Next to my morning smoothie, I always recommend oats as a healthy breakfast staple — and a mainstay of a nourishing and satisfying plant-based diet.
Oats are one of the most commonly eaten types of whole grains in the United States. They’re the small, cream-colored, and oval-shaped grains removed from the cereal plant Avena Sativa. In addition to foods (and now oat milk), you’ll find oats in herbal tinctures, skin care products like face wash and body lotion (did you ever add powdered oats to your bath to soothe the itching of a skin rash?) and animal feed.
Besides all these amazing uses, here are 4 great benefits:
1. May help balance your blood sugar.
Eating oats has been shown to help control high blood sugar, a symptom of type 2 diabetes that can cause cardiovascular disease, neuropathy, and kidney damage if uncontrolled.
2. May help you lose weight.
Researchers concluded that oats are an optimal whole grain choice for overweight individuals, especially those with diabetes. Why? They hypothesized it was largely due to the oat beta-glucans, which may improve meal heartiness, reduce starch digestion, and increase satiety to help prevent overeating.
3. May help lower high cholesterol.
You might have seen “heart healthy” labels on oatmeal and oat products at the grocery store. It turns out, this is more than just a food industry marketing ploy. Oats contains soluble fiber, which reduces your low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, the “bad” cholesterol.
4. May be good for brain health.
Whole grains like oatmeal are a good source of vitamin E, which is a potent antioxidant that protects cells from oxidative damage. Vitamin E has been extensively studied for its potential neurological benefits. In fact, researchers have found that decreasing levels of vitamin E in the blood are associated with poor memory performance and levels of vitamin E tend to be lower among individuals with Alzheimer’s disease.
Check out this simple recipe for overnight oats. Carrot cake for breakfast? You bet!
Carrot Cake Overnight Oats
It takes 5 minutes to prepare and the magic happens while you sleep. The fun happens when you wake up and get to indulge in this tasty and nutritious oat recipe.
1 cup organic dry rolled oats
1 cup plant-based milk (unsweetened)
1 carrot (shredded)
2 T. organic raisins
2 T. walnuts (chopped)
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground ginger
1 dash ground nutmeg
Coconut flakes (optional, unsweetened, to taste)
- In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients.
- Divide the oatmeal mixture between 2 mason jars or bowls.
- Refrigerate overnight and then enjoy!
Lastly, in addition to oatmeal and porridge, you can use oats as a substitute for flour in baking recipes, like breads and muffins. You can also use them to add nutrients and help homemade veggie burgers stick together. Oats are a great addition to homemade granola and granola bars, as well as desserts like crisps and crumbles. Soaked oats can go into smoothies, too, adding fiber, vitamins, and minerals with very little flavor impact.