A steaming bowl of freshly cooked oats or our tasty Overnight Oats (picture above) from The Market or Wicket Bar are the perfect breakfast choices to start your day the right way. Whether you top with nuts and seeds, stir in fresh berries, add a dollop of natural yogurt, drizzle over honey or sprinkle with grated coconut – this gluten-free whole grain, while beautifully simple, is endlessly versatile and interesting.
All oats begin as kernels of grain, but then why do we have so many choices of oat varieties on the supermarket shelf? Steel-cut oats are whole oats chopped into two or three pieces. That’s it. They take longer to cook, up to 30 minutes and have a chewier texture than other processed varieties. Steel cuts oats are slightly higher in fibre than old fashioned, quick and instant oats. They also have the lowest glycemic index of the four types of oats, potentially making them the best choice for blood sugar control. So next comes the old fashioned type; flat and flakey, these oats absorb more water and cook faster than its steel-cut companion. Then there are quick oats for those who still want stove-cooked oats but are in a hurry. And finally instant, which is the finely chopped variety of oat kernels and that can be microwaved if you’ve really got to rush!
Oats are high in the soluble fibre beta-glucan that reduces high cholesterol, promotes healthy gut bacteria, makes you feel fuller for longer and boosts defenses of the immune system agains bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites.
Type 2 diabetes is caused by poor insulin function known as insulin resistance where insulin can’t reach the cells efficiently due to a diet high in processed foods and refined sugar. Oats are one of the few whole grains that has repeatedly been linked to lowering the risk for type 2 diabetes. Oats contain magnesium, a super star nutrient, that balances your blood sugar to help you take care of your insulin levels naturally. Their high fibre content ensures they are digested slowly, which releases insulin gradually into the bloodstream, leading to fewer blood sugar spikes. Magnesium is also key to enzyme function and energy production, and helps prevent heart attacks and strokes by relaxing blood vessels, aiding the heart muscle and regulating blood pressure. Experimental and clinical data also suggests a link between magnesium deficiency and depression.
Oats are also the go-to fitness food. A bowl of their slow-releasing, wholegrain goodness an hour before exercise ensures blood sugar levels remain steady through a workout, while providing enough energy to keep you going.
One half cup of nutritious oats has over 25 per cent of our daily recommended biotin. Biotin is a B vitamin responsible for a healthy metabolism and digestion, but it also contributes to great hair, skin, and nails. Colloidal oatmeal (finely ground oats) has long been used to help treat dry and itchy skin. It may help relieve symptoms of various skin conditions, including eczema.
So next time you pick up a 500 gram packet of oats, remember that there are more than 26,000 rolled oats in there full of goodness and overwhelming health benefits.
Create our overnight oats recipe at home or find this delicious treat in the Grab & Go fridge at The Market or Juiced @ The Wicket.
coconut oil, melted
Mix oats, milk, raisins, apple, berries, honey and mint together in a bowl. Cover and leave in the fridge overnight. Meanwhile combine almonds, more oats, honey and coconut oil. Spread mixture out evenly on a tray lined with baking paper and bake on low heat in the oven until golden brown. Serve the overnight oats in a bowl and top with the homemade granola.