by Catherine Madsen
Bliss Crafter, Austin Yoga Tree
You can’t go wrong with oats! They are versatile enough to be eaten for breakfast, dinner, or dessert and also provide plenty of vitamins, minerals and fiber. On this Foodie Friday, we are shining the superfood spotlight on oats. So next time someone scoffs at your seemingly bland oatmeal breakfast, you can explain to them exactly why you are eating oats and why they should be too.
Oats are high in both types of fiber, water-soluble and water-insoluble. Mainly, they provide us with water-soluble fiber that benefits the heart. As we digest soluble fiber, it picks up excess liquid in our intestinal tract, which forms a slow-moving gel. As the gel continues through our digestive system, it binds with low-density lipoproteins. Low-density lipoproteins or LDLs are a form of cholesterol that gets stuck in our arteries and leads to plaque build-up. This plaque can cause high blood pressure and added strain on the heart, which increases the risk of a heart attack. The good news is that oats remove the bad cholesterol from our system so that there is less plaque build-up and our hearts stay happy and healthy. On another note, the slow-moving gel that moves through our digestive system is the reason oats keep us feeling full; they take time to digest properly so we feel satisfied longer and there is less of a spike in blood sugar. The water-insoluble fiber in oats promotes a healthy digestive system. Insoluble fiber travels through our system and pushes out excess waste that may be stuck. This promotes healthy, regular bowel movements while decreasing our risk of developing colorectal cancer and other digestive issues like constipation or IBS (irritable bowel syndrome).
To start, oats are extremely high in the nutrient manganese. Manganese helps maintain healthy hair and hair color and supports mitochondrial health. In addition, it helps heal wounds and builds bones and connective tissue. All in all, manganese may not be the most talked about nutrient but it is a nutrient not to be overlooked due to its wide range of healing abilities. Other good sources of this powerhouse healer are chickpeas, figs, green tea, and spinach.
Oats are also a good source of iron. Iron is crucial for the production of red blood cells as well as the transport of oxygen in the blood. When our iron levels are low, energy levels drop and light-headed spells begin. Like manganese, iron helps support shiny and strong hair while also strengthening our nails. Iron can be found in foods like kale, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, and watermelon.
Lastly, oats provide large amounts of the nutrient selenium. Selenium is an anti-aging nutrient that works to keep skin supple and youthful. One of the best sources of selenium is the Brazil nut.
Evidently, oats are not a food to be taken lightly. They may not look like much but their nutrient content proves just how potent they truly are. The following is a recipe for baked oatmeal. This recipe is versatile enough to be served for breakfast or dessert, you choose! It can also be made ahead of time by preparing all the ingredients in the dish, keeping the dish in the fridge overnight, and putting it in the oven when you wake up. As always, feel free to experiment with the recipe and let me know how it goes!