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Oat Basics


Over the years oats have become such an integral part of my life, I really don't know how I used to live without them! I'm tempted to think that I would have been much healthier and happier had I given them a chance back in my teens or when I was a kid.

Many years ago, when I first read about the benefits of oats I hadn't been refined-sugar-free just yet and when I gave them a go they seemed basically inedible to me. But I quickly realized that I wasn't making them right. Ever since then I've learned to make them into a ton of delicious meals from breakfasts though dinners all the way to deserts. I now have them almost every day, either soaked, cooked, baked, in pancakes, in cookies, muffins, cakes, granola bars, or in many, many other ways.

Now that I don't eat added sugar (and I haven't for so long that my taste buds have become very sensitive to sugars) I find oats by themselves to be quite sweet, however, there is a number of ways you can sweeten them in a healthy way to make them even more delicious:). For the savory types out there, I feel that I just need to mention that, though it's maybe not as popular, it is totally possible to make a savory meal out of oats, anything from oatmeal to crepes, breads and dinners. The possibilities are endless!


Here are a few noteworthy nutrition facts about oats and reasons why you might want to try to incorporate them in your diet.


Health Benefits of OATS


*They're a great source of fiber

especially the beta-glucan soluble fiber that has been associated with balancing blood sugar levels and improving insulin sensitivity, reducing LDL (the "bad") and total cholesterol in blood, increasing the feeling of fullness, increasing the growth of the good gut bacteria, which we now know is so closely linked to our immune functions as well as mood.


*They're a whole-grain and they're therefore fantastic as a weight-loss food. The "good" carbs of oats make you feel fuller for longer by balancing your blood sugar levels. Those complex carbs also make them great as your pre- or post-workout meal.


*They're high in antioxidants

boosting your immune system and help you fight inflammation


*They can help to relive constipation (due to the high fiber content)


*They're extremely nutrient-dense, rich in minerals (manganese, phosphorous, magnesium, copper, iron, zinc) and vitamins (folate B9, thiamine B1, B5).

1/2 cup of oats contains:

MINERALS

3.85mg of manganese - 191% RDI

408mg of phosphorous - 41% RDI

138mg of magnesium - 34% RDI

0.5mg of copper - 24% RDI

3.7mg of iron - 20% RDI

3.1mg of zinc - 20% RDI

VITAMINS

43.7mg of vit. B9 - folate - 11% RDI

0.6mg of vit. B1 - thiamine - 39% RDI

0.1mg of vit. B6 - 4.5% RDI

MACROS

51.5g of carbohydrates

13.5g of protein

8.25g of fiber

5.4g of fat


RDI= U.S. Recommended Daily Intake



*They're naturally gluten-free, however in most places in the world they are processed in the same environment as many not gluten-free grains, and usually end up being contaminated by some traces of gluten. If you're allergic, sensitive or Celiac, I recommend purchasing the gluten-free certified oats.


note: I find that many of the "healthy" cereals and ready-made granola cereals advertised as oat products usually contain gluten (and lots of unnecessarily added sugar) as the oats are often coated with wheat flour (and sugar).


Your Most-Basic Oatmeal Recipe


Oats are most commonly consumed:

-cooked, aka oatmeal or porridge

-soaked (in warm liquid, I recommend in plant-based milk or water, or in room-temperature liquid- often referred to as overnight oats, but soaking for anywhere above an hour will also do)

-used as oat flour (blended oats) in pancakes, crepes, breads, muffins, cookies and cakes

-made into granola or granola bars


The most basic oatmeal recipe is to cook about 1/2 cup of oats in about 1 cup of plant-based milk with a pinch of salt. Bring it to boil and simmer until the oats soften. In terms of the additional ingredients you may add basically anything you like while they cook or after you put them in a bowl. Depending on what you're into, you might want to try anything from cinnamon, turmeric, the Golden Milk mix, spirulina, nut butters, all kinds of fruit and even vegetables, you may add some plan-based yogurt, pure nut or seed butters, and so on- the possibilities are really endless! I'll be sharing some of my favorite recipes soon!


Oats and Ayurveda


Ayurvedically speaking, cooked or soaked oats are great for the Pitta and Vata types out there, or for those trying to pacify Pitta or Vata. Both these Doshas should benefit from their sweet taste and gooey and heavy quality which is very grounding. For that reason, I've found that they aren't usually recommended to the Kapha types, though I think the dryer the oats (the higher their GI) the better they would be for the Kaphas out there, only, of course when consumed in moderation. The Kaphas might also do better having the savory kinds of oat meals rather than the sweet ones.

But, like always, I recommend you try it for yourself, listen to your body and find out what works best for you.




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