Dietitians always have to answer various question related to health foods and the common query is about oats. I had written about its health benefits in my article http://nutrihealth.in/2008/06/what-is-white-oats
Now I feel I should take it from a dietitian’s perspective too where I have discovered many other uses of this wonderful grain. Although we know it helps us to lower our bad cholesterol and high sugar levels in diabetes, I call it a super food for various more reasons.
- It is one such food which can be tolerated by many people who have a wheat allergy. Though it has traces of wheat protein or gluten, it can be still used in minimal quantities but is recommended for adults.
- Not only does it taste good, it can be eaten at any time during the day. It need not be restricted only as breakfast cereal. It can be had as a midmorning snack. If you have been advised to have 6 small meals, you have a ready made meal quick and easy to make.
- You are stressed but you do not want to eat a whole meal, you can compensate with a bowl of oatmeal as it is very soothing for your mood and is a relaxant.
- Oats are low in fat and salt hence can be a part of low sodium diets and they also provide iron too.
- You have eaten heavily through out the day, so you can compensate for it by eating a bowl of oats porridge.
- To increase your protein intake, oats with its adequate protein content can be combined with low fat milk or curd to increase the protein in it. Add dash of pepper to the porridge with yogurt. It gives a very nice flavour.
- Oats is a wonderful food for convalescents(those who are recovering from various illnesses)as it is easy to swallow and digest and hence does not add additional stress for digestion.
- Oats can be used as food for children above the 6 months. It is commonly used in many of the baby foods. Do not add it below 6 months as it has some gluten(wheat protein) which may not be digestible.
- As it is contains purines which can increase your uric acid levels, if the intake is very very high along with other purine foods, it can give rise to gout problems or kidney stones. Hence if you have been diagnosed with these problems, limit the intake. But yes the risk of getting a gout problem is lesser if the purines are coming from vegetarian sources.
- Oat bran can be added to various dishes instead white flour or maida for making muffins, cakes and also as a thickening agent for soups and gravies rather than cornflour and coconut.
Eat it as rolled oats in breakfast cereals and white oats in porridges and as oat bran or flour in various preparations, you will have continued benefits of one of the healthiest foods around. A bowl of oats porridge a day, keeps all illnesses away.