Oats are scientifically known as Avena sativa….a type of cereal grain primarily grown for their edible seeds, which are commonly consumed by humans and used as livestock feed. Although, there are numerous benefits to eating oats that outweigh the potential downsides, it is important to practice portion control for a healthy diet and fitness routine. Let’s look at the 5 main benefits of eating oats first:

  1. Improved Heart Health

    Oats contain beta-glucan, a soluble fiber that has been shown to effectively lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and total cholesterol levels.

  2. Better Blood Sugar Control

    The beta-glucan fiber in oats can help improve insulin sensitivity and delay the absorption of glucose into the bloodstream which is beneficial for managing type 2 diabetes.

  3. Increased Feelings of Fullness

    The soluble fiber in oats can increase feelings of fullness and satiety, which may aid in weight management.

  4. Digestive Health Benefits

    The insoluble fiber in oats can increase stool bulk and promote regular bowel movements.

  5. Nutrient-Dense

    Oats are a good source of various vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, including manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, iron, zinc, folate, and vitamin B1.

The potential downsides of eating oats are possible digestive issues, blood sugar spikes, and gluten contamination. Eating oats is generally not considered bad for you, but there are a few potential downsides to be aware of:

  1. Bloating, gas, and abdominal discomfort

    High fiber content can cause digestive issues
    especially for those with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or other gastrointestinal issues.

  2. Potential Blood Sugar Spikes

    Oats can cause blood sugar spikes as it is rich in carbs… especially if consumed in large portions or with added sugar and can be a concern for people trying to manage their blood sugar levels.

  3. Risk of Gluten Contamination

    While oats are naturally gluten-free, they can become contaminated with gluten during processing or transportation. People with celiac disease or gluten intolerance should search for certified gluten-free oats in ordcer to avoid potential health issues.

  4. Added Sugars and Unhealthy Toppings

    Plain, unsweetened oats are relatively healthy. Be sure to read the labels carefully as some  of the many flavored oatmeal packets contain brown sugar, honey, and cream that  adds significant amounts of sugar, saturated fat, and calories.

For most people, the potential benefits of eating oats, such as their fiber, protein, and nutrient content  outweigh the potential downside.

Insiders Health Tip:

Eat oats in moderation and choose plain, unsweetened oats with healthy toppings to help minimize any negative effects.

If people are unfortunate to experience any of the negative side effects then look for gluten-free and allergy-friendly substitutes that can still be part of a healthy diet foods.  Here are some of the best alternatives:

1. Quinoa

Quinoa is a highly nutritious pseudo-grain  rich in protein, fiber, and essential vitamins and minerals. It can be cooked similarly to oats and used in recipes such as porridge, granola, or baked goods.

2. Rice Flakes

Rice flakes, also known as flattened rice, are a gluten-free alternative to oats. and have a mild flavor that can be used in recipes like porridge, breakfast bars, or crispy treats.

3. Millet

Millet is a gluten-free ancient grain that has a nutty flavor with a light texture . It is high in protein, fiber, and various nutrients, making it suitable for dishes like porridge, grits, pilafs, salads, or baked goods.

4. Buckwheat

It is not a type of wheat and is naturally gluten-free with na nutty flavor. Buckwheat groats can be cooked and used in recipes similar to oats. It has a nutty flavor and is high in B vitamins, fiber, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc.

5. Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are rich in fiber, calcium, protein, and antioxidants and can be added to smoothies or mixed with yogurt. It can also be one of the best healthy foods to eat, useful for replacing bread crumbs in meatballs and burgers.

6. Flaxseed Meal

Flaxseed meal is high in protein and fiber and can be used as a substitute for oats in various recipes.

7. Amaranth

Amaranth is another gluten-free pseudo-grain that is high in protein, calcium, iron, and fiber. Try toasting it before cooking to bring out its nutty flavor and use it as a creamy hot breakfast cereal.

Choosing certified gluten-free oats or  using the alternatives described above offers numerous health benefits that outweigh the potential drawbacks.

 

References:

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/foods/oats

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4325078/

Food and its Uses: Oats

Oats

https://foodrevolution.org/blog/oats/

Oatmeal Pros and Cons According To A Dietitian

https://www.eatthis.com/reason-shouldnt-eat-oatmeal/

https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-814/oats

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/9-benefits-oats-oatmeal

 

 

Is Oatmeal Good For You?

Best Oat Substitutes for Oatmeal (Gluten-Free Alternatives)

How to substitute for oats in baking

Recipe FAQ

https://naturesplus.com/blogs/recipes/alternatives-to-oatmeal

 

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