The health benefits of eating oats

Oats food is preferred as part of breakfast in many parts of the world today. This is because it is highly nutritious with high fibre dietary content among many other vital functions in our health.
Dr. Joseph Kamugisha
Dr. Joseph Kamugisha

Oats food is preferred as part of breakfast in many parts of the world today. This is because it is highly nutritious with high fibre dietary content among many other vital functions in our health.

Oats are cereals but do possess high concentration levels of well-balanced proteins than other cereals.

They contain high value food nutrients that offer protection against chronic diseases such as cancer, heart diseases among others.

Oats contain a good balance of essential fatty acids that are linked to general good health. They do possess the best amino acid properties than any grain.

Amino acids are essential proteins that help facilitate optimum functioning of the body. Oats are a good source of essential vitamins such as thiamin, folic acid and vitamin E. They also contain essential minerals such as zinc, iron and magnesium.

Oats meal is highly recommended for people carrying out regular exercise due to its nutritious value in body regeneration especially on energy building aspect.

Many patients recovering from gastro-intestinal surgery procedures are normally advised to feed on oats as it facilitates bowel movement.

Due to its high dietary fibre with soluble and insoluble fibres, oats meal makes the weight of stool in the large intestines heavier and this facilitates bowel contractions or movements. Therefore a patient is able to eliminate stool as soon as it is formed. This is also the basis of use of oats in protection against constipation.

Oats contain many chemical nutrients that are thought to prevent or reduce a person’s risk of suffering from cancer at some stage in life.

For example chemical nutrient known as lignans found in oats plant reduce risk of diseases and cancers related to hormones. They have been seen to reduce the risk of breast cancer, prostate cancer, endometrial cancer and ovarian cancer. These are cancers whose occurrence depends on hormonal illnesses in the body.

For breast cancer, proven studies by medical scientists revealed that women with high intake of dietary fibres possess lower circulating estrogen levels associated with lower risk of breast cancer.

The insoluble fibres in oats are also thought to reduce carcinogens in the gastrointestinal tract especially in the colon where dietary fibres play a vital role.

The soluble fibre in whole oats meal has been seen to reduce hypertension or lower high blood pressure in many high risk hypertensive patients.

This also helps reduce dependence on anti-hypertensive drugs for longer periods. Some anti-hypertensive drugs are very toxic and can affect the kidney or increase blood sugars.

Therefore a patient with hypertension is recommended to take a portion of the oats at least daily. However, oats are not recommended to diabetic patients.

Obese people are advised to feed on soluble fibre of oats for weight reduction. It increases the viscosity of stomach and small intestines contents.

The formed gel makes people feel less hungry as the gel takes a long time to leave the stomach and intestines. It reduces the urge to take in more food and therefore helps people to cut weight. This works best in young people below the age of 19-years at least.

The oats have been found to have chemical nutrients that regulate cholesterol levels in blood and help to prevent occurrence of cholesterol related heart diseases.

Beta-glucagon is a chemical nutrient and soluble fibre found in the oats food.

This soluble nutrient lowers cholesterol levels effectively by trapping some substances related to cholesterol in the gastro-intestinal tract. Such substances trapped by the Beta-glucagon include cholesterol rich bile acids.

When the cholesterol rich bile acids are trapped; it reduces absorption of cholesterol into the blood stream.

Again, oats is one of the best sources of a chemical nutrient known as the tocotrienols. They inhibit cholesterol synthesis and have been found to lower blood cholesterol in so many patients.

Dr.Joseph Kamugisha is a resident oncologist based in Jerusalem, Israe