The Mighty Oat

oatsWe all love a good oat. The foodstuff of Scotland and a breakfast favourite for generations. But what is it about the humble oat that makes it so special?

Oats, known scientifically as Avena sativa, are a hardy cereal grain able to withstand poor soil conditions in which other crops are unable to thrive. This meant it became a staple grain in many parts of northern Europe where growing conditions were not optimal.

There is a common misperception that oats contain gluten, but this in incorrect. They are roasted and milled in factories that nearly always process wheat, and for this reason oats often carry traces of gluten, but this is simply cross contamination, and oats are in fact, if handled correctly,  perfectly safe for ceoliacs and those with intolerances to gluten.

In some ways the oat is the poor cousin of the grain family, situated beneath rice and wheat in the pecking order. But in fact they are a fantastic source of energy, fibre and nutrition.

In terms of health benefits oats offer us a host of minerals and nutrients, all of which our bodies need to thrive. Did you know that 40 grams of oats offers us 96% of our daily requirement of manganese, 25% of vitamin b1, 17% of fibre and 14% of zinc.  And this is just a snapshot of what they have to offer.

Another significant health benefit involves the lowering of Cholesterol levels.  Oats contain a specific type of fibre known as beta-gluten, which has been proven to help lower total cholesterol levels. Consuming 3 grams of soluble oat fibre per day typically lowers cholesterol by 8-23%. This is highly significant since each 1% drop in serum cholesterol translates to a 2% decrease in the risk of developing heart disease.

In addition to the high fibre content of oats, new research from a study conducted at Tufts University and published in The Journal of Nutrition suggests that they may have another cardio-protective mechanism. Antioxidant compounds unique to oats, called avenanthramides, help prevent free radicals from damaging LDL cholesterol, thus reducing the risk of cardiovascular disesase.

Other significant health benefits include:

Enhanced immune response to infection and the atabilization of blood sugar levels.

In fact our love and admiration of the mighty oat is so great that we decided to reinvent the flapjack, to allow everyone to enjoy these benefits at any time of day.

Our flapjacks are made with gluten-free oats, virgin coconut oil and unrefined coconut palm sugar and come in three scrummy flavours: Original, Cacao & Date, and Inca Berry & Pumpkin Seed.

So what are you waiting for…better get your ‘oat’ on.

For more information on the health benefits of oats visit The World’s Healthiest Foods

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