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Reap The Many Benefits Of Oats With Each Meal

Oats have a long historic connect with humans, dating back to over 32000 years. Back then they were hand ground by palaeolithic hunter-gatherers and are now machine-pounded for everyday meals. Of the many wild oat varieties that exist in nature, the Avena sativa species is in common use, and few others for animal feed.

Oats were also cultivated in China around 7000 BC, and while the Romans introduced the British to it - the Greeks were the first ones to eat porridge-style oatmeal as we know it today. In the 17th century, whole grain oats made a foray into North and South America but were primarily used as animal feed.

After harvesting, oats have to be milled to bring out the real flavour. Whole grain oats are high in nutrients, and to preserve that oats are processed by removing only the inedible outermost hull. After this, they go through a steaming process, and then cooled and processed further into the different varieties of oats like steel cut, instant, or rolled oats.

To make rolled oats, oats are steamed and rolled into flakes. Some are steamed for longer and rolled into smaller pieces to make instant or quick oats. These are great for breakfast as they take minimum time to cook.

Oats can also be ground and sieved to make oat flour or atta. This flour is a great gluten-free replacement to refined flour in baking bread, cakes etc. and you can buy oats atta online from popular trusted brands like JIWA.

Oats vs Oatmeal

Most people confuse oats with oatmeal, but the difference between the two is the same as that between corn and cornflakes. Made by boiling oats in water, oatmeal is a popular breakfast across the world and is sometimes also referred to as porridge.

Whole grain oats that are raw and unprocessed are most often fed to livestock. Oatmeal typically means oats that are steamed, rolled and pressed to make easy to cook thin bits.

Because Oats are naturally gluten-free, they are a common meal option for those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance too.

Benefits of Oats & Oatmeal

Nutritional Value of Oats

Oats contain a variety of nutrients from fibre to carbohydrates, proteins to vitamins and a great balance of essential amino acids. Just half a cup of dry oats contains a high concentration of daily requirements of nutrients like:
  • Iron: 9.4%
  • Vitamin B1 (thiamin): 15.5%
  • Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid): 9.07%
  • Manganese: 63.91%
  • Phosphorus: 13.3%
  • Magnesium: 13.3%
  • Copper: 17.6%
  • Zinc: 13.4%
  • Folate: 3.24%
Oats also contain calcium, potassium, niacin and other trace elements in smaller amounts.

The following table shows the nutritional information in a 100 grams serving of oats.

source -

Anti-Inflammatory Antioxidants

Oats contain a high concentration of antioxidants and beneficial plant compounds like polyphenols. Important amidst them are antioxidants called avenanthramides, which are almost only found in oats. These avenanthramides may help reduce blood pressure levels by increasing the levels of nitric oxide in the body which dilates blood vessels for better blood flow.

In addition, these avenanthramides have anti-inflammatory and anti-itching properties.

Beta Glucans

Beta glucans are soluble fibres that partially dissolve in water and form a gel in the gut. These fibres are known to promote the growth of good bacteria in the intestines and maintain good gut health.

They are also known for reducing hunger pangs by providing an increased feeling of being full.

Oats contain a good amount of fibres, especially these beta-glucans.

Cholesterol Control

A leading cause of global health concerns and deaths is heart disease where high blood cholesterol is one of the main risk factors.

Soluble beta-glucan fibres increase the release of bile juices which are rich in cholesterol. This reduces the circulating levels of cholesterol in the blood and also the LDL & total cholesterol levels.

Oxidation of LDL heightens the progress of heart disease when it reacts with free radicals in the blood. This oxidation causes tissue damage, arteries inflammation, and an increased risk of strokes as well as heart attacks.

One of the big benefits of oats is to protect this oxidation of LDL cholesterol.

Blood Sugar Balance

Elevated blood sugar levels are a result of decreased sensitivity to the insulin hormone and are known to be the root cause of Type 2 diabetes.

