Food – Wonderful World of Oats

Oats are such a simple grain but yet so filled with wonderful nutrition for our bodies. The following is a little bit of history you might find interesting about simple oats.

“If it weren’t for horses, we probably wouldn’t even know about oats, to say nothing of the great health benefits they provide. When horses were introduced in various parts of the world, oats went along as their feed. Not surprisingly, however, humans were a bit reluctant to take a taste. Samuel Johnson’s 1755 Dictionary of the English Language defined oats as ‘a grain which in England is generally given to horses, but which in Scotland supports the people.’ It seems the Scotts were ahead of their time.

“Oats are a very healthy grain. For one thing, unlike wheat, barley, and other grains, processed oats retain the bran and germ layers, which is where most of the nutrients reside. … Studies show that getting more oats in the diet not only lowers total cholesterol but, more encouragingly, lowers the bad low-density lipoprotein (LD) cholesterol while leaving the beneficial high-density lipoprotien cholesterol alone. …

“Although all grains contain a little fat, oats contain quite a bit. For example, a half-cup serving of oatmeal has a little more than 1 gram of fat … while oats are somewhat high in fat, almost 80 percent of the fat is the heart-healthy, unsaturated kind. …

“An additional benefit is the soluble fiber in oats. Because it soaks up lots of water, it creates a feeling of fullness. This means that when you eat oats, you feel satisfied longer and so are more likely to eat less, which is good news for anyone who’s trying to lose weight.

“Eat for convenience. Unlike many foods, in which the processed versions are often the least nutritious, oats retain their goodness in different forms. So when time is an issue, go ahead and enjoy quick oats. They provide just as many vitamins and minerals as the traditional, slower-cooking kind. Keep in mind, however, that quick oats do contain more sodium than their slower-cooking kin.

“For protein, take your pick. Both rolled oats and oat bran are good sources of protein. One cup of cooked oat bran contains 7 grams, 14 percent of the Daily Value (DV), while a serving of rolled oats has 6 grams, 12 percent of the DV.”

Excerpts from The Doctors Book of Food Remedies, Prevention Health Books, Rodale, 374-378.


Yummy Banana Oat Bars

Serves: 8

2 cups quick-cooking rolled oats (not instant) 2 large ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut 3/4 cup finely chopped apple
1/2 cup raisins or chopped dates 2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl until well combined. Press into a 9-by-9-inch baking pan and bake for 30 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. When cool, cut into squares or bars.