Oats, whether consumed as a porridge, in a granola bar, or in Smootch’s plant based electrolyte drink, are a delicious, nutrient-dense whole grain. We’ll be sharing the answers to common questions regarding oats and their role in lifestyle nutrition.
Where do oats come from?
The oat plant (Avena sativa) originated from Europe, where it was first cultivated 2000 years ago, but is today grown throughout the world. As of 2013, the top ten oats producing countries were Russia, Canada, Poland, Finland, Australia, United States, Spain, United Kingdom, Sweden, and Germany, with annual oat production totaling 20.73 million tons .
We are proud to say that the organic oats found in every can of Smootch are sourced from Aurora Mills and Farms in Maine.
What nutritional benefits do oats provide?
Oats are a popular staple around the world not only because of their versatility and flavor, but also because of their excellent nutritional value and extensive health benefits. Oats are a balanced source of macronutrients—a ½ cup serving of raw oats (40g) provides 4.4g quality protein, 27.4g slow-burning carbohydrates, 4g fiber, 2.6g fat, and a wide variety of vitamins and minerals. Additionally, recent research has demonstrated their ability to lower LDL cholesterol, improve blood sugar management, stabilize blood pressure, increase satiety, and provide nature made immune support, due to their fiber and antioxidant content.
The endosperm of the oat grain is a significant source of beta-glucan, a type of soluble, prebiotic fiber. Beta-glucan fiber attracts water, forming a viscous solution in the gut, resulting in several purported benefits: decreased LDL cholesterol and blood pressure, reduced blood sugar spikes, and increased satiety. Additionally, beta-glucans can strengthen one’s immune system. The binding of beta glucan to specific receptors within the immune system triggers a cellular response, enhancing macrophage and natural killer cell function.
Oats are the only grain that contain a specific type of antioxidant, avenanthramides. Research suggests that these antioxidants boost the body’s production of nitric oxide which, in turn, lowers and stabilizes blood pressure. Thus, these antioxidants potentially contribute to the reduction of heart disease, beyond the other known benefits of whole grains.
Are oats gluten-free?
All oats themselves are naturally gluten-free. However, during processing, some oats may come in contact with gluten-containing grains. Therefore, individuals for whom cross contact with gluten may be a concern should opt for oats specifically labelled “gluten-free.”
Oats are a highly nutritious food that can be enjoyed in many ways. However you choose to consume them, oats can help fuel you with the nourishment you need to function at your best and most energized level. Curious about the environmental benefits of oats? Next week, we’ll be discussing how oats and the power of regenerative agriculture can help save the planet.