What is Oatmeal?
Avena sativa or oats is a whole-grain cereal that is a popular breakfast choice for people world over. They are annual grass like wheat. In its natural form, oats are fed to livestock, but when they are rolled, crushed, ground, or steel-cut, they are consumed by humans. Oats are usually boiled with water or milk, and the resulting dish is known as oatmeal. The most popular topping is fruit and sugar in oatmeal all over the world. With increasing demands to make oats palatable in forms other than its usual porridge self, people have come up with innovative ways to add them to one’s diet. So idlis, dosas, uttapams, cookies, cakes, pies, and smoothies made from oats are gaining more popularity over time.
Nutritional Value of Oats:
100 grams of oats provide around 389 calories of energy. Oats are rich in essential nutrients and minerals like thiamine, zinc, magnesium, iron, manganese, phosphorus, and selenium. A bowl of oatmeal provides a substantial part of the body’s daily requirement of fibre, essential fatty acids, vitamin E, and protein.
12 Health Benefits of Eating Oats Every day:
Oats contain the soluble fibre, beta-glucan. White blood cells ( WBCs ), warriors of our immune system have special receptors for the absorption of beta-glucan. Beta-glucan stimulates WBCs and helps them fight off infections. 
Beta-glucans also make the body more sensitive to antibiotics and accelerates healing of wounds. Beta-glucans also enhance the activity of macrophages, neutrophils and natural killer cells to fight a variety of infections caused by fungi, bacteria, viruses and parasites. 
Zinc and selenium in oats also help in fighting infections. 
Oats help fight off respiratory infections, and research has found that those babies who start eating oats earlier are protected against childhood asthma. 
Read More: 7 Ways to Boost Immunity
Lowers Blood Sugar Levels:
Oats are rich in beta-glucan, a potent soluble fibre that helps to keep the glycemic index low when consumed regularly. The high fibre content of oats improves insulin sensitivity and reduces postprandial glucose levels. 
Read More: 10 Foods That Are Good For Diabetics
Improves Heart Health:
Oats are rich in antioxidants and are full of fibre. These antioxidants improve the health of the heart by fighting off free radicals. 
Beta-glucan, a soluble fibre in oats reduces total serum and LDL or bad cholesterol levels by limiting the absorption of dietary cholesterol in the intestine. This, in turn, reduces the risk of coronary heart disease. 
Read More: 8 Different Types of Heart Diseases
Good for our Digestive System:
Oats are beneficial for our digestive system. They are rich in soluble fibre that increases the time the food spends in the intestines. This fibre cleans the gut as it travels through it. 
They are also full of insoluble fibre that helps consolidate stool, adds weight to it and thus regulates bowel movement and relieves constipation. 
Moreover, oats help prevent colorectal cancer apart from treating constipation. 
Reduces risk of Cancer:
Oats are rich in lignans that fight off cancer-related to hormonal disturbances like ovarian, breast, and prostate cancer.
In conjugation with vitamin C and the abundant antioxidants present, oats help to combat free radicals that cause cancer. 
Oatmeal is rich in avenanthramides, unique compounds that fight inflammation and harness the maniacal growth of cancer cells without having any harmful effect on the healthy cells. 
Reduces Hypertension & Stress:
Consumption of oats reduces the risk of developing hypertension ( high blood pressure). The soluble fibre in this healthy cereal helps to clean up the arteries and veins and shows tremendous benefits in those who already suffer from high blood pressure. 
A staple diet of oats also reduces dependence on medications for hypertension.
Oats are also comfort food. They cut the number of stress hormones in the body and increase serotonin, the hormone that produces a sense of wellbeing and happiness. 
Helpful in Weight Loss:
Oats are rich in fibre that fills up the tummy quicker than non-fibre breakfasts. They also lead to a slow release of glucose in the blood, and this keeps one satiated for a long time and prevents binge-eating. 
People who eat oats regularly tend to have a stable weight and are less vulnerable to obesity. Oats also fight off abdominal fat. 
However, choose plain oats rather than the pre-packaged flavoured ones as they are full of sugar that can hamper weight loss plans.
Read More: 8 Exercises That Help With Weight Loss
Good for the Skin:
Oats are rich in zinc that is important for fighting off pimples. 
Oats help to absorb the excess oil on the skin and are an essential part of acne treatments. They also help to treat dry and itchy skin as the beta-glucans help to moisturize the skin. 
Oats also work as an efficient anti-tanning agent and help lighten the skin tone.
Read More: 7 Home Remedies for Glowing Skin
Good for the Hair:
Oatmeal has unexpected benefits for the hair as well. It treats an itchy scalp and absorbs extra oil. Oats are also a good solution to the dandruff problem. Read more about the home remedies for dandruff.
When applied over areas that are experiencing hair loss, oats work wonders as they strengthen hair follicles and prevent hair damage.  Oats masks moisturize the scalp and make it silky and shiny.
Improves Bone Health:
Oats are rich in silicon that is important for skeletal health. 
Thus, women with postmenopausal osteoporosis benefit significantly from eating oats regularly.
Read More: 10 Foods for Strong & Healthy Bones
Oats are rich in carbohydrates, and this makes them an ideal breakfast option. The high amounts of B vitamins are another reason why oats boost the energy levels in the body. 
Since the fibre component is high, oats keep you feel fuller for longer, and you face less of the energy dumps.
Read More: 9 Energy Giving Foods to Add too Your Diet
Improves the Quality of Sleep:
Eating oats help in the production of melatonin, which is essential for sleeping. 
They also release serotonin that helps you feel relaxed and reduces stress. Oats have Tryptophan, an amino acid that has sedative properties.
Different Forms in Which Oats Are Available:
- Rolled or Old-fashioned Oats
- Groat Oats
- Oat Bran
- Steel-cut or Irish Oats
- Scottish Oats
- Quick or Instant Oats
- Oats Flour
The Best Form of Oats:
- Steel-cut oats are the best form of oats because:
- They are made by chopping oat grains using steel blades, thus keeping the bran, endosperm and germ intact.
- They are the least processed form of oats.
- They have maximum nutritional value.
Choose a bowl of oats over any other type of breakfast to reap the innumerable benefits of oats. Have in the form of sweet or savoury oatmeal and add toppings of your choice to keep your taste buds tingling.