Oats are well-known breakfast cereals. They are the fourth most important crop worldwide and third leading crop produced in United States after wheat and corn. Oats are commercially available all over the world in various forms. In India, they are known as Jai or Javi.
There are many variants of oat available in market such as steel-cut oats (whole oat cut into pieces), rolled oats (oat grains steamed and flattened by rolling, used for making smooth porridge), flour (finely ground oats), flakes, bran (outermost layer of the oat kernel, very high in fibre) and oatmeal. Oatmeal is the ground oat grains and it is one of the most commonly available variant of oats.
By Agronom (Own work)[CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Oats are sweet, slightly bitter, warming and works positively on many body organs. They are good for heart, digestive system, reproductive system, bones and brain. Due to richness in phosphorous and silicon, they make bones, muscles and connective tissues stronger. Oats have anti-diabetic, anti-obesity, anti-depressant, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, cardio tonic, digestive, diuretic, liver protecting, tonic, nervine and sedative properties.
In Homeopathy, mother tincture of common oat (known as Avena Sativa mother tincture, prepared from entire fresh plant of oat) is used as tonic and sedative. It is given from 5 drops upwards with one cup hot water. This tincture directly works on brains and increases nerve force. This remedy is given to people doing mental work such as teachers, professionals and those suffering from mental stress. Avena Sativa mother tincture is also given to treat nervous tremors of the aged, Parkinson's disease, epilepsy, male sexual disorders (impotence, sexual debility, spermatorrhoea as it regulates the functional irregularities of male organs), inability to keep the mind fixed on any one subject especially due to masturbation, nervous collapse, sleeplessness, debility and sinking sensation with a craving for alcohol in chronic alcoholics.
Common names of Oats
ENGLISH: Common oat, cultivated oat INDIA: Gandal, Ganer, Jia, Jayee, Atiyav, Mundyav
TRADE NAME: Oat
Oats are described as perfect food. There are several health benefits of regular intake of oats.
Rich in fibre
Oats are excellent nutritional source of dietary fibre. They contain more fibre than any other whole grain. About one cup of oatmeal provides half of the daily required fibre.
Anti-diabetic and anti-obesity
Beta-glucan, a water soluble fibre which is present in oats, prevents very fast absorption of glucose into blood sugar. This helps lesser blood glucose surge and storage of fats. In diabetes, oats intake helps in better management of glucose level in blood.?-glucan on digestion forms a gel which causes the viscosity of the contents of the stomach and small intestine to be increased. This slows down digestion and prolongs the absorption of carbohydrates into the blood stream and avoids remarkable changes in blood sugar levels. This property also makes oats an excellent food for people targeting weight loss or suffering from obesity. New research suggests that children between ages 2-18 years old who have a constant intake of oatmeal lowered their risk of obesity. The research found that the children who ate oatmeal were 50% less likely to become overweight, when compared to those children that did not eat it.
Reduces bad cholesterol
Beta-glucan is also helpful in reducing serum concentration of total cholesterol and low–density lipoprotein cholesterol by 8-23% according to one study.
Reduces risk of Heart diseases
Daily intake of oat is helpful in reducing hypertension/high blood pressure due to presence calcium, potassium, fibre, protein, and zinc. The US Food and Drug Administration claims, regular intake of oats as part of diet, could reduce risk of heart diseases.
Nutritionally dense and perfect
Oats are nutritionally very dense and contains calcium, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, selenium, zinc, vitamins and protein. They give energy, maintains body fluid and helps in building muscle mass. One cup oatmeal cooked in water provides about six grams protein, four grams fat, seventeen grams fibre and calories.
They are excellent source of manganese. Manganese is required by body for normal brain function, absorption of calcium, growth of bones and formation of connective tissues.
Oats are also a very good source of selenium which is a necessary cofactor of the important antioxidant, glutathione peroxidase. Selenium and vitamin E work together in numerous vital antioxidant systems throughout the body and is helpful in decreasing asthma symptoms and in the prevention of heart disease.
Oats are rich in complex slow digesting, low glycaemic carbohydrates. They are without cholesterol and sodium. The best thing is about oats is that they are inexpensive compared to other grains.
A simple oat recipe is to cook one cup rolled oat in water and milk (each one cup). Bring this to boil and then simmer for few minutes. For smoother consistency you may add extra milk. You may sweeten it for better taste. Another easy recipe is to boil and simmer 20g of oats in 2 cup water. Strain the water and drink. This will provide your body goodness of oat grains. These are very simple preparation of oats without any spices or other ingredients. There are numerous other Indian recipes of Oats such as Oat upma, Dosa, Cutlets, Porridge, Masala oats etc.
Oats contain naturally-occurring substances called purines which on metabolism produces a crystalline compound including uric acid, caffeine andxanthine. Uric acid is responsible for kidney stones and gout. So it is better to limit or avoid intake of oats in people suffering from kidney problems and gout.