Almost every food is being labelled a superfood these days – everything from kale to avocado to pitaya. But there is no scientific definition for the title "superfood" so it can be stamped on anything (And it is!). If one had to define the word “superfood” it would be a food that is a nutritional powerhouse and has enough evidence backing it's health benefits.
When it comes to superfoods, there is one food that ticks the boxes. It’s not an ancient grain or a fancy new age green leaf. They're your good ol' oats.
Numerous studies have shown that eating oats can lower cholesterol.
What exactly are oats?
Oats are grains which are rich in carbohydrates. But contrary to belief not all carbohydrate-rich foods are bad for you or will make you add those extra pounds. Oats are smart carbs!
- They are packed with fibre and contain a particular type of soluble fibre called beta-glucan, which has been shown to reduce cholesterol in the gut and helps to improve reduce your cholesterol levels, which in turn reduces risk of heart ailments.
- About 20 per cent of the total energy from oats comes from fat. But this is almost entirely healthy, unsaturated fat. The fat found in oats carries the fat-soluble vitamin E, which is a key player in the team of disease-fighting anti-oxidants.
- Oats have a low to moderate GI, depending on their form, so they will fill you up and keep your glucose levels stable, avoiding too many highs and lows.
- About 12 per cent of the energy from oats is protein, making oats a sought after grain especially for vegetarians.
- Oats provide a host of micronutrients such as potassium, calcium, manganese, phosphorus, vitamin B1 and zinc. They're basically little power houses of energy!
Oats are versatile and can be used in many ways to incorporate into your diet. You could start your morning with a bowl full of cooked oats and some peanut butter. Or you could munch on oat -rich snacks like All Heart's Seeded Crackers to keep you full and give you your desired protein content for the day. They can be added to muffins ( although, that will mean loading up on butter and sugar!) or eaten in the form of a cereal.
All in all, oats are well worthy of a place in your pantry!