Oats, scientifically known as Avena sativa, have been a staple food for centuries, and they continue to gain popularity in modern diets due to their outstanding health benefits. From breakfast bowls to snacks and baked goods, oats and oat-based food ingredients are versatile and satisfying. Beyond their delicious taste and convenience, they offer a plethora of nutrients that promote overall health and well-being. Let’s delve into the numerous health advantages of oats and explore how incorporating them into your daily diet can enhance your physical and mental wellness.
Oats boast an impressive nutritional profile, making them a superfood worth incorporating into any diet. Oats are a good source of complex carbohydrates and protein. Oats typically contain 60% carbohydrates, 11-15% of protein, 5-9% of fats, β-glucans, and various micronutrients such as zinc, magnesium, iron, and B vitamins as outlined in Table 1 (1).
The nutritional composition of oats is quite different from that of other cereals. Oats have a higher protein content, a higher amount of essential amino acids and a higher (unsaturated) fat content. The high nutritional value of oats is also attributed to their high β-glucan content, a soluble fiber that positively impacts numerous health functions. Moreover, oats typically contain more than 20 unique and very potent polyphenolic antioxidants (also known as avenanthramides). (2)
Blood Sugar Regulation
For individuals with diabetes or those at risk of developing the condition, oats offer unique benefits in blood sugar regulation. Due to their low glycemic index and high fiber content, oats help slow down the absorption of glucose, preventing rapid spikes in blood sugar levels. Regular consumption of oats can contribute to better glycemic control and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes (5).
One of the most renowned health advantages of oats is their positive impact on heart health. The high soluble fiber content, specifically beta-glucan, found in oats has been linked to reducing LDL cholesterol levels (3,4). By lowering LDL cholesterol, oats help reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases like heart attacks and strokes (4). As indicated before, oats also contain potent antioxidants like avenanthramides, which contribute to reducing inflammation and supporting heart health.
For individuals seeking to maintain or lose weight, oats can be an excellent addition to their diet. The soluble fiber in oats promotes a feeling of fullness, which can curb appetite and reduce overall calorie intake (5). Additionally, oats have a low glycemic index, which means they release energy gradually, helping to stabilize blood sugar levels and prevent sudden spikes and crashes that can lead to unhealthy food cravings. Several factors contribute to oats having a low glycemic index: complex carbohydrates like amylose (since they break down more slowly), higher fat and protein content and the higher fiber content (which forms a gel like matrix in combination with water that slows down digestion).
The fiber in oats not only aids in weight management but also supports digestive health. It improves bowel movements, prevents constipation, and fosters a healthy gut environment.
Improved Skin Health
The benefits of oats extend beyond internal health; they can also enhance skin health when applied externally. Oats are commonly used in skincare products due to their anti-inflammatory properties and ability to soothe irritated skin (6). An oat-based bath or facial mask can alleviate itching, redness, and inflammation associated with conditions like eczema and psoriasis.
Enhanced Immune Function
Oats contain a variety of nutrients, such as beta-glucans, magnesium, zinc, and selenium, that contribute to improved immune function (7). These components support the body’s defense against infections and help maintain overall immune health.
Energy and Stamina
As a complex carbohydrate, oats are an excellent source of sustained energy. They release energy slowly, providing a stable and long-lasting source of fuel, making them an ideal breakfast or snack choice for those with active lifestyles or busy schedules.
Oats contain several minerals essential for maintaining strong and healthy bones, such as calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus. Including oats in your diet can contribute to better bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
The nutrients in oats, including B vitamins and magnesium, play a crucial role in supporting mental health. B vitamins are needed as cofactors for the synthesis of neurotransmitters, while magnesium helps regulate stress and anxiety levels (8). Consuming oats can contribute to better cognitive function and emotional well-being.
Incorporating oats or oat-derived ingredients into your daily diet offers an array of health advantages that promote overall well-being. From heart health and weight management to improved digestion and enhanced skin health, this nutrient-packed superfood deserves its place in a balanced and healthy diet. Whether you enjoy them as a warm breakfast cereal, in baked goods, in smoothies, or as oat drinks, oats are a versatile and delicious way to support your body and mind on the journey to optimal health. So, why wait? Start embracing the numerous health benefits of oats and witness the positive impact they can have on your life.
Meurens Natural: Pioneering Oat-Based Nutrition
Meurens Natural has been a pioneer in the organic sector and has been focused on producing clean label organic and natural cereal extracts for more than 30 years. With a unique and innovative production process, that is 100% in line with the organic philosophy, we are able to offer our customers ingredients that are all natural and organic. As the European specialist in cereal hydrolysis, Meurens Natural can hydrolyze a wide variety of cereals using flour and not only starch as in the conventional glucose industry.
