Oatmeal, which is widely believed unavoidable in a healthy diet, has become very common in the Malayali meal plans. It could rightly be said that oats have, to some extent, replaced the quintessential Kerala breakfast dishes like appam, puttu, dosa and idli.
More than the taste, smell, flavour, and texture of it, oats is admired for its incredible nutritional values. A bowl of oats porridge makes us feel energetic to take on the day on a healthy note. There are 4 major factors which apparently make oats popular food item: oats is hailed as a complete meal, it is easy to cook, easily available in the market and most importantly, it is cheap as well.
What is oatmeal?
Like the good old wheat or corn, oat (Avena sativa) too is a cereal grain whose seeds are either crushed or rolled into flakes, known by the same name. Oats are mostly grown in places which enjoy varied climatic conditions, like Russia. The oat grains have impeccable capacity to survive the warm summers or the heavy showers. Oats are usually consumed as oatmeal or in powdered form. Tasty porridge, bread or biscuits can be made with oatmeal, and oats powder is used to make noodles and pasta.
In the days of yore, before realizing its incredible nutritional benefits, oats were used as a livestock feed. It was observed that horses fed on oats were fast and energetic. The fact was that the carbohydrates in oats provided energy and the horses fed on it were active and productive.
Structure of oatmeal
Oats are a storehouse of all the essential nutrients which provide abundant supply of proteins required for the healthy functioning of the human body. 100 gm of oatmeal contain around 389 calories of energy. Carbohydrates which provide energy take up 66% of its content. Besides, oats has 17% protein and 7% fat in it. A bowl of oatmeal porridge is loaded with vitamins, calcium, and magnesium as well.
Oats: nature's panacea
Oatmeal doesn't contain anything which could be harmful for the human body, reveal researches. The anti-oxidant rich oats fight heart ailment which is caused by high cholesterol levels. The dietary fibres contained in it lower the level of LDL cholesterol, which is harmful, without actually varying the good cholesterol levels.
Including oats in the daily diet helps keep a check on blood sugar levels as the soluble fibre helps to control diabetes. The level of blood sugar won't be rapidly raised as the carbohydrate in it doesn't get digested easily. Lignin in oats fights cancer, and controls the blood pressure as well. Oatmeal is easy on the stomach and the fibres ease the digestive process.
By the time a person turns 60 years of age, the production of enzymes which aid digestion becomes low. This causes the food to move through the large intestine in a slow pace and results in constipation. Oats are an excellent remedy for this. They help burn those extra calories and fat without actually affecting our health.
Consuming oats or applying it on face rejuvenates the skin, making it soft and younger looking. Hence, oats is often hailed a panacea gifted by the nature to maintain a fit and healthy body.
Information courtesy: Swapna Rajeev, chif dietician, Rene Medicity, Palarivattom