All about Oats:
Oats are a very popular cereal in recent years, oats’ main benefit is their soluble fiber content. In fact, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized a claim stating that a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, including soluble fiber, may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. It is interesting to note that of all cereals, oats are the richest in fat, mainly unsaturated fatty acids.
Oats and their benefits:
– High in dietary fiber,
– Source of carbohydrates,
– C satiety and intestinal transit,
– Contains gluten,
– Rich in important vitamins and minerals.
Oats are known for their unique nutritional profile. Among the vitamins and minerals found in this cereal like no other, we can cite:
Oats Phosphorus :
Oat bran is an excellent source of phosphorus, while oatmeal is a good source of it.
The phosphorus is the second mineral, it exists in great quantity in the body after calcium.
Phosphorus plays an important role in the formation and maintenance of healthy bones and teeth. In addition, it participates in the growth and regeneration of tissues and helps maintain a normal blood pH. In conclusion, phosphorus is one of the constituents of cell membranes,
Oat bran and oatmeal are excellent sources of manganese. Manganese acts as a co-factor for several enzymes that facilitate a dozen different metabolic processes. It also helps prevent free radical damage,
The oat bran is a rich source of magnesium for both women and men, but the man’s needs are higher. Oatmeal is a source of magnesium for both men and women. Magnesium contributes to bone development, protein building, enzymatic actions, muscle contraction, dental health and immune system function. It also contributes to energy metabolism and the transmission of nerve impulses,
Oat bran is an excellent source of iron for both men and women, but women’s needs are greater. Oatmeal is a source of iron for both men and women. Every cell in the body contains iron. It is necessary for the transit of oxygen and for the formation of red blood cells in the blood. Iron also contributes to the manufacture of new cells, hormones and neurotransmitters (messengers in the nerve impulse). It should be noted that the iron contained in foods of plant origin is less well absorbed by the body than the iron contained in foods of animal origin. However, the absorption of iron from plants is enhanced by the consumption of certain nutrients, such as vitamin C,
Oat bran and oatmeal are good sources of selenium. This mineral works with one of the major antioxidant enzymes, preventing the formation of free radicals in the body. It also helps transform thyroid hormones into their active form,
Oat bran and oatmeal are sources of zinc. Zinc is particularly involved in immune reactions, the manufacture of genetic material, taste perception, wound healing and fetal development. Zinc also interacts with sex hormones and thyroid hormones. In the pancreas, it is involved in the manufacture, storage and release of insulin,
Oat bran and oatmeal are sources of copper. Copper contributes to the constitution of several enzymes, it is necessary for the formation of hemoglobin and collagen (protein used for the structure and repair of tissues) in the body. Several copper-containing enzymes also contribute to the body’s defense against free radicals,
Oat bran and oatmeal are both sources of pantothenic acid. Also known as vitamin B5, pantothenic acid is part of a key coenzyme that allows the body to adequately use energy from ingested food. It is also involved in several steps in the manufacture of steroid hormones, neurotransmitters (messengers in nerve impulses) and hemoglobin.
The benefits of oats:
Cereals are very important for a healthy diet. It is strongly recommended to give the largest part of the diet to cereals, breads and other cereal products also to vegetables and fruits. The NHNP (National Health Nutrition Plan) for healthy eating takes this recommendation into account and insists on the choice of whole grain or enriched cereal products. The American authorities, for their part, recommend that at least half of the cereal products consumed be whole grains.
Cereals and the cardiovascular system
Epidemiological studies have shown that the consumption of whole grains is linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, certain cancers and obesity.
These beneficial effects would be related to the synergy between the many compounds contained in whole grain products, such as fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Since most of these compounds are contained in the bran and the germ, it is better to consume whole grains rather than refined ones.
An excellent source of fibre
Oat-based foods have been the subject of several investigations, particularly because of their content of beta-glucan, a soluble fiber present in large quantities in this cereal. Soluble fiber promotes fecal excretion of cholesterol by decreasing its manufacture by the liver, resulting in a significant, but modest, reduction in blood cholesterol levels. The suggested mechanism of action is related to the viscosity of beta-glucan, which interferes with the reabsorption of bile acids, thus resulting in a decrease in plasma cholesterol levels. A diet rich in soluble fiber can also help normalize blood glucose and insulin levels, which can help in the treatment of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. In fact, beta-glucan slows down the absorption of carbohydrates in the intestine, which lowers blood sugar levels after meals, thereby reducing insulin requirements. It would therefore be a food to be favored by people suffering from type 2 diabetes.
Oats contain a high proportion of soluble and insoluble fibre, which has beneficial effects on the digestive system. In fact, fibre helps normalize intestinal transit and has a satiating effect. Finally, several studies have shown that a diet rich in fiber has a lower risk of colon cancer. Although the preventive effect has been demonstrated, the role of fiber in the treatment of cancer remains controversial.
Rich in vegetable protein
Oat protein contains several essential amino acids, which is why it is considered to be of good quality. Also, as in all cereals, some of these amino acids are present in low quantities, hence the need to compensate the lack with other protein sources such as meat or legumes. It should be noted that an amino acid is essential when the body cannot produce it and it must necessarily come from food.
Beware of processed foods, including breakfast cereals, which may contain sugar, hydrogenated oils, preservatives, artificial flavours, colors and other non-nutritive additives.
Contraindications and allergies to oats
Although oats are reputed to be an excellent cereal for the health, there are some contraindications to its consumption. Indeed, this cereal is a source of gluten which is implicated in intestinal hypersensitivity and celiac sensitivity. In addition, its phytic acid content can reduce the intestinal absorption of certain micronutrients.
Phytic acid and reduced intestinal absorption
Cereals contain phytochemicals. Phytic acid, one of the most abundant micro-constituents of grain, is a good example.
This compound, found in greater quantities in the outer shell of the grain (bran) and in the germ, has the ability to bind to certain minerals (calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc) and thus reduce their absorption in the intestine.
The consumption of phytic acid (or phytate) is beneficial because it acts as an antioxidant in the body. In fact, phytic acid, and more precisely its derivatives, could help protect against colon cancer and even cardiovascular diseases.
A cereal source of gluten
Also known as gluten intolerance, celiac disease affects about 4 out of every 1,000 people in North America. People with celiac disease have a permanent intolerance to gluten, a protein found in the grain of many cereals. In celiac disease, consumption of gluten can lead to intestinal symptoms such as malabsorption of many nutrients. Gliadin is the part of the gluten in wheat that causes an immune response in people with this disease.
Oats do not contain gliadin, but do contain another molecule of similar composition, avenin. Because of their close molecular similarity, oats have been attributed the same physiological effects as wheat. However, a growing body of research has shown that oats are tolerated by the vast majority of celiacs. In spite of all this and due to a lack of certainty, the Fédération québécoise de la maladie cœliaque and the Canadian Celiac Association do not recommend that people with gluten intolerance consume oats at this time, especially since there is a high risk that this cereal will be contaminated by other cereals such as wheat or barley.