Oats can benefit your health in lots of ways, which is why health professionals recommend eating them as part of a healthy diet. You can enjoy them as porridge, or visit our recipe section for lots of tasty recipe ideas using oats.
Oats are high in energy, but low in fat – that’s why porridge is one of the best foods for breakfast. An average bowl of porridge made with water is only 171 calories.
Oats release their energy slowly, due to having a high content of complex carbohydrates and soluble fibre. If you eat porridge for breakfast, you’ll stay fuller for longer, avoiding the urge to snack before lunch.
Oatmeal and porridge oats are two of the few wholegrain foods that come out of the package as 100 percent whole grain. Refined grains are lower in fibre and other nutrients because the bran and germ are typically removed.
Oats are high in protein and rich in vitamins and minerals including calcium, zinc, iron, manganese, thiamine and vitamins B1 and E.
Oats are a low-GI food – the lower the GI rating, the better the food is for blood sugar levels. Foods with a low GI index help the body to keep energy levels steady, and keep the hunger pangs at bay for much longer.
As part of a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle, oat beta glucans have been shown to help lower blood cholesterol, which may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.
If the body has more cholesterol than it needs, cholesterol levels in the blood can rise, and over time, may damage or clog the arteries. Oats act like tiny sponges, soaking up cholesterol and carrying it out of the bloodstream.
Oats contain folic acid, which is essential for healthy foetal development.
Oats contain more soluble fibre, which is essential for healthy digestion, than any other grain. Scientists have shown that soluble fibre can also help to reduce cholesterol and maintain a healthy heart when eaten as part of a low fat diet.
Oats are recommended for diabetics, as they have less impact on blood sugar levels than some other grains.
We get a lot of enquiries from people with coeliac disease, asking whether they can eat oats. Guidelines from the Coeliac Society suggest that many people with coeliac disease can tolerate pure uncontaminated oats and oat products, however many oats are grown alongside other crops like wheat, barley and rye, which can make them unsafe. We advise you to refer to the Coeliac Society website for the latest research, and speak to your local healthcare team, GP or dietician, who can monitor you if you choose to try oats.
These websites have lots more information detailed on the health benefits of oats: