Oatmeal (oats)

As we are coming into winter we should maybe consider a breakfast of oats of the plain unprocessed variety, the health benefits of a serving of oats each day will surprise many as oats contain many health promoting trace elements and minerals in a form our bodies can readily metabolise including copper manganese and iron as well as B group vitamins.

As you will almost certainly be aware oats are a rich source of soluble fibre and beta glucan which supports your immune system, lowers cholesterol and may even protect against some forms of cancer.

Oats contain two types of fibre, soluble and insoluble; fibre like beta glucan which is also found in fruit pectin, can form a thick paste layer in our gut reducing absorption of cholesterol and promoting healthy gut bacteria; oats have a low glycaemic index which means they are released slowly into our blood stream via our digestive process resulting in slow release of insulin without the spikes. 70gms of oats per day will provide your daily needs of 3gms of beta glucan reducing your exposure to LDL cholesterol. This is similar to the effects of taking a prescription statin, without the side effects; a serving of oatmeal eachday may offer us protection against heart disease and bowel conditions of various types including the very serious ones.

A 14 year study by Harvard University of 100,000 people found that those who ate the most whole grains seemed to be protected from many conditions including heart disease.

There are potential health benefit gains (according to Dr Michael Gregor, an American specialist in public health issues and a promoter of whole foods), that may result from including oats in your diet; weight loss, including the waist area, liver function this includes fatty liver disease caused by excess food rather than alcohol. Fatty liver is the most common cause of liver disease in the United States at present, this is probably mirrored in other western countries like New Zealand as we tend more to processed and fast foods.