When it comes to having a diet that is balanced, consuming diverse proportions of food categories is essential. From protein to carbs, greens, and fats, each food group plays a vital role in helping the human body maintain its optimal functions.
You have probably heard about oats and how incredibly versatile and nutritious they are due to the wonderful nutrients that they possess, which include fiber, protein, and powerful antioxidants. However, have you heard about oat groats and their potential benefits? Come along as we explore the unique world of oat groats and their health benefits.
What are oat groats?
The term ‘groats’ is essentially a word from Scotland that is used to describe grain kernels after they have been husked. They are the raw form of cereal grains like wheat, barley, and oats and are whole and unprocessed oat kernels. These kernels possess three primary layers referred to as the endosperm, the bran, and the germ. The endosperm is the part that houses carbohydrates and, in some cases, protein. The bran provides fiber, while the germ is the reproductive part.
Unlike the other forms of oats like steel-cut oats or rolled oats, oats groats are not processed, so they can retain their initial texture and natural nutrients, which makes them a healthier form of oats. Oat groats, however, form the foundation for other forms of oats that are produced, e.g., rolled oats are a form of oat groats that have been steamed and flattened out. They possess a nutty flavor and a texture that is chewy, which makes them great for both savory and sweet dishes. If you want a healthy cereal grain option for breakfast, oat groats are your best bet.
Why should you consume oat groats?
One reason to add them to your diet is their high nutritional value because they undergo minimal processing. Oat groats' health benefits are plentiful. Oat groats are a fantastic source of nutrients that include protein, iron, dietary fiber, thiamin, folate, vitamin B6, pantothenic acid, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and calcium. All these nutrients combine to provide significant advantages to the human body.
Like other whole grains, oat groats are potent in helping to combat cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Try incorporating them into your diet in many different ways, such as porridges, stuffing of meat or vegetables, in yogurts, or as a snack.
Not everyone can consume oat groats, as some people’s digestive systems might not tolerate it, especially those that have gluten sensitivity or have celiac disease. If you are sensitive to gluten, make sure you opt for oat groats that are free of gluten. In addition, some individuals who are not used to consuming foods that contain higher amounts of fiber might experience little digestive discomfort. This is why it is recommended to consume oat groats in little portions first until the body gets accustomed to them.
Health benefits of oat groats
1. Beneficial to the heart
One of the significant health benefits of oat groats is the positive impact that it has on the heart. Oat groats are high in soluble fiber, particularly the type that is referred to as ‘beta-glucan.’ Consuming them can help to reduce the level of bad cholesterol, thereby boosting the health of the heart. Some studies have also suggested that foods that contain this kind of fiber, like oat groats, can help improve blood sugar regulation for a long time, especially in people battling type 2 diabetes.
By reducing the levels of harmful cholesterol in the body, eating oat groats regularly can also help to prevent the development of other diseases such as stroke and heart disease.
2. Management of weight
It is no longer a secret that fiber is essential when it comes to losing weight. The combination of protein and fiber in oat groats can help you lose weight by helping you feel fuller for longer. They also have lower levels of sugar, which makes them a good fit for weight loss diets.
In addition, they make for a healthy snack for diets and can help reduce the cravings for unhealthy snacks.
One important health benefit of oat groats is that they contain numerous nutrients such as manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, and several B vitamins like niacin and pantothenic acid, all of which can help prevent and eliminate diseases. Manganese is one of the coenzymes that helps the body in breaking down cholesterol, carbohydrates, and protein. It also helps in boosting bone density, strengthening the immune system, and boosting the functions of the reproductive system. Phosphorus, on the other hand, aids the development of teeth and bones. It also helps the body to utilize fats and carbohydrates efficiently.
Additionally, magnesium provides the body with several benefits, such as boosting exercise performance, maintaining healthy blood sugar levels, better heart health, and reducing the signs of depression. B vitamins help maintain energy levels, boost brain functions, and support the health of cells. With all these incredible advantages, oat groats are a wonder food to add to your diet.
4. Boost skin health
Oat groats contain excellent minerals and vitamins that can help strengthen the health and appearance of the skin, such as manganese. Manganese, for example, helps promote the skin's elasticity, thereby preventing and slowing down the symptoms of aging. Manganese also helps in the production of collagen, which is one of the necessary proteins that helps prevent the skin from sagging.
This fantastic grain also contains zinc, which can help improve the process of wound healing and help boost healthy cells in the skin, helping to promote healthy-looking skin.
5. Supports bone health
Another one of oat groats' health benefits is the support of bone health. Many nutrients can aid in the strengthening of bones, such as magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, manganese, and potassium. Surprisingly, oat groats encompass all these nutrients! For example, a deficiency of magnesium has been associated with an increased risk of the development of osteoporosis and at risk of developing fractures.
A study also found that mineral potassium could help in reducing the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Consuming foods like oat groats can help reduce the pain associated with the disease.
6. Enhance digestive health
Oat groats can support the functions of the digestive system due to their fiber composition. It has both soluble and insoluble fiber, which are critical for maintaining a good and well-functioning digestive system. For example, insoluble fiber helps to add bulk to bowel movements and reduces the chances of experiencing constipation.
Soluble fiber, on the other hand, takes the role of a prebiotic and supports the functions of healthy gut bacteria. This type of gut bacteria is essential for easy and smooth digestion and for general health.
7. Antioxidant properties
Another advantage of adding oat groats to your nutritional plan is that they contain efficient and vital antioxidants. Oat groats contain phenolic and avenanthramide acids, which have antioxidant qualities that can help eradicate the activities of harmful substances like free radicals in the body.
Studies have shown that avenanthramide can help alleviate inflammation and itching and may provide protection in reducing the risk of skin irritation, colon cancer, and coronary heart disease. Phenolic acids can also help to eliminate depression and reduce signs of oxidative stress, and oat groats are a great source of these acids.
From the outstanding support that it offers to the heart and the prevention of many diseases, oat groats' health benefits are incredible and numerous. Not only is this whole cereal grain loaded with diverse nutrients such as manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, and several B vitamins like niacin and pantothenic acid, but it also boasts versatility. Oat groats can be enjoyed in diverse ways that include snack bars, porridge, and salad stuffing. What are you waiting for? Go ahead and enjoy the goodness and uniqueness of oat groats!