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The benefits of Oatmeal

by Shashwathi Sandeep

They are on the rack of every department store but often go unnoticed. But, with a whole load of advantages that this item has, it might well be on the shopping list of every family very soon. I am talking about Oats here.

Oatmeal and oat bran are important sources of dietary fiber. They contain a mixture of about half soluble and half insoluble fibers. One component of the soluble fiber found in oats is beta-glucans, a soluble fiber which has proven effective in lowering blood cholesterol. Lower the level of blood cholesterol, lower is the risk of getting any heart problems.

Control of blood glucose and insulin levels is essential in preventing many of the complications associated with diabetes. Oat beta-glucan slows the rise in blood glucose levels following a meal and delays its decline to pre-meal levels. So, eating oats can avoid drastic changes in blood sugar levels.

Oats contain hundreds of phytochemicals or plant chemicals which are thought to reduce a person’s risk of getting cancer. Phytoestrogen compounds, called lignans, in oats have been linked to decreased risk of hormone-related diseases such as breast cancer. The insoluble fibers in oats are also thought to reduce carcinogens in the gastrointestinal tract.

Any hyper tensions a person has can be easily cured with a daily serving of whole oats rich in soluble fiber. Hypertension could sometimes lead to serious problems with the heart and blood vessels, leading to other complications.

It is now known that Oats has high fiber content. Fiber is necessary in keeping bowel movements regular. An added advantage is that the oats are high in both soluble and insoluble fiber. Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water. It is spongy and absorbs many times its own weight of liquid. It makes stools heavier and speeds their passage through the gut, relieving constipation.

This now, has another advantage to it. As the soluble fiber of oats is digested, it forms a gel, which causes the viscosity of the contents of the stomach and small intestine to be increased. The gel delays stomach emptying making you feel full longer which helps with weight loss.

Oats favorably alters metabolism and enhance performance as they also contain high levels of carbohydrates.

Now in entirety, this is why Oats is good for people of all ages: Oats have a higher concentration of well-balanced protein than other cereals.

They contain a good balance of essential fatty acids, which have been linked with longevity and general good health, and also have one of the best amino acid profiles of any grain. Amino acids are essential proteins that help facilitate optimum functioning of the body.

Oats are also a good source of essential vitamins such as thiamin, folic acid, biotin, pantothenic acid and vitamin E. They also contain zinc, selenium, copper, iron, manganese and magnesium. Oat beta glucan also appears to help speed up response to infection, which may result in faster healing. Considering all these advantages that a single food grain has, it would be a safe bet to say that Oats is the way to go now!

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