Oats Porridge – The Breakfast SuperfoodBy
It might not be a sexy new superfood, but oats are one of the healthiest foods you can eat. It also grows extremely well in Ireland so you can buy local and even organic porridge oats if you prefer. Plus it is far more economical than junky, sugary breakfast cereals.
Coming into winter a warm bowl of porridge in the morning is a comforting way to ease yourself into the day. Many people claim that a bowl of porridge ‘sets them up’ for the day. And they are absolutely right. Oats, unlike other grains, has a very high level of soluble fibre, called beta glucan. This fibre forms a gel in the digestive tract that has many positive effects. The most measurable is probably the lowering of LDL (‘bad’) cholesterol. It does this by trapping the cholesterol in the digestive tract and moving it out of the body. Avenanthramides are antioxidants in oats that reduce the build up of plaque in the artery walls and thereby prevent hardening of the arteries, another factor in heart disease.
The fibre in oats helps to make it a slow releasing carbohydrate, which keeps blood sugar nice and steady. This is vital for diabetics and for weight loss, but also for sustained energy and good brain function and concentration. Oats are also rich in B vitamins which are vital for the nervous system and brain function. Along with selenium, an important antioxidant for healthy brain chemistry.
New studies show that beta glucan, the soluble fibre in oats, also helps immune cells in the body to treat bacterial infection more effectively, facilitating quicker healing and recovery. This is important for all of us struggling with colds and flus, but even more important if you have a longterm illness. The high levels of zinc in oats also contribute to a healthy immune system.
There are also several antioxidants and phytonutrients present in oats that have powerful anti cancer actions. Selenium, along with happy brain chemistry, is involved in DNA repair and is associated with a reduced risk of colon cancer. Ferulic acid is another antioxidant that protects the colon from cancer.
Top Tips For Using Oats:
- Sprinkle in a pinch of cinnamon when cooking porridge for a natural sweetness.
- Add dried fruit such as raisins, dried cranberries or apricots when cooking porridge for extra fibre and natural sweetness
- Serve porridge with g round flaxseeds, chia seeds, sunfl ower seeds or pumpkin seeds for added healthy plant oils
- Make bircher muesli by soaking uncooked oat fl akes in apple juice, milk or soya milk for 5 minutes. Serve with fresh fruit, yoghurt or nuts and seeds.
- Make a smoothie with banana, berries, milk and a handful of oatflakes
- Substitute oat fl akes for a 1⁄4 of the fl our in breads, cookies, muffi ns and cakes
- Use oat flakes for breading fi sh and chicken
- Add oat flakes to meatballs, meatloaf and burger mince beef mixes
- Use oats as a stuffi ng for peppers and baked tomatoes, mix with herbs, chopped vegetables and onions
- Mix yoghurt with oat fl akes and nuts and seeds