5 Surprising Health Benefits of Oats
Oats. We all love ‘em. It doesn’t matter if you’re making them into a nourishing oatmeal for winter mornings or a healthy granola bar for school lunches, oats are a staple ingredient in most healthy diets.
They’ve got a relatively subtle flavor, which makes them so easy to use as a staple grain, and they're some of the most sustainably-grown grain crops available. But what really makes oats so great isn’t just their versatility; it’s the health benefits that really pack a punch.
Here are 5 surprising health benefits of oats you can think about as you tuck into your next apple crumble.
1. Good Source of Fiber
Fiber is one of the often-forgotten nutrients that is essential for overall health, especially in the digestive system. Fiber helps to bulk out and soften stools, which is how the body disposes of any wastes and nutrients that aren’t needed. Oats, along with being a rich source of carbohydrates and plenty of other essential micronutrients, have an extremely high dietary fiber content, making them ideal for healthy digestion, and supporting other functions such as immunity and anti-inflammatory processes in turn.
2. Rich In Antioxidants That Lower Blood Pressure
Antioxidants are some of the compounds we love in foods that make them so nutritious. In oats, the most abundant group of antioxidants is called avenanthramides, which are almost only found in oats. These can help to lower individual blood pressure levels by increasing the production of nitric oxide, which helps to dilate blood vessels and results in better blood flow. These amazing compounds also contribute to anti-inflammatory and anti-itching processes.
3. Lowers Bad Cholesterol Levels
High blood cholesterol is one of the leading causes of heart disease, which in turn is one of the leading killers in today’s society. But it’s not as simple as just removing cholesterol from your diet; there’s ‘good’ cholesterol and ‘bad’ cholesterol, and your body needs a delicate balance of both. However, the beta-glucan fiber found in oats is extremely effective at reducing both total and LDL cholesterol levels.
4. Can Help With Healthy Skin Complexions
Oats aren’t just good for your insides, they’re good for your outsides too. Finely ground oats make a nourishing, gentle skincare treatment that alleviates itch and irritation. Because of the anti-inflammatory properties, when used as a face mask it can help reduce the appearance of acne while supporting sensitive skin. To discover how to use it, check out our simple face mask recipe here.
5. Can Lead To Decreased Risk of Childhood Asthma
Asthma is one of the most common diseases found in young children, and it can be serious and at times life-threatening if left unaddressed. Surprisingly, eating a diet rich in oats from a young age can lead to a decreased risk of childhood asthma. This is because asthma is an inflammatory disorder of the airways, and according to some preliminary studies, introducing oats from an early age can support respiratory function and reduce the risk.
Here’s the bottom line: oats are a wonderful dietary staple. They’re easy and nutrient-packed, and they can be used in a variety of ways where you can still get the benefits that your body needs. Some people with gluten intolerance or celiac disease may struggle with oats, and so you should tread cautiously, but for most people, this kitchen essential should be devoured (with balance of course).
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