Oats.

IMG_5205With the colder months upon us and Winter well on it’s way here in Australia, I am beginning to change-up my diet to satisfy my cravings for delicious winter warmers yet also suit my health goals and nutritional plans. Although I am still loving my omelette in the morning, I am also finding that switching it up occasionally to some protein powdered sweet oats is exactly what I am craving!

A serving of oats in the morning is a satisfying and enriching way to start the day. They provide us with strength and lasting energy due to it’s low GI value. Although they are roasted and hulled after being harvested and cleaned, oats do not lose their bran and germ allowing them to retain their fibre and nutrients, that in turn, nourish our bodies.

IMG_8369TYPES:

Different types of processing are used to produce the various types of oat products that we find in stores today.
•Oat groats: unflattened kernels that are good for using as a breakfast cereal or for stuffing
•Steel-cut oats: featuring a dense and chewy texture, they are produced by running the grain through steel blades that thinly slices them.
•Old-fashioned oats: have a flatter shape that is the result of their being steamed and then rolled.
•Quick-cooking oats: processed like old-fashioned oats, except they are cut finely before rolling
•Instant oatmeal: produced by partially cooking the grains and then rolling them very thin. Oftentimes, sugar, salt and other ingredients are added to make the finished product.
•Oat bran: the outer layer of the grain that resides under the hull. While oat bran is found in rolled oats and steel-cut oats, it may also be purchased as a separate product that can be added to recipes or cooked to make a hot cereal.
•Oat flour: used in baking, it is oftentimes combined with wheat or other gluten-containing flours when making leavened bread.

IMG_8825HEALTH BENEFITS:

  1. Lowers Cholesterol Levels
    If you are trying to prevent or are currently dealing with heart disease or diabetes, oats may be the perfect addition to your diet. Oats, oat bran, and oatmeal contain a specific type of fibre known as beta-glucan. Studies have proven that by consuming just 3 grams of beta-glucan fibre per day (an amount found in one serve of oats) total cholesterol level lowers by up to 23%. Lowering high cholesterol levels can significantly reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and strokes.
    My Dad battled with problems associated with high cholesterol for many years. He had seen his doctor, dietician and other specialists. He tried several different medications, yet nothing seemed to work. Since adding oats to his diet daily, by means of porridge and Easy Oat Bars, he no longer battles with high cholesterol problems.
  2. Reduce Risks of Cardiovascular Disease
    Antioxidants that are unique to oats, help to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, thanks to the reduction in cholesterol.
  3. Prevent Heart Failure
    Consuming whole grain products such as oats, has been proven to reduce the risk of high blood pressure and heart attacks. Researchers found that men who enjoyed a daily serve of whole grain (NOT refined) cereal had a 29% lower risk of heart failure.
    Say hello to a healthy heart!
  4. Stabilise Blood Sugar & Lower Type 2 Diabetes
    Remember the fibre I told you about earlier? Beta-glucan? Well this fibre is pretty kick ass when it comes to stabilising blood sugars and can have positive effects with Type 2 diabetics also. Oats, oatmeal and other oat bran rich foods, lower blood sugars as opposed to white rice and bread which contribute to blood sugar instabilities.

IMG_9275SERVING IDEAS:
– overnight oats
– pancakes
– porridge
– breakfast bars
– muesli bars
– granola
– smoothies
– puddings
– bread
– cookies
– puddings
– cakes

Oats can be used to create to create so many different recipes and are versatile for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert. Be sure to check out http://www.treehugger.com/easy-vegetarian-recipes/50-recipes-oats-superfood-meals.html for an endless list of delicious, simple and healthy oat recipes.

Be sure to tag @simonemckennablog and #simonemckennablog on Instagram for a feature, if you upload your oat recipes or photos! 
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