Whether it's in the form of flakes to add to yogurt or porridge, oats are a cereal you can't miss. Let's try to understand why based on the latest scientific research.
Oats support the immune system
Oats are nutritious and contain substances capable of supporting our immune system. This action takes place both directly, by modulating our defenses and making them more capable of reacting in the event of an infection, such as colds and flu, and indirectly, by strengthening the gut microbiota. The gut microbiota is the set of bacteria that populate our intestines and is also the center of our health, capable of counteracting inflammation and thus supporting the immune system. The properties just described are due to the compounds contained in oats such as beta glucans, which are a type of fiber, copper, iron, selenium, zinc and polyphenols (Chen et al, Nutrients, 2021).
Oats for the well-being of the stomach and intestines
Oats are beneficial for the gastrointestinal tract. In fact, oats protect against cellular degeneration that can affect the colon, regulate the sense of hunger and satiety, stimulate intestinal peristalsis, protect the stomach mucosa and intestinal microbiota, promoting the proliferation of good bacteria thanks to its prebiotic action. In particular, studies have observed that 40 grams of oat bran per day are able to increase short-chain fatty acids, which are substances produced by good intestinal bacteria and capable of reducing chronic inflammation (Korczak et al, Nutr Rev, 2020).
Oats and heart
International guidelines also recommend the intake of oats to reduce cardiovascular risk. In fact, oats are anti-inflammatory, help keep blood sugar and cholesterol under control and, as demonstrated by scientific studies, are also beneficial in case of hypertension, since in people with high blood pressure can reduce blood pressure after a regular intake of at least 2 months (Bouchard et al, Food Chem, 2022 - Xi et al, J Acad Nutr Diet, 2022).
Oats to combat asthma
Oats also protect the respiratory tract and studies have observed that taking oats from an early age reduces the risk of developing asthma (Virtanen et al, Br J Nutr, 2010).
Oat soup, the soup of centenarians
There are areas on earth where the percentage of particularly long-lived and healthy people attracts the interest of science. One such area is Loma Linda, California. Well, in Loma Linda oats are at home and are consumed after slow cooking, which preserves the nutrients and does not cause an excessive increase in the glycemic index (Zhang et al, Foods, 2021). In this way, oats provide fibers, antioxidants, iron, magnesium, potassium, selenium, zinc, manganese, copper, but also vitamins B1, B5, B6, folate and proteins, in greater quantities than other cereals, thus resulting in an immunostimulant, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory action, also protective for the stomach mucosa, antidiabetic and anticholesterolemic (Chen et al, Nutrients, 2021). Here's how to make oat soup the Loma Linda way. In a saucepan, pour 250 ml of almond milk, or other vegetable milk, heat until it simmers over medium heat. Lower the heat and add 50 grams of whole oat flakes. Cook slowly on low heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens. Remove from heat, add fresh and dried fruit, such as seasonal fruit, almonds, walnuts and cashews. You can sweeten it with a teaspoon of maple syrup if you like.