A simple hot bowl of oatmeal in a cold morning has been a favourite for many generations in most countries. It is well-known fact that oats are great for maintaining a healthy heart and reducing the levels of cholesterol.
Oatmeal is a storehouse of many health-promoting vitamins and minerals. It is considered a boon to those who are trying to lose a few kilos. Oat bran has a variety of antioxidants and calcium, protein, iron, thiamine, phosphorus, riboflavin, zinc and magnesium.
Incorporate oatmeal into your day-to-day diet, and see the difference in your scale measurements within no time!
The most important ingredients in the oats are situated in its outer layer, which is known as the ‘bran’. Unlike processed flakes, oat bran contains a high amount of a soluble fibre called ‘beta-glycan’, which has remarkable health benefits, especially for weight loss.
How Does Oat Bran Work for Weight Loss?
Other than being low in calories, there are two major properties in oats that make it an excellent option for weight loss.
First is its high fibre content, which provides a feeling of fullness and saturates you. The moment you eat, the fibre present in the oat bran absorbs the saliva and then expands in the stomach and absorb fluids, twenty-five times its volume. This brings about a feeling of fullness which lasts longer, avoids us to take unnecessary snack breaks in-between meals.
The second property is that oat bran blocks the absorption of calories from the intestine.
When you eat a meal with oat bran, it mixes with the fluids present in your intestine to create a gel-like substance called bolus. This bolus absorbs some of the breakdown products, and then it interacts with gastric juices and stomach acids that turn it into a pulp.
This pulp merges to become a part of the stool and then carries the calorie-dense elements of fats, glucose, and amino acids out of the body via the stool.
This entire process reduces the pace of assimilation of sugar and eliminates the toxins from the body while keeping the levels of your blood sugar low and steady.
Other than being an excellent source of fibre, which is excellent for weight loss, oat bran is a great source of resistant starch. It the kind that gets digested slowly and triggers the release of digestive acids that curb the appetite and quicken the process of calorie burn.
Here are three quick ways to include oats in your diet:
They may be called overnight oats, but making them does not require to stay awake all night.
Before you go to sleep every day, just throw in 3-4 tsp of oats, low-fat milk, and toppings of choice (like dry nuts, chopped fruits, chia seeds etc) into a mason jar and let it stay overnight so that the flavours fuse together in the refrigerator while you’re sleeping.
With just a few minutes of preparation before sleep, and you will have a homemade, healthy meal ready to eat the minute you get up for breakfast the next morning.
Add to Your Smoothies
If you find your morning smoothie too light and feel that it makes you go hungry even before your lunchtime then you may want to consider adding some ground oats to your glass. Take half a cup of oats and it them first then add the rest of your smoothie ingredients and blend until well combined. The resulting mixture is a thicker, more filling smoothie, which is sure to keep you full well until your lunch time.
Use It as a Soup Thickener
Whether you want to increase the thickness or boost the nutrition quotient of a soup or a sauce, oats are the answer. But before you toss the grain into your dish, grind them into a fine powder so you don’t end up with a lumpy consistency.
Various Types of Oats for Health
Oats gain a portion of their distinctive flavour from the process of roasting that they need to undergo after being harvested and cleaned. Although oats are then hulled, this process does not strip away their bran and germ allowing them to keep on the concentrated source of their fibre and vitamins.
We have a variety of oats available in the market, let’s get to know a few types which are commonly used for cooking:
Steel Cut Oats
These oats are in the form of whole grains that have been chopped into small pieces. They take more time to cook than any other form of oats.
The flavour of this kind of oats is found to be nuttier and chewier than the rest of the types. These oats are the least processed types and hence give a feeling of fullness due to their high fiber content. Although they are nutritionally very high some people do not use them for cooking porridge due to their chewy taste.
These are made by literally rolling the whole grain oats. By placing them in between steel or stone rollers, which crushes them and makes them thin. They can be found in muesli or oats bar recipes. These kinds of oats are rolled bit thicker and have a different texture than thin oats. These oats are a slightly crunchy to taste.
These are the regular oats, which we often use to make porridge. Instant oats, which we normally get in Indian market. They are basically steel cut oats but cut finer, steamed then rolled into flakes. This process makes it easier to cook as well as reduces the cooking time. These kinds of oats provide a smooth and creamy consistency to the porridge.
Other Benefits of Oats:
Here is a list of benefits that make oats one of the important superfoods that must be included in your diet.
- Oats may help manage and prevent asthma in children
- Oats increase appetite-curbing hormones
- Beta glucans present in oats help improve the immune system
- Oats help reduce the use of Laxatives
- Oats help reduce the risk of type 2 Diabetes
- Oats help improve insulin sensitivity
- Oats help lower bad cholesterol
- Oats help control blood pressure
How To Store Oat Bran at Home
Oat bran is very sensitive and perishable. In order to protect them make sure to that you keep them in a tightly closed container and store them in a cold and dark place. To extend their shelf life you can also put them in the freezer, in a tightly closed container.
Thus, adding oat bran to your regular meal plan will definitely help you reach your optimal weight loss. However, establish a daily physical activity routine to support your healthy diet regime. Also, remember that Oat bran alone cannot replace all other important nutrients and minerals that your body needs from eating a wide variety of good foods. So, include oat bran as a part of an overall healthy diet plan.