SPEAKING OF BLOOD SUGAR … (I know! I’m annoying already! Trust me though! You want to know this!) Hopefully you know, at least from my previous blog, what a glycemic index is and why it is SO important to eat foods that do NOT spike your blood glucose. This is crucial both for good health AND a slimmer waistline! But did you know that oatmeal, the most basic breakfast item, can play a huge role in the process? Yup, true story! By incorporating oats into your diet, you can nurture and protect your precious, beautiful cells. So here’s what ya gotta know! Simple, yet interesting!
(CONTINUE READING HERE) Oats are a nutritional POWERHOUSE! They have a gazillion vitamins such as vitamin E, many B-vitamins, calcium, magnesium, potassium, trace minerals such as selenium, copper, zinc, iron and manganese and tons of awesome phyto-chemicals. They also have both soluble and insoluble fiber which slows digestion, making it low glycemic and very FILLING! The soluble fiber can help reduce cholesterol and keeps blood sugar levels steady. Oats have been found to benefit heart health, lower blood pressure, and can even help prevent diabetes. Even though oats contain some protein, I highly recommend adding MORE protein to really balance out your meal (such as egg whites or non-fat yogurt OR with protein powder, tempeh or tofu if you avoid dairy). Personally I wouldn’t recommend adding fruit because you have enough carbs in the oats! Don’t add more.
So let’s break it down – just to give you a few examples of oats to choose from! Ever hear of whole oat groats? (That’s a tongue twister! Do not attempt to say this at home 🙄 !). Oat groats are the whole-grain kernel, what your oats are in the very beginning – the harvested “as-is”, WHOLE oat. Whole oat groats are typically used as animal feed (not easily found for human consumption, however some health food stores do carry them). Because they are WHOLE, they have the highest nutritional value of all forms of oats – their nutrients have been left intact. They are digested very slowly, which reduces the glycemic load and makes them very filling! Remember! When something is pulverized or processed, it’s surface area becomes greater. This is going to spike your blood sugar more than if it was whole, since the grain has already been broken down. The more WHOLE a food is, the harder it is for enzymes to break it down, slowing down the digestion process and having the OPPOSITE affect of spiking your blood sugar. Oat groats take the longest to cook because they are …… you guessed it…WHOLE!
Then there’s Steel cut oatmeal or just – oats. These are also called Irish Oatmeal. They are whole oat groats that have been steel cut into smaller pieces. These are very easy to find at the grocery store, and are the next most nutritious after whole oat groats. Because they are smaller pieces, they’re cooking time is a bit shorter than whole oat groats. These are also a great choice for nutritional benefits!
Next we have stone ground, and rolled oats (or old fashioned oats). Rolled oats are when oat groats are steamed and then rolled into flakes. Stone ground is when the oats are ground into smaller pieces. These are all in the same ballpark as far as glycemic load goes, with the more-whole oat always being just a little lower (which is what you want) on the glycemic scale. Nutrition-wise, you cannot go wrong with any of these choices.
Next are the lovely quick-cooking and instant oats. They cook faster because the oat is more processed (and oats made smaller), making the glycemic load of these quite higher than all the rest.
When baking, oat flour is a great alternative to regular flour. Be careful though because oat flour has little to no gluten so you need to add baking soda/powder for your ‘baked good’ to rise.
There are even MORE types of oats to choose from, but my work here is done. I’d rather leave you begging for more 😉
For real though – enjoy your oats, whichever you choose, knowing you’re nourishing your body AND controlling your blood sugar! It’s all good! 😎