Why You Should Be Eating Your Oats!

As a young child you were probably often told by your parents to eat your porridge - and with good reason! Although this is certainly not the favourite breakfast choice of most children, it is a great way to promote optimum health and future-proof your body!

Harvard Health Study

A recent study conducted at Harvard University has found that eating a bowl of porridge oats every day can help to protect you against heart disease. Heart disease is currently the leading cause of death in the United States, and is accountable for one in every four deaths. This disease is characterised by a build up of plaque within the arteries which then restricts the flow of blood. As the blood flow to the heart becomes more and more limited, serious problems will start to occur. 

100,000 people were monitored over the course of 14 years for this Harvard study, with their diets and health being observed. The underlying aim was to determine if whole grains had any influence over the life span of an individual.

When the study began in 1984, all 100,000 people who enrolled were considered to be healthy. When a follow up took place in 2010, 26,000 of those people had died. At this point, the data collected on those still alive showed that the people who ate the most whole grains appeared to have suffered a lower incidence of many illnesses and poor health struggles, particularly heart disease.

The Harvard Study has demonstrated that young people who regularly eat oats are 50% less likely to struggle with obesity that those who do not. 10,000 children participated in this aspect of the study and the results are incredibly positive for the inclusion of oats! 

Benefits of Oats

Many people already choose to include porridge oats in their diets daily because of the high fibre content. This high fibre count can be useful for aiding weight loss efforts as well as helping a person to keep their energy levels up for longer. However, the potential for this same bowl of porridge oats to protect a person against heart disease, and reduce the mortality rate in general, is now also apparent.

Whole Grain Vs Refined Grains

Whole grain foods are those which still have the bran and germ intact, whereas refined grains lose this during the manufacturing process. This means that whole grains have a much higher nutritional value than their refined counterparts! Click here to check out a previous blog post in which we talk more in depth about heart health and why certain whole grains are great for protecting the heart!

It is not only your heart that has the potential to benefit when you opt to have a bowl of porridge oats for breakfast every morning. Studies conducted in the past have shown that whole grains are also able to boost your bone mineral density, equating to great things for the present and future health of your bones. Oats are also believed to be the best whole grain to consume when it comes to preventing osteoporosis. The combination of minerals within oats makes them great for promoting bone mineral density. Oats are high in calcium, copper, zinc and magnesium - all things that are found within your bones and are essential for keeping them strong and healthy. In fact, the presence of copper, zinc and magnesium means that your bones are better able to absorb calcium, leading to even better bone health. 

Enjoying Your Oats!

If you find that bowl of porridge oats to be too boring a breakfast choice then there are endless ways to make it more appealing! Not only this, but doing so will also up the nutrient intake that you enjoy from this meal. For example, try adding a teaspoon of raw cacao powder or cinnamon and a chopped banana to this dish for a seriously healthy morning meal! Alternatively, you can add whatever else your favourite fruit happens to be or a sprinkle of nuts. Top your porridge with a sprinkle of chia seeds and you will be raring to go until lunchtime!

Other alleged benefits of eating porridge oats, that have been backed up by certain studies in the past few decades, are that they can increase your libido, combat toxins in the body, help to fight infection and boost concentration levels. With so many amazing reasons to start your day off this way, and no reason at all to avoid oats, it makes sense to get them on the menu. In addition to being super healthy and easy to prepare, porridge oats are also generally quite low cost. They are very easily stored and will last a long time when you keep them in an airtight container. This means that you can easily stock up on them and not have to worry about running out or having to spend a great deal of time preparing food in the mornings! 

References

1) http://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/facts.htm

2) https://www.nos.org.uk/document.doc?id=395

3) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/news/11325968/Porridge-could-be-key-to-a-long-and-healthy-life-says-Harvard-University.html