Oats are a low GI food and are naturally gluten free. They are not related to grains containing gluten like rye, barley or wheat.
Unfortunately, though they can sometimes be contaminated with wheat when they’re processed or grown. They can be consumed as part of a gluten free diet if they originate from sources that guarantee that the oats have been uncontaminated through the process. There are specific brands of oats out there that are pure.
Research has shown that adding gluten free oats incorporated into a gluten-free diet can help provide our recommended daily fiber intake for individuals who deal with celiac disease. Adding oats to a gluten free diet can also help increase antioxidant levels and improve nutritional values.
Below are some of the benefits of oats:
- Oats help reduce high blood pressure. People with high blood pressure, who added oats to their diet, had a significant reduction in blood pressure.
- Beta Glucans found in oats can help boost the immune system against bacteria viruses, fungi and parasites.
- A higher intake of whole-grains like oats has been associated with a reduced progression of coronary artery disease, in those individuals already established with coronary artery disease.
- Studies have shown that eating a high fibre meal for breakfast such as oats can help us maintain a healthy weight. Oats have one of the lowest GI indices of any breakfast meals, helping us to feel fuller for longer. Researchers have also found a significant correlation between higher oat beta-glucan levels and higher levels of a hormone associated with appetite control.
- Researchers have identified a substance in oats called beta-glucan that significantly reduces LDL cholesterol. For those people who deal with high cholesterol levels, having the equivalent of 3 grams of oat fibre per day can help reduce cholesterol levels by up to 25%. There are 3 grams of oat fibre in just 1 bowl of oats. In total, there are over forty studies, which confirm that oats can help to reduce LDL cholesterol.
- A number of studies demonstrate that people who eat high levels of oats have from 28–61% less risk of type 2 Diabetes, to people with the lowest whole grain consumption. One particular study showed that people with Type 2 Diabetes who ate foods high in oat fibre, also had a much lesser increase in blood sugar, compared to those who ate bread or rice.
Finally, participants who consumed foods that contained oat beta-glucan in a recent controlled clinical study also showed improvements in insulin sensitivity. Oats are a low GI food and will help keep us fuller for longer.