Healthsomeness Written Logo

Oats

This article is part of a larger article titled "100+ Healthiest Foods On Planet Earth."  Read it here.

Oats Nutritional Information (per 100g)

Water: 8.2 g
Calories: 389 kcal
Protein: 16.9 g
Carbohydrate: 66.3 g
Dietary fiber: 10.6 g
Fat: 6.9 g
Saturated fat: 1.2 g
Monounsaturated fat: 2.2 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 2.5 g
Vitamin B1: 0.8 mg
Vitamin B2: 0.1 mg
Vitamin B3: 1 mg
Vitamin B6: 0.1 mg
Vitamin B9: 56 μg
Calcium: 54 mg
Iron: 4.7 mg
Magnesium: 177 mg
Phosphorus: 523 mg
Potassium: 429 mg
Sodium: 2 mg
Zinc: 4 mg

Perhaps tied only with quinoa for the title of the healthiest grain, oats are a fantastic way to get in your complex carbohydrates, important for energy throughout the day.

Not only that, but oats have a huge variety of health benefits including lowering cholesterol, boosting immunity, and lowering your risk of fatal cardiovascular disease.

Nutritionally, oats are a very healthy way of getting your complex carbohydrates. 100g of oats contains 389 calories (your breakfast oats will vary depending on preparation and so on). But for those 389 calories, you get 44% of your daily value of dietary fibre, essential for good digestion, and a surprising 34% DV of protein, which will help with satiety and weight loss.

In addition, oats are high in two essential minerals with some fantastic benefits for your health. 100g contains 44% DV of magnesium, which is great for cardiovascular health (you’ll be reading much more about oats and cardiovascular benefits below), and 26% DV of iron, essential for warding off tiredness and maintaining mental performance.

Oats also have a huge range of health benefits. Like mushrooms, they are high in compounds called beta-glucans, a soluble fibre with huge benefits for cardiovascular health and the immune system, in addition to possible broad anti-cancer benefits.

Firstly, beta-glucans are excellent for cardiovascular health: they have been linked with cholesterol reduction, and both prevent and help treat obesity and metabolic syndrome.

Secondly, beta-glucans are great for the immune system. As this review notes, beta-glucans stimulate the immune system, decreasing your likelihood of contracting certain diseases. An increased resistance to biological agents can only be a good thing for your long term health.

In addition, it is not just beta-glucans in general, but oat beta-glucans specifically, that have an extremely strong scientific backing for their efficacy.

For example, this review is a good example of the broad benefits of oat beta-glucans: ‘intake is beneficial in the prevention, treatment, and control of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases …  [and] can stimulate immune functions … which will improve resistance to cancer and infectious and parasitic diseases’.

Beyond even these fantastic benefits for your health, oats have a number of unique benefits. They have unique antioxidants called avenanthramides that have a number of proven advantages: they combat the development of atherosclerosis, a major risk factor for a number of deadly cardiovascular diseases.

We may even know the mechanisms by which avenanthramides exert their health benefits. In addition, these substances may have potential benefits when it comes to preventing colon cancer, although more research is likely needed.

Finally, oats have been studied independently of their individual compounds and found to have even more health benefits to those listed above.

One study found that having whole grain cereals for breakfast significantly decreased the risk of heart failure (we didn’t say oats were great to have for breakfast for nothing!).

Oats have also been linked to a reduced risk of childhood asthma, post-menopausal breast cancer and type 2 diabetes, to name a few. In addition, unsurprisingly in light of their cardiovascular benefits, eating oats has been linked to a reduction in mortality for those suffering from type 2 diabetes.