Meatless Monday: Oats for Your Brain, Blood Sugar and More


After a summer blogging break, it’s good to be back on Meatless Monday! Instead of the usual recipe, I’d like to share some information on a familiar food that offers a wide range of health benefits. It’s worth taking another look at this food that we may take for granted. Rich in calcium, iron, B-vitamins and other nutrients, oats and oatstraw (the stalks and leaves) offer medicinal properties. Please note that we’re talking about unrefined — not instant — oats! Here are some of the health benefits of oats:

Brain and Nerves

As  tincture or infusion, oatstraw appears to improve concentration, clarity of thinking and attention span. In her book Healing Wise, herbalist Susun Weed notes that oat baths and oatstraw infusions are longtime remedies for nervous and emotional stress associated with quitting smoking, and even childhood bedwetting and colic. Drink a cup of calming — though not sedating — infusion when your nerves are frayed, or at bedtime for a restful sleep.

Cardiovascular

Oats are probably best known fro their cardiovascular benefits. Numerous studies have shown the cholesterol-reducing, antioxidant heart benefits of this food. A 2007 Harvard study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that regular intake of whole grain breakfast cereals — such as oats — is associated with a lower risk of heart failure. Researchers have found this food to be especially beneficial to heart health in postmenopausal women.

Blood Sugar

If you have Type 2 diabetes or just want to maintain healthy blood sugar levels, you may want to include oats in your diet. The beta-glucan in oats appears to help prevent spikes in blood sugar, and the magnesium content promotes enzyme activity which aids insulin production. You can add cinnamon, which may improve blood sugar stability, to your serving of oatmeal.

Breast Health

Research suggests that fiber intake helps reduce a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer. Premenopausal women who had a daily intake of more than 30 grams of fiber were found to have a 52 percent lower risk of developing breast cancer. In one study, researchers found that fruits and whole grains, such as oats, ofter the best protection. Fresh fruit and whole grain cereals are a classic breakfast combination.

Recipes and More…

For more details on the benefits of oats:

World’s Healthiest Foods: Oats

University of Illinois Extension: Enjoy Oatmeal for Your Health

 
Recipes (other than hot cereal) which include oats…

Eating Well: Healthy Oat Recipes and Cooking Tips

Have a wonderful week…be well and be blessed!


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