The medicinal value of oats has been recognized and documented for thousands of years. Dating back more than 2000 years ago, records describe oats as a “healing agent, desiccant for the skin, a cough reliever, and a natural food for horses, that was used by humans when resources were scarce”. Prior to the 19th century, the only areas where oats were a significant part of the human diet were Ireland and Scotland. It is the Scottish settlers that are credited with bringing “oatmeal” to North America, but it was a German immigrant that brought it from the medicine cabinet to the table as a popular breakfast cereal with its “stick to your ribs” reputation.
If you’ve ever made a warm bowl of oatmeal for breakfast, you have most likely experienced its gooey, gummy texture. The gumminess comes from, a soluble fiber found in oats, known as beta glucan. While all whole cereal grains contain both soluble and insoluble fiber, oats (and barley) are higher than most in beta glucans.
Numerous studies show that the beta glucans found in oats and barley, help to lower cholesterol, improve insulin response, boost the immune system, reduce the risk of infection, and restore the activity of the friendly gut organisms.
In addition to the healing qualities of oats, they are a delicious and versatile food – so enjoy some today – in a cookie, granola, bread or as a bowl of warm oatmeal. Oats are naturally gluten free so are an excellent grain choice for those with compromised gut function. Those with celiac disease or severe gluten sensitivities would want to make sure the oats are processed in a dedicated gluten free facility to avoid cross contamination with other grains.
A bowl of Warming Winter Chai Tea Oatmeal may be just what the doctor should order. Warm and satisfying infused with just the right hint of spices, this is winter comfort at its best.
What’s so good about oats? – Everything!