Meurens Natural is a trailblazer that has earned an unrivaled reputation as the European expert in hydrolyzed oat syrups, powders, and proteins. With a steadfast commitment to quality, innovation, and sustainable practices, Meurens Natural has become an industry standard when it comes to cereal hydrolysis.
A Heritage of Hydrolysis Excellence
Meurens Natural can rely on a rich heritage in the food ingredients industry, tracing its roots back several generations. Established by visionary pioneers who recognized the incredible potential of organic and natural cereal-based food ingredients, the company’s founding principles revolved around harnessing the health benefits of cereals. Through the years, Meurens Natural has honed its expertise, crafting cutting-edge solutions that cater to the evolving needs of health-conscious consumers worldwide.
Commitment to Quality
At Meurens Natural, the pursuit of excellence is a way of life. Every step of the process, from sourcing to production, is underpinned by a commitment to the highest quality standards. Only the finest, non-GMO cereals from trusted partners are carefully selected, ensuring that each product embodies the wholesome goodness of the natural grain. Rigorous quality control measures and state-of-the-art facilities guarantee that customers receive only the best cereal-based food ingredients.
Meurens Natural has earned its position as a European leader in the industry through its pursuit of innovation. The company invests heavily in research and development, continually exploring new methods to enhance the nutritional profile and versatility of cereals such as oats. From low sugar oat syrups (for example our OAT DE 17 base) that can be used for the production of sugar free oat drinks to the upcycling of oat syrup co-products into oat proteins, Meurens Natural remains at the forefront of plant-based innovations.
Environmental stewardship lies at the core of Meurens Natural business philosophy. Thanks to our investment in responsible sourcing, energy efficiency, waste reduction, upcycling and our carbon neutral initiatives, you can make your product more sustainable by using one of our ingredients.
Meurens Natural places its customers at the heart of everything it does. By actively listening to customer feedback and insights, the company continually adapts and refines its product offerings to meet ever-evolving demands. Meurens Natural values transparency and fosters a strong sense of community, encouraging an open dialogue with its consumers to build trust and loyalty.
(1) Rasane, P., Jha, A., Sabikhi, L., Kumar, A., & Unnikrishnan, V. (2013). Nutritional advantages of oats and opportunities for its processing as value added foods – a review. Journal of Food Science and Technology, 52(2), 662–675. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13197-013-1072-1
(2) Alemayehu GF, Forsido SF, Tola YB, Amare E. Nutritional and Phytochemical Composition and Associated Health Benefits of Oat (Avena sativa) Grains and Oat-Based Fermented Food Products. ScientificWorldJournal. 2023 Jul 17;2023:2730175. doi: 10.1155/2023/2730175. PMID: 37492342; PMCID: PMC10365923.
(3) Products, E. P. O. D. (2010). Scientific Opinion on the substantiation of a health claim related to oat beta glucan and lowering blood cholesterol and reduced risk of (coronary) heart disease pursuant to Article 14 of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006. EFSA Journal, 8(12). https://doi.org/10.2903/j.efsa.2010.1885
(4) : Wolever et al.: Bioactive oat b-glucan reduces LDL cholesterol in Caucasians and non-Caucasians. Nutrition Journal 201110:130.
(5) Li, X., Cai, X., Ma, X., Jing, L., Gu, J., Bao, L., Li, J., Xu, M., Zhang, Z., & Li, Y. (2016). Short- and Long-Term Effects of Wholegrain oat intake on weight management and glucolipid metabolism in overweight type-2 diabetics: a randomized control trial. Nutrients, 8(9), 549. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu8090549
(6) Assessment of skin microbiome diversity and skin health in dry skin and dry, itchy skin: A bilateral, controlled clinical trial using oat-containing lotions and wash, Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, Volume 81, Issue 4, Supplement 1, 2019, Page AB23, ISSN 0190-9622, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaad.2019.06.121.
(7) Haase, H., & Rink, L. (2013). Zinc signals and immune function. BIOFACTORS, 40(1), 27–40. https://doi.org/10.1002/biof.1114
(8) Noah, L., Dye, L., De Fer, B. B., Mazur, A., Pickering, G., & Pouteau, E. (2021). Effect of magnesium and vitamin B6 supplementation on mental health and quality of life in stressed healthy adults: Post‐hoc analysis of a randomised controlled trial. Stress and Health, 37(5), 1000–1009. https://doi.org/10.1002/smi.3051