Oats, which was a relatively new food and concept for Indian until a few years back, has now been integrated well within the Indian lifestyle. With all kinds of easy options to choose and cook with, one can tap very well into the nutrition that oats have to offer. Nutritionist and lifestyle educator Karishma Chawla highlights some important points regarding oats, it’s nutrition and ways of consuming them.
Oats are classified as complex carbs, rich in fibre. They are beneficial in many chronic diseases. Oats are richer in protein as compared to other grains.
- It highly valued for its content of soluble fibre, which helps to reduce LDL cholesterol in the blood.
- The soluble fibre in oats also reduces the glycaemic index of foods and can improve postprandial glycemic and insulinemic responses.
- It is also a good source of selenium, tocotrienols, avenanthramides and tocopherols, all antioxidants which help protect against oxidative stress.
- These also known to have anti-inflammatory and anti-proliferative properties exhibiting a protective role against coronary heart disease, colon cancer and skin irritation.
- Being gluten-free, it can be consumed by individuals with celiac disease and wheat sensitivities.
- Also, a good source of magnesium again helps in blood sugar balance. And is a great food for fat loss.
Tip: Use oats in any form you like, sweet or savoury.
1. Types Of Oats
2. Nutritional Value of Oats
3. Oats Nutrition: Caution
4. Best Meal To Have Oats For Maximum Nutrition
5. Smart Cooking For Oats Nutrition
6. Oat Milk For Nutrition
7. Oats Nutrition: Quick And Easy Upma
8. Oats Nutrition: FAQs
Types Of Oats
Chawla says that oats are dehulled, then warmed and cooled to stabilise and enhance the shelf life of the oat groats (the seed inside the husk). Heating imparts a nutty flavour to the oats. Oat groats are whole grains mainly composed of the endosperm, rich in fibre and nutritious germ. Groats are flattened and boiled before consumption to remove the bitter taste. Groats are processed into rolled oats after steaming and flattening (oat flakes or oatmeal flour). The groats can also be cut into small pieces before being steamed and rolled. The product is called quick cooking rolled oats. Instant oatmeal is precooked and dried and usually, a sweetener and some flavouring may be added.
- Rolled oats or old-fashioned oats are oat groats that have gone through a steaming and flattening process. They have a milder flavour and softer texture and take less time to make than steel-cut oats as they have been partially cooked. They take around two to three minutes to prepare.
- Steel cut oats are closely related to unprocessed oat groats. To prepare steel-cut oats, the groats are chopped into pieces with large steel blades. These have a coarser, chewier texture and nuttier flavour than rolled or quick oats. The average cooking time is around 15 to 30 minutes.
- Quick oats are rolled oats that go through further processing to decrease cooking time. They are partially cooked by steaming and then rolled even thinner than old fashioned oats and cook within a few minutes.
Tip: Stock up on rolled oats or quick oats for times when you are simply in a rush.
Nutritional Value of Oats
“The nutritional value of 100g of raw oats would be 16.9g proteins, 66.3g carbs, 0g sugar 6.9g fat, totalling about 389 calories,” Chawla informs.
Tip: Eat the oats preparation fresh to have your body benefit maximum from the nutrition.
Oats Nutrition: Caution
Can overuse of oats in one’s diet cause problems? What kind of problems? Chawla says, “The only red flag in oat consumption is ‘individual sensitivity’ to it. Hence here the emphasis is on the concept of bio-individuality, which means to each to its own.” Thus, each person needs to figure out whether the oats are suiting her or not. She also mentions that the usual complaint is bloating and flatulence if oats don’t agree with someone’s body.
Tip: Overall oat consumption has been advised in cardiovascular disease, diabetes, certain cancers, poor immune system, to improve bowel health and during menopause.
Best Meal To Have Oats For Maximum Nutrition
Chawla says they are best eaten as breakfast food. It helps with stabilising blood sugar levels, reduces cravings and provides satiety value.
Tip: Oats can be consumed as oats upma with veggies, oats porridge with skim milk with healthy nuts, cinnamon and fruits for flavouring or as oats chilla.
Smart Cooking For Oats Nutrition
We asked Chawla, there are a lot of recipes floating out there which combine oats with other flours or semolina. Is that a good idea? She says, “Smart cooking is like a creativity boost. I am always in for great recipes that can help bring about variety in the meal plan. Having said, that it must be combined with another complex carb. Combining with a simple carb lowers its benefits and would be a dip in cooking wisdom.”
Tip: So go right ahead, mix your oats with semolina for a variety of dishes, especially a breakfast uttapam.
Oat Milk For Nutrition
Chawla informs us that oat milk is made by soaking, blending, and straining oats. It is enriched with nutrients and naturally free of allergens. Oat milk has more calories, carbs and fibre than almond, soy and cow milk and less protein than soy and dairy. Consumption of oat milk is completely based on bio-individuality and is goal dependent.
Tip: If you do not find oat milk in the market, you can make your own. Find the recipe here.
Oats Nutrition: Quick And Easy Upma
This recipe, which is incidentally Chawla’s favourite, is one that is easy to rustle up and preserves the nutrition of oats.
Oats Upma With Veggies
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup veggies of your choice, like carrots, French beans and peas
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 pinch hing
½ tsp jeera powder
1 tsp oil
Salt to taste
1. Heat the oil and sauté the onions, garlic, hing and jeera powder.
2. Add the veggies stir, add water and steam still the veggies are tender, about seven to 10 minutes.
3. Add the oats, add more water as required and cook until the mixture is soft and the consistency you like. It should take three to five minutes.
4. Enjoy hot!
Tip: You can add a dash of lime and fresh coriander leaves to enhance the taste. You can also ass mustard seeds to your oil.
Oats Nutrition: FAQs
Q. Why should Indians consider eating oats regularly?
A. Chawla mentions that a common thought is that oats do not fit in our daily culture of cooking where other grains have a better following. “People shy away, saying it’s a diet food and we can’t follow this for life. Due to its benefits in many diseases, they are becoming popular in India. Considering their benefits and diverse consumption options, I would say it is a superfood (meaning nutrient dense) and a must-try for everyone.”
Q. I do not like sweet oats. What other options do I have?
A. You can make oats upma as suggested by Chawla. Other than that there are many options like savoury oats porridge, oats idli, oats dosa, oats chilla, oats and vegetable cutlets, and you can even roast oats chivda with nuts and spices and store for times when you feel peckish.