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Feeling Your Oats

By Paul Rothbart

Grains are incredibly healthy, especially whole grains. One of the absolute best of these is oats. Loaded with vitamins, minerals, and fiber, oats have many health benefits while being a versatile and delicious food. Crushed, rolled, or steel cut are the best, as they are most intact and whole. In hot or cold cereal, or baked in a muffin, oats are a great way to start the day. For a little taste of something sweet, it's hard to beat an oatmeal raisin cookie. Here are some of the health benefits of oats. 

Loaded With Nutrition

Oats are very well balanced nutritionally. They are very high in fiber, including beta-glucan, an especially powerful fiber. Oats also contain more fiber than other grains and both Vitamin B1 and B5. They provide a significant percentage of the recommended daily allowance of iron, zinc, copper, magnesium, phosphorus, and manganese. Fair amounts of calcium, folate, and potassium are also found in oats. All of this will be a small amount of calories. 

Filled With Antioxidants

Whole oats contain many antioxidants including a group called avenanthramides that are found almost exclusively in oats. This antioxidant increases the production of nitric acid which can dilate blood vessels, improving blood flow and lowering blood pressure. Avenanthramides have also been shown to be anti-inflammatory and have anti-itching effects. Antioxidants are cancer fighters that combat the free radicals that damage body cells. 

Lower Cholesterol 

Whole oats are one of the most heart healthy foods there is, with their high fiber content. The beta-glucan fiber can increase the secretion of bile, which contains high levels of cholesterol. This reduces the amount of cholesterol in the bloodstream. Beta-glucan also helps prevent the oxidation of LDL or "bad" cholesterol. This is a great boost to reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke.  

Controlling Blood Sugar

Yet another disease whole oats are helpful in preventing is type 2 diabetes. This occurs when blood sugar levels are elevated often due to decreased insulin sensitivity. The wonder fiber, beta-glucan, can improve insulin sensitivity and keep blood sugar levels down. It can also slow the emptying of the stomach thus delaying the release of glucose into the blood. 

The best foods to include in the diet are the ones that have multiple health benefits. There are not many that can beat whole oats. Rich in nutrition, fiber, and antioxidants, they help fight cancer, heart attack, stroke, and diabetes. So grab an oat cereal, some oatmeal, or an oat bran muffin. Personally, I'm still going with the oatmeal raisin cookie. 

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Sacramento, Calif.

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