This type of diabetes worsens in people who are overweight, and whole grain oats can be of great help here. Known to lower blood sugar levels, Oats or whole grain oatmeal can help in improving insulin sensitivity as well. This is largely because of the beta-glucans present in oats that form a gel in the gut and delay glucose absorption in the blood.

According to Ayurveda, diabetes is caused due to an aggravation of Vata and improper digestion that leads to an accumulation of toxic remains in the pancreatic cells called Ama. This impairs the insulin function.

The benefits of oats are seen in correcting this imbalance with their Pachan (digestive) properties that reduce Ama and improve the insulin function, thus reducing the blood sugar level.

Use Oats for Weight Loss

There are many benefits of eating oats for breakfast, and having a fuller stomach for longer is just one of them. The ‘satiety hormone’ or peptide YY is made in the gut as a response to eating food. This reduces the risk of obesity by reducing calorie intake and promoting a feeling of satiety.

The beta-glucan fibres promote the release of this hormone, and also help delay gastric emptying. This adds to the oatmeal health benefits by promoting lesser calorie intake, assisting in weight loss.


Many skincare products carry labels that read - ‘colloidal oatmeal’. This is an FDA-approved skin protective substance since 2003.

There is abundance of protein in oats that makes it great for the body and skin. Oats also contain vitamin E, which is well known for its skin-healthy benefits to reduce inflammation and promote younger looking skin. The vitamins in oats are an excellent remedy to treat itchy skin caused due to chickenpox or eczema.

Oatmeal is a natural exfoliator to remove dead skin cells and reveals smooth skin underneath the excess oil and dirt build-up.

Oats contain plant carbohydrates called saponins that are known to soothe skin with their antioxidant properties. These saponins are gentle yet effective to cleanse the skin because they do not dehydrate the skin off of its natural oils.

Asthma Relief

Asthma is an inflammatory disease of the airways and is a common chronic condition in kids. While symptoms vary in all children, common are recurrent coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath.

Early introduction of oats in breakfast or other meals may prevent the development of asthma in children.

Good Digestive System

Constipation affects almost 16-20 out of 100 adults and refers to infrequent, irregular, difficult to pass bowels. The fibre-rich outer layer of whole grain oats works as a laxative and eases bowel movements.

Oats are also known to help in the management of ulcerative colitis. The presence of carboxylic acid and butyric acid in oats prevents colon diseases by strengthening the mucus membrane and reducing ulcer formation. This prevents inflammation in the inner colon lining and resultant ulcerative colitis.

According to Ayurveda, ‘Grahni’ (IBD) is caused by an imbalance of ‘pachak agni’ and has symptoms similar to ulcerative colitis. Oats help relieve and correct these symptoms.

Anxiety Relief

According to Ayurveda, the nutritional value of oats helps relieve the symptoms of anxiety by balancing the ‘vata’ dosha. ‘Vata’ governs all the movement of the body and actions of the nervous system. The imbalance of ‘vata’ causes anxiety and related symptoms, and oats help balance this dosha and calm the nervous system.

How To Incorporate Oats In Daily Diet

Oats are naturally gluten-free, and that widens their scope of use in each meal for people with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease as well.

The most common is to eat a bowl of oats for breakfast. Whole grain oatmeal can be cooked with milk to make a hearty porridge, and can be added to baked goods like cookies, streusel etc. To make tastier oatmeal, add spices like cinnamon, or nuts and fresh fruits.

Here is a simple breakfast in a jar recipe from the kitchens of JIWA-

Oats are high in protein and are a popular addition to muesli, granola bars, and other health food.

While oat groats are the most nutritionally intact form of oats, they take a long time to cook, so the rolled or instant oats varieties are preferred in daily use. While they provide all the benefits of eating oats with milk, instant oats make a mushy porridge and are the most processed but easiest to cook variety.

You can now buy oats online with ease from various sources, but buying them from trusted brands like JIWA is best if you want the best quality and enhanced benefits of oats.

So when it gets colder, it's best to cosy up with a warm, nutritious and delectable bowl of oatmeal. No wonder January is slated as International Oatmeal month!

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