Before I was admitted to hospital at the age of 21, I was surviving on 2 bowls of porridge (made with oats and water) plus 2 apples a day. I didn’t eat porridge for a long time after that as I associated it with ill health, but I do enjoy it nowadays. It is actually very good for you, and I always feel reassured when my kids have had their porridge.
When I talk about porridge I’m talking about oats cooked in liquid, but other grains can be used. Oats for porridge come in various shapes and sizes. They can be whole, pinhead, medium ground or fine oatmeal. They can also be steamed and rolled into flakes of varying sizes and thicknesses (rolled oats) the largest size being jumbo oats.
Oats to stabilise blood sugar
The larger the pieces of oat used, the more texture the porridge has, and the less refined the oat is, the slower the release of energy when consumed. So, porridge will keep you full and sustained for longer than more refined cereals, and will keep blood sugar levels on an even keel.
Oats are good for your heart. Study after study has shown that regular consumption of oats lowers cholesterol. Oats also contain antioxidants that protect against coronary heart disease. In addition, oats are whole grains, and the consumption of whole grains has been shown to reduce blood pressure and the risk of heart attack.
Oats for nutrition
If you are looking for food with a well balanced nutritional composition, eat your oats. They are high in carbohydrate for energy (a good proportion of which is ‘complex’ carbohydrate for a sustained release of energy, and have up to 17g of good quality protein per 100g – essential for building and repair. Oats also contain healthy (unsaturated) fats, and a good amount of soluble fibre (beta-glucan) which is good for the heart, digestive tract, and for keeping you feeling fuller for longer.
You will also find high amounts of many vitamins and minerals, such as manganese (essential for growth and metabolism), phosphorus (for strong bones) copper (good for the heart), B-vitamins and iron (for energy) and selenium, magnesium and zinc for all round good health.
So, if you want to do something good for your body, eat your oats.