Uses, Benefits, and Side effects of Oats
Oats are a type of food grain belonging to the pulse family which has been produced since ancient times. Earlier, most of the raw crops of oats were used for animal feed but due to its medicinal properties and health benefits, most people nowadays use it as a food diet because it contains minerals like iron, carbohydrates, magnesium, calcium, protein, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin C and phosphorus. Its cultivation originated in Scotland and is used in almost all countries today. Oats are used as a staple food in Scotland. Apart from keeping the person healthy, its consumption also helps in getting rid of many diseases which is why it is still cultivated in countries like India, America, Germany and Russia. The scientific name of oats is Avena sativa and it belongs to the Poaceae family.
Benefits of Oats
For heart health-
According to a scientific report related to oats, a special element called beta-glucan is present in oats which works to reduce high BP by controlling increased cholesterol. At the same time, it also reduces the risks of heart disease due to problems related to the arteries. Therefore, oats are also considered beneficial for heart health.
To lose weight-
Consuming oats helps in controlling the increasing weight because oats contain elements like resistant starch, beta-glucan, polyphenols, dietary fibre, phytosterols and polysaccharides, etc. Due to the presence of these elements, the antiobesity (weight-reducing) effect is found in the properties of oats. At the same time, an element called beta-glucan (a type of soluble fibre) present in oats works to control appetite by which weight gain can be prevented. Therefore, it is beneficial to consume oats in your diet to reduce weight.
Consumption of oats increases the immunity of the body. Oats contain a substance called beta-glucan, which helps in reducing the glycemic effect and activating the effect of insulin. It also works to strengthen the immune system. Apart from this, consumption of oats encourages macrophages and neutrophils (both types of white blood cells), which are known to keep viruses, bacteria and fungus away. On this basis, oats are considered good for increasing physical immunity.
For digestive power and constipation-
According to research, soluble fibre attracts water and turns into a gel during digestion. This slows down the process of digestion. Oats are rich in soluble fibre, which is good for intestinal health. At the same time, oats have a laxative (relieves constipation) effect which works to relieve the problem of constipation. Apart from this, insoluble fibre is found in oats, which helps in excreting the digested food in the form of stool. Therefore, it is advised to consume oats to increase digestion power and to remove the problem of constipation.
Silicon is a mineral known to build and strengthen bones. A study found that oats contain good amounts of calcium, potassium, magnesium, silicon and protein, which are very important for bone development, therefore, the consumption of oats is beneficial for providing nutrition and strength to the bones.
To increase energy-
Oats contain vitamins, minerals and fibre. All these ingredients help in increasing the energy of the body. Therefore, by consuming it, the body does not feel tired.
Oats prove to be beneficial to overcome the problem of diabetes. In fact, oats are a good source of soluble fibre. Beta-glucans are found in this fibre which reduces the glycemic effect and works to activate the effect of insulin which helps in balancing the amount of sugar in the blood. Thus, the consumption of oats is beneficial for patients with diabetes.
Helpful in getting better sleep-
The benefits of eating oats also include getting better sleep. It is rich in magnesium and fibre, which improve serotonin(a chemical compound that works to improve mood) levels due to which the mind remains calm. As a result, you feel happy and this leads to good sleep. Apart from this, good amounts of vitamins B-6 and B-12 and folate are found in oats. All these elements work to keep the mind calm by removing anxiety, depression and stress.
Beneficial in pregnancy-
Calcium, iron and folic acid are very important in the body during pregnancy because iron is good for the physical and mental development of the fetus. Folic acid reduces the risks of birth defects in the baby. Calcium works to control preeclampsia (hypertension disorder) and diabetes in pregnant women, therefore, it is good for a woman to consume oats during pregnancy because calcium, iron and folic acid are found in sufficient quantity in oats.
For glowing skin-
Apart from physical health, the consumption of oats is also beneficial for the skin. Using oats with honey and lemon keeps the glow on the skin intact. It also brings moisture to the skin. Therefore, oats are very useful for people who have dryness or excessive itching and burning in their skin. In such a situation, make a paste by soaking a spoonful of oats in raw milk and apply this paste on the mouth, hands, feet or affected parts. Doing this makes the skin glow.
For hair fall-
Hair fall has become a common problem due to unhealthy lifestyle, hormonal imbalance and use of more chemical shampoos in the hair. Apart from this, malnutrition i.e. lack of essential vitamins and minerals in the body is also a major reason for hair loss. The consumption of oats proves beneficial as it contains a sufficient amount of iron, potassium, magnesium, and many such essential nutrients, which prevent hair fall. It also makes hair thick, soft and strong.
Uses of Oats
- Oats porridge (sweet or salty) is eaten as a snack.
- Oats are consumed in the form of soup.
- In many places, oats are eaten by making khichdi.
- It is also consumed by sprouting oat seeds.
Side effects of Oats
- Eating undercooked oats may lead to a blockage in the intestines which results in problems like upset stomach or constipation can arise.
- Since a high amount of fibre is found in oats, consuming it in excess can be harmful to the intestine and digestive system.
- If preservative chemicals have been used while preparing the packet of oats, it can be injurious to health.