol, as well as suppressing glycemic (sugar) spikes and insulin responses, beta-glucans also boosted the defences of our immune system against bacteria; viruses; fungi and parasites
Oats Help Cut the Use of Laxatives – Excessive laxative use, especially amongst the elderly in nursing homes, can lead to malnutrition and unwanted weight loss. Researchers in Vienna studied 30 frail nursing-home residents in a controlled; blind; intervention trial, where 15 of the patients received 7-8g oat bran per day and the others none at all. At the end of 6 weeks, 59% of the oat group had discontinued their use of laxatives, whilst maintaining their body weight. The control group showed an 8% increase in the use of laxatives and a decrease in weight loss. This study was recorded in the Journal of Nutrition, Health and Ageing, February 2009
Oats May Help Reduce the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes – A research study in Mannheim, Germany, carried out a special “dietary intervention” with 14 patients suffering from uncontrolled type-2 diabetes and insulin resistance. During a short hospital stay, the patients were introduced to a special diabetic-friendly diet, which contained oatmeal. They then examined them four weeks later. On average the patients saw a 40% reduction in insulin dosage and maintained this reduction even after four weeks on their own at home. The study is recorded in Experimental and Clinical Endocrinology & Diabetes, February 2008
Oats May Improve Insulin Sensitivity – Recorded in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, June 2007, a study in Chicago carried out a random, double-blind, controlled trial of 97 men and women. Half the group consumed foods containing oat beta-glucan and the other half ate control foods. At the end of the trial, the oat group showed improvements in insulin sensitivity, whilst the control group remained unchanged
Oats Lower “Bad” LDL Cholesterol – The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, August 2002, recorded the results from a study at Colorado State University. The study randomly picked 36 overweight middle-aged men to either eat an oat or wheat cereal daily for 12 weeks. At the end of the 3-month period, those eating the oat cereal had lower concentrations of the small, dense “bad” LDL cholesterol (thought to be particularly dangerous) and also showed an overall lower level of LDL compared to those in the wheat group. At the same time, the oat group’s “good” HDL cholesterol remained unchanged
Oats Help Control Blood Pressure – A study recorded in the Journal of Family Practice, April 2002, took 18 men and women suffering from hypertensive (people suffering from persistent high blood pressure) and hyperinsulemic (people who have excess levels of insulin circulating in their body) conditions. They gave half of them an oat cereal (5.52g per day of beta-glucan) and the other half were given a lower-fibre cereal (less than 1g total fibre). The oat group achieved a 7.5mm Hg drop in systolic blood pressure and a 5.5mm HG drop in diastolic blood pressure, whilst the wheat group remained unchanged