The majority of oat groats are made up of carbohydrates (66%). Of that 66%, 1% are sucrose, 11% are fibre and 85% are starch. Starch is made up of long chains of glucose modules, and as such have a higher fat content than other grains as well as a high propensity for taking up water. As a result, oats keep us fuller for longer. Without further ado, let’s look at all the excellent properties of oats….
Oat Groats: Starch Content
There are three different types of starches: Rapidly digested starch (7%), useful for immediate energy on consumption; slowly digested starch (22%), useful for satiety longevity and digestive resistant starch (25%), useful for travelling slowly through the digestive tract and for providing food for friendly bacteria found in the gut. As you can see, this is a near perfect combination of starches. But that is not all! In addition, oat groats also contain a substantial amount of fibre.
Oat Groats: Fibre Content
Oat groats contain a whopping 11% of mostly soluble fibre known as beta-glucan. As a result, they contain more soluble fibre than any other grain which means that oat groats are wonderful at keeping the appetite at bay. As they move slowly through the gut, they take up water, and bulk out to form a gel-like substance.
Furthermore, beta-glucans are known to increase excretion of bile acids. This in turn increases the digestion and absorption of fats and fat-soluble vitamins in the small intestine. Beta-glucans are also known to bring down blood sugar levels and thus insulin levels as well as lower cholesterol levels. They work particularly well on LDL cholesterol (the bad kind), and as such are thought to improve heart health.
Oat Groats: Protein Content
Approximately 17% of oat groats are made up mostly of a protein known as avenalin. This is a protein which is not found in any other grain but is known to be low allergenic. Consequently, oats are a sensible and safe option for those who are glucose intolerance.
Oat Groats: Fat content
Although oats are a low fat food, the whole oats can contain as much as 9% unsaturated fatty acids.
Oat Groats: Vitamins and Minerals
Lastly, oat groats contain an impressive array of vitamins and minerals:
- Manganese (Important for growth, development and metabolism)
- Phosphorus (Important for bone health and tissue maintenance)
- Copper (important for heart health)
- Vitamin B1 (Important for healthy nervous system, brain, muscles, heart, stomach, and intestines)
- Iron (Essential for transporting oxygen around the body)
- Selenium (Important for reducing free radical load within the body ensuring a healthy immune system)
- Magnesium (Important for normal bone structure)
- Zinc (Important for a healthy immune system)
As you can see, the nutrition in these little grains is explosive. Consequently, oats are a great addition to any family’s daily diet. Tomorrow, I will share some of the ways we use oats in our family.
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