The nutritional advantages of oats come from the fact that its bran and germ layer isn’t removed during post-harvest processing. Most of the fiber and other nutrients are found in these layers.
To fully enjoy the benefits of oats, it is suggested that gluten-free oats be used. Gluten is a protein present in some grains like wheat, barley and rye. Unfortunately some individuals can be quite allergic to this substance. Oats used to be grouped along with these grains but recent studies have found that the different varieties of oats actually have varying degrees of toxicity. Some of them low enough to be generally safe, except perhaps for those with the highest sensitivity to gluten.
The more common problem with oats is gluten contamination. This usually occurs in mills where oats are processed along with other grains. For an oat product to be certified as gluten-free, the producer has to strictly follow the set standards from planting all the way to store shelves.
Continue reading to know more about the benefits of gluten-free oats (and be sure to also check out recommended soak times for beans, grains, legumes, nuts and rice).
Gluten-free Oats Benefits:
A bowl of hot oatmeal is such a typical way to start a day that it’s easy to underestimate the health benefits. Like most grains, gluten-free oats are a powerhouse of energy with about 66 grams of carbohydrates for every 100 gram serving. Besides providing fuel, the dietary fiber in oats offers advantages for your cardiovascular system.
One specific type of fiber found in oats is beta-glucan. As a soluble fiber, it can help maintain stable blood sugar levels because it slows down the absorption of sugars during digestion. Meanwhile it helps the heart and circulation by lowering total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol in particular.
In addition to cardiovascular support, this special oat fiber is also capable of boosting your immune system. A recent study found that beta-glucans actually help immune cells find and get to sites of infection quicker.
Another heart-friendly component in oats is an antioxidant substance called avenanthramide. It’s considered as an antioxidant because it slows down the oxidation of LDL cholesterol. The dangerous thing about this bad cholesterol when it gets oxidized is that it becomes highly reactive and can penetrate blood vessel walls. This event triggers inflammatory cells to gather where the oxidized LDL set in. When these cells in turn get embedded, plaque will eventually build up and the blood vessel is blocked.
Further research on avenanthramides reveals that the substance helps prevent plaque build-up by suppressing the production of certain types of molecules that make inflammatory cells stick to blood vessel walls.
As it turns out, this antioxidant substance works well with Vitamin C, a more common antioxidant. In combination they extend the delay of LDL oxidation. So drinking some fresh orange juice with your bowl of oatmeal isn’t just satisfying, it makes nutritional sense.
Gluten-free Oats Practical Uses:
The various types of oat products are due to different ways the grain is processed after harvest. Technically, you can turn all these into porridge but each has its own water to oats ratio and cooking time.
Oat groats – The grain is simply hulled but otherwise left intact. Since this is the toughest, it requires 3-4 cups of water for every one cup of oats. Usually the groats are brought to boil, allowed to simmer and then left to sit overnight. Some may use a slow cooker set at low-medium heat for 7-8 hours.
Steel-cut oats – Here the grains are hulled and then chopped up into smaller pieces. A 2:1 ratio of water to oats is enough for this type. A minimum of 30 minutes is needed to get it fully cooked.
Rolled oats – Instead of cutting up the grains, they’re steamed and then flattened. This is also known as old-fashioned oats. The water to oat ratio is similar to steel-cut but cooking only takes 15 minutes.
Quick oats – This is the most available form of oats and easiest to cook. The grains are cut, steamed and flattened. Usually you just need to add some hot water to a bowl of quick oats, stir, add some flavoring, dairy or fruit, and you’re done.
Sometimes the bran layer is removed and sold as a separate product. Oat bran can also be enjoyed as a cereal breakfast. Oat flour meanwhile is another product that’s a good substitute for conventional flour in gluten-free baking. You can make your own small batch of oat flour by running groats through a coffee grinder.
In the next post, I’ll tell you the benefits of organic full-fat yogurt in your quest to Become Superhuman.
In the meantime, if you care to jump ahead, here is a complete listing of the grains and legumes on Superhuman Food Pyramid:
• GMO Corn
• Soy Nuts
If you have questions, comments or feedback about the benefits of gluten-free oats the Superhuman Food Pyramid, this website, or other aspects of Becoming Superhuman, then leave your thoughts below, as well as any tips you have on the benefits of gluten-free oats.