A great source of important vitamins, minerals, fibre and antioxidants, oats provide a number of health benefits, including improved heart health and weight loss, just to name a few. But if you’re not a fan of plain old oats, or you ate a lot of porridge growing up, it’s probably been a while since you last whipped up some for breakfast or used them in a recipe.
That’s why Starts at 60 spoke to Brisbane-based nutritionist Alessandra Trovato and Uncle Tobys ambassador and MasterChef star Hayden Quinn to find out not just why oats are so good for you but also how to easily include them in your diet.
Alessandra says oats contain a number of good-for-you vitamins, including vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant that helps repair damaged cells and B vitamins, which are essential for various functions within the body. They’re also rich in soluble fibre and carbohydrates, which can help keep you full between meals — and can ultimately lead to weight loss. “This can help reduce overeating,” she says.
Oats are also good for your heart. How? Well, according to Alessandra, eating oats can lower cholesterol levels, which could prevent cardiovascular disease. Meanwhile, a study published by the American Heart Association found people who ate a diet rich in oats had lower blood pressure and reduced blood levels of cholesterol. High blood pressure and high cholesterol are risk factors for heart attack and stroke.
Apart from whipping up porridge every time, Hayden says this versatile grain can be prepared in a number of ways. “Oats are a great way to add extra whole grains and fibre into your diet,” he says, adding that they work well in a slice or loaf.
He also loves adding a handful of oats to baked muffins (sweet or savoury), banana bread or tarts. And if you’re after something a bit more savoury Hayden recommends throwing in some spices like chilli or Turmeric into the mix, with an egg and wrapping it into a tortilla — delicious!
On the other hand, if you are a porridge fan, Hayden recommends playing around with different combinations, whether that be adding fresh raspberries, a dollop of raspberry jam, dried fruits such as dates or figs to the bowl while balancing it out with some cocoa powder or nut butter.
“Topping your oats with your favourite nut butter is a great way to add flavour and also texture to your morning bowl,” he says.
And according to Hayden, the trick to making the perfect bowl of porridge comes down to technique. If you’re cooking on the stove, he recommends using 1/2 cup of oats and 1 cup of water or milk and heating it up on low for four minutes. And if you prefer your porridge a little softer, he says to keep stirring for another few minutes.
Need some inspiration? Here’s a delicious banana bread recipe from Uncle Tobys developed with Hayden.
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