Oats - Origin, benefits, virtues
Oats, this cereal, which is part of the composition of the famous porridge, is undoubtedly one of the super foods for its many nutritional and health qualities! Focus on the many benefits of oats...
photo Melissa Belanger from Unsplash
The term oats comes from the Latin oat that only appeared in the French language during the 12th century.
Of the grass family, oats originated in Asia and are believed to have been cultivated by man since about 2500 BC in Central Europe.
At that time, its harvest was mainly used to feed farm animals, in which it had a stimulating effect.
In Indian Ayurvedic medicine it was first used in phytotherapy to treat opium addiction. Later, its therapeutic use appeared in Europe in the 17th century to treat nervous disorders, rheumatism, and certain diseases such as scabies or leprosy.
Only very recently is it used in human food, first in the Anglo-Saxon and Scandinavian countries. Oats are undoubtedly the most complete cereal, hence their well-deserved nickname "queen of cereals"!
Oats are a veritable mine of nutritional assets.
On the nutrient side:
Very rich in fiber, and especially in beta-glucan, oats are very filling and effective in driving lazy traffic. In fact, it is this beta-glucan that is responsible for many of the health benefits of oats.
Very well provided in digestible and good quality proteins, oats is one of the cereals particularly interesting for vegetarians and vegans. Its proteins are also rich in tryptophan, a precursor of serotonin, a hormone known to regulate mood and prevent depression.
Finally, oats are rich in complex carbohydrates with a low glycemic index. Which raise blood sugar levels slightly but durably, making them satiating and interesting for weight loss candidates.
On the micronutrient side
Oats are rich in iron, phosphorus, selenium, silica and magnesium, making it one of the cereals with the highest mineral density.
Its content of B vitamins, which contribute to the maintenance of nerve cells, is interesting.
Finally, oats contain flavonoids, known to limit cardiovascular risks.
Benefits and virtues
It is even one of the few foods for which the Food and Drug Administration(FDA) has allowed a health claim since 2003.
The statement "A diet low in saturated fatty acids and cholesterol and containing soluble oat fiber may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease" can be applied to oat bran-rich foods.
It is its fibers, particularly beta-glucan, that have the capacity to capture cholesterol and triglycerides in the intestine. Thanks to its high viscosity, thus regulating blood lipid constants, as demonstrated in this study in 20071.
Oats are therefore an effective food in the prevention of cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death in the world.
Facilitates weight loss
Very popular among weight loss candidates, oats have all the necessary assets to help you lose weight.
Its richness in protein and fiber makes oats particularly satisfying and therefore interesting to avoid cracking of rich and sweet foods between two meals.
In addition, oatmeal carbohydrates have a very low glycemic index and therefore diffuse their energy very slowly into the body, further increasing their natural appetite suppressant effect.
Helps fight type 2 diabetes
Once again, it is the magic fibers of oats, and in particular beta-glucan. That give oats their hypoglycemic ability by helping to slow down the absorption of carbohydrates in the intestine.
As shown in this 2020 Finnish study, eating oats within a meal results in reduced post-meal blood glucose levels and therefore reduced insulin release, which is essential for people with type 2 diabetes.
Facilitates intestinal transit
The soluble and insoluble fibers contained in oats have a very positive effect on the lazy intestinal transit. They increase the volume of the alimentary bolus and attract water to the feces, making them softer and promoting circulation.
Fight against skin problems
It is then used externally as a decoction in the bath water or in poultices applied to the skin. To treat dry skin, inflammation, itching, eczema, seborrhea or itching.
Since 1998, Commission E of the German Ministry of Health has approved the traditional use of oat leaves and stems in the form of baths "to relieve skin inflammation, seborrhea and itching.
It is the infusion of its leaves and stem that proves to be an effective remedy to fight sleep disorders by regulating the nervous system.
In 2008, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) recognized the traditional use of oat leaves and stems "to relieve nervousness and mild sleep disorders.
To benefit from its hypoglycemic or cholesterol-lowering action. It is recommended to consume 40 g of oat flakes every day, in the form of porridge, muesli or sprinkled on salads or vegetables.
Also, to ease transit and aid weight loss, oatmeal can be eaten in the morning instead of bread. With milk or vegetable milk and oat bran can be added at a rate of one tablespoon per meal in a yogurt or preparation.
For skin problems, oat bran decoction can be done with 100 g of oat flour, leaves or stems in one liter of water for 20 minutes. This preparation can be poured into a bath or applied locally as a poultice.
For sleep disorders, infuse one tablespoon of leaves and stems in 250 ml of water, to be drunk before going to bed.
Side effects and contraindications
People with gluten intolerance or celiac disease should refrain from eating oats. Which is one of the cereals that contain gluten. Excessive consumption of oats can cause swelling and flatulence in some people.
Oat bran should not be consumed at the same time as a cholesterol-lowering treatment, as it may reduce its effectiveness. Then it is advisable to space out its intake by at least two hours.
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