Island Senior: For a Healthy Heart, Eat Your Oats!
Island Senior is a regular column on the San Juan Update written by Peggy Sue McRae…
A Scotsman was eating his oats when an Englishman scoffed, “In England we feed oats to our horses.” “Aye,” said the Scot, “That is why England raises the best horses… and Scotland the best men.” So said my dad, Jim McRae, as he encouraged my sisters and I to eat our morning oatmeal.
With apologies to the English he made a good point. Oats are now recognized among “superfoods” as especially beneficial for heart health. Oats are an important source of whole grain fiber that according to the American Heart Association has been shown to lower the risk of heart disease.
What makes oats so healthy is that they contain a type of soluble fiber called beta-glucan that has been shown to slow digestion and increase satiety. From The Harvard School of Public Health, “Beta-glucan can bind with cholesterol-rich bile acids in the intestine and transport them through the digestive tract and eventually out of the body.” *
Oats are also a naturally gluten free (with some exceptions) whole grain with a high level of anti-oxidants including Avenanthramides, a type of antioxidant that exists almost exclusively in oats and can lower blood pressure, improve blood flow, and reduce inflammation* as described in, Medical News Today. Like any other so called, “superfood,” oats are not a magic bullet but they can be a vital part of an all around healthy diet.
The less they are processed the more nutrients they retain. You need to watch the sugar content on instant oatmeal packets. Oats come as steel cut, old-fashioned rolled oats, and instant or quick oats. I keep it super easy by using quick oats. I just pour hot water over them in a cup. Throw in some dried fruit or a dab of jam and a pinch of salt and in five minutes breakfast is served. The possibilities however are vast. Check out the Mullis Center’s Facebook Page for recently posted recipes.