Food of the Week: Oats
Bear with me, as I am about to get very, very excited. I love oats.
We may all know that oats are choc full of great carbohydrates (great ones… because they are a wholegrain cereal, and so therefore full of fibre which helps to keep us full, and does wonders for our digestive system) but they are also loaded with protein (almost as much as an egg, which is a pretty darn awesome achievement for a cereal) and a schmorgasborg of vitamins…
# Thiamine, riboflavin, niacin (all needed for energy release – its no good just eating the energy, we need vits and mins to help activate their energy properties)
# Vitamin B6 (needed for protein metabolism, blood production)
# Beta-glucan (this soluble fibre is a rock star… in oats it helps to stabalise our blood sugar, slows digestion keeping us fuller for longer, and has been proven to reduce the “bad” LDL cholesterol in our blood, and work wonders for high blood pressure)
# Iron (vital for blood production, and oxygen transportation)
# Anti-oxidants (one of which… avenanthramides are unique to oats, protecting our cells from those pesky free-radicals and working as awesome anti-inflammatory agents looking after our heart and intestines and helping to reduce our risk of developing cancer)
Providing energy, weight control, heart health, disease protection and longevity… see why I think oats are a Superhero?
Here comes the Supergeek Station….
Oats are grains that are harvested from a cereal plant and then milled. Only the outer shell is removed – the inedible part, with as much of the whole oat grain kept in tact as possible. Then the oats are steamed, heated and cooled in a kiln (bringing out the yummy nutty flavour). Finally, the oats are rolled into flakes, cut into oatmeal or ground into flour.
So we know that the less a food is processed, and changed from its natural form the better.
# Steel cut oats have been coarsely cut into two or three pieces – great for porridge.
# Jumbo oats have been steamed and then flattened with rollers to make flakes – this is the stuff we find in muesli, or is easy to find in supermarkets for porridge.
# Rolled oats are steel cut, which have then been steamed to soften them and rolled to make flakes – they cook faster and make super smooth porridge, often found in the individual serving sachets.
# Oatmeal is the traditional porridge ingredient. Grooved rolls break up the oats creating a combo of coarse, medium and fine cut oats.
# Oat flour is the finest of them all – ground and sieved and used in bread and cakes.
So for brekkie, grab yourself some organic jumbo oats, and mix up a bowl full of porridge joy, rustle up a breakfast muffin, bake with them – substituting flour in cookie recipes, or just chuck a handful into your breakfast smoothie.
Start your day in style – oat up!