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by inKin
02 Dec

The Best Superfoods A-Z: O is for Oats

Oats or as they are formally called Avena Sativa, are not only a rich source of fiber, protein, and vitamins. This superfood also contains so-called smart carbs which help to produce serotonin. Thus, a bowl of oatmeal is both a healthy breakfast idea to start your day and a sleep-inducing and relaxing night meal due to its ability to create serotonin.

The cultivation of oats goes back to 1000 century BC while their fast cooking varieties were introduced in the 18th century. Nowadays, shelves at grocery shops are full of various types of fast and slow cooking oats. However, they are divided into three major types - steel-cut oats, rolled oats, and quick oats. The difference between these three types lies in the way they are processed. Steel-cut oats are the unprocessed and original type, rolled oats have gone through the steaming and flattening process making them more easy cooking while quick oats have been processed and steamed even further with less than two minutes cooking time. Irrespective of the type, all of them are full of nutritious and healthy benefits. 

 

Benefits

Lowering Cholesterol

Some studies have shown that including oats in your diet reduces the level of ‘’bad’’ cholesterol in the blood. This happens due to a natural type of fiber called beta-glucan. If you add high-fiber fruits to your oatmeal like raspberries or bananas, the health benefit of oats will even be doubled. 

 

Controlling Blood Sugar 

Beta-glucan not only helps to reduce the level of cholesterol but also the amount of sugar and insulin in the blood. If you have problems with blood sugar level, unprocessed or low processed oats are the best selection for you. This kind of oats is digested and metabolized much more slowly and as a result, hinders the increase of blood sugar.  

 

Managing Weight 

Have you ever noticed how full you feel after having oatmeal? This happens because as soon as oatmeal starts travelling through your body, beta-glucan attracts water thus increasing the volume of digested food. As a result, food processing slows down, and the feeling of hunger and all kinds of food cravings disappear for a longer time.  

 

Heart Health 

Your heart will definitely thank you for the daily amount of oats in your diet. A number of researches have been carried out proving the direct link between heart diseases and consumption of whole grains, including oats. The antioxidants, as well as the beta-glucan fiber that fights bad cholesterol, helps to reduce the number of clogged arteries which in turn prevents the risk of a heart attack.  

 

Skincare 

It is no secret that what we eat directly affects the state of our skin. Adding oats in your diet is another road to healthy and glowing skin. Due to its water-absorbing components, oatmeal for breakfast will help to reduce puffy face. Due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory components, different facial masks from oats will help to fight acne, reduce inflammation as well as exfoliate and clean the face.

 

Oatmeal cookies with cranberries and apple sauce

As they say ‘A balanced diet is a cookie in each hand’’. This is more true if the cookies are made from super healthy ingredients - oats and cranberries. These chewy oatmeal cookies are also perfect for the holiday season and any other occasion. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups quick cooking oats
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup apple sauce /unsweetened/
  • 4 tablespoons butter cut into cubes or melted 
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries 
     

Instructions:

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the oats, flour, baking powder.
  2. In another bowl, combine the applesauce, butter, egg, vanilla, and honey. Whisk until blended. Pour the mixture into the flour mixture and stir until combined. The dough should be wet and sticky. Add cranberries. Place in the refrigerator and let chill for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 365 degrees. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and make cookies. Put the cookies into a greased baking sheet. Bake until the cookies are golden for approximately 10 minutes. 

 

 

Photo Credit: Depositphotos

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