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Updated 26 February 2013

Oats: the ultimate health food

Globally an increasing number of people are choosing to lead a healthier lifestyle. Oats is one of the current buzz-words in health foods, and for many good reasons.

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People have changed and the way in which we live has changed. Organic, free-range, preservatives free - globally, there is a new  emphasis being placed on leading a balanced, active lifestyle which has resulted in consumers taking more interest in how  they live  their lives and what  they put into  their bodies. This has seen an increasing trend towards consumers looking for healthy options when it comes to food, whether eating at a restaurant or simply buying groceries.

Avena Sativa, more commonly known as oats, is one of the current buzz-words in health foods, and for many good reasons. All across the world mother’s old favourite is being re-introduced into the family diet at breakfast time and in many different dishes throughout the day.

Extensive research has proven that oats carries a multitude of health benefits:

  • Oats combats and protects us against high cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease - three of the most important contributing factors in heart disease is high cholesterol levels, high blood pressure and uncontrolled and raised blood sugar levels. Eating oats regularly lowers bad cholesterol levels, reduces blood pressure and improves blood sugar control which effectively reduces the risk of heart disease. It specifically reduces the amount of bad cholesterol in our blood.
     
  • Weight loss - oats has been beneficial in weight loss and reducing waist circumference. The benefits of oats are that it has a relatively low glycaemic index, which means that the carbohydrates (sugars) contained in it is slowly released into the bloodstream. This leads to a smooth and gentle increase in blood sugar levels and insulin levels in the body. This is important, since the high spikes in blood sugar in foods with high glycaemic indexes with the resultant increases in insulin levels, leads to a sudden drop in blood sugar as the insulin causes the body to absorb the sugar out of the blood stream. The sudden spike and sudden drop in blood sugar leads to a feeling of being unwell and hunger. Complex carbohydrates keep us full for longer by preventing blood sugar spikes and the fiber in oats slow the movement of digested food through the bowel.
     
  • Cancer - oats is active in combating the formation of different hormone dependant cancer, such as breast cancer. It is therefore an important food in reducing our risk of developing cancer.
     
  • Immune system - oats also has a prebiotic effect and enhances the body’s immune response, strengthening our bodies against the attacks of bacteria and viruses.
     
  • Skin disease - oats has been used for generations to sooth inflammatory and itching conditions of the skin. It is found in a multitude of skin products and has a natural anti-inflammatory action.
     
  • Coeliac disease - in many cases oats can be successfully introduced into the diets of people with coeliac disease as it is a grain that is gluten-free and does not irritate the gut, bringing a wholesome complex carbohydrate to the diets of people suffering from coeliac disease.
     
  • Asthma - oats combats the development of childhood asthma.

Dr  Adriaan Liebenberg, leading neurosurgeon and the author of The Brain Surgeon’s Diet comments: “I have spent many hours researching and understanding the health benefits of oats when developing the healthy lifestyle diet which is the concept behind The Brain Surgeon’s Diet."

"The health benefits of oats have the backing of the USA’s strict FDA (Food and Drug Administration), which recognises that, amongst other benefits, including food containing a certain amount of oat bran or rolled oats in a low-fat diet may reduce the risk of heart disease, as proven in extensive clinical trials."

In South Africa Tiger Brands, the producers of Jungle Oats, have been at the forefront of oats production and promoting its health benefits for many years.

Bernard Jansen, Senior Brand Manager Jungle Breakfast says: "As South Africa’s trusted family favourite for more than 80 years, Jungle Oats has always strived to understand and promote the health benefits of oats.”

Breakfast is well known as the most important meal of the day and is an easy option when it comes to  including oats in your family’s diet.  A healthy lifestyle however doesn’t stop after breakfast and we are committed to providing healthy, nutritious and convenient oats-based meal options, making it simple for families to make oats an integral part of their diets throughout the day and get the maximum health and energy benefits,” concludes Jansen.

Magna Carta press release

(Image: iStock)


(Health24, March 2011)

Read more:

Power up with whole grains
Breakfast - the most frequently missed meal

 
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