Oatmeal is a porridge-like dish consumed by many people worldwide as a breakfast recipe. The oat cereal is steamed, flattened, and dried for easy cooking and consumption. It is rich in fibre content and has various health benefits attached to it. It is gluten-free and helps in managing the blood cholesterol levels in our body and aids in weight loss. It also lowers blood sugar levels, enhances healthy bacterial growth in the gut, and relieves constipation. It also contains antioxidants and improves skin and hair growth too.
The crop is believed to have originated in the Asiatic region and ancient Chinese cultivated this crop in 7000 b.c. however it is presently grown in Europe. Researchers from the University of Florence, Italy have discovered that wild oats were consumed by the palaeolithic people in the early stone age period. The hunters heated and ground the cereal into a flour consistency for preparing porridge or flatbread.
This crop is also found during the ancient Egyptian days but gained no importance when compared to wheat and barley. The Romans were believed to be the ones who brought this crop to England. Oats scientifically called ” Avena sativa” was used as animal fodder in most countries. Initially, the Scottish people were the first to cultivate ‘oats’ in their country. The climatic conditions favoured the growth of oats and they occupied a major part of people’s diet during the medieval period. Since oats are easy to store for long periods it is highly preferred as a warm breakfast meal in the freezing weather conditions of Scotland.
In India, it is called ‘Jaie’and is cultivated in Haryana and Punjab. They are grown in paddy fields and the organic cultivation process is followed by the farmers.
In recent times people have recognized the importance of this cereal and consume it daily for weight loss benefits and to maintain their cholesterol as well as blood sugar levels. There are a lot of brands in the market which contain insoluble fibre content to promote a healthy digestive system. Colon cancer risks are also greatly reduced. It is always good to cook oats in water and consume them for better results.
They are found to be more beneficial when compared to rice since it contains more minerals and nutrients. It is considered to contain all benefits of brown rice which is rich in B vitamins ( Thiamine, Niacin, and B-6) which promote the function of the heart, nerves, and muscles Raw oats contain 70% carbohydrates. Consumption of 250 gms of oats is recommended for weight loss by experts. The overall risk of heart attack is reduced due to its intake and heart health is improvised.
How to make oatmeal
Oatmeal is easy to cook, however, we need to know the type of oats in the market before cooking. There are four varieties of oats, the first one is Whole oat groats which need more water to cook. For every cup of oats, it requires 4 cups of water. It also needs some extra time for cooking. The second one is the Steel cut oats which are also known as Scottish oats are roughly chopped and are quicker to cook than the previous one and look so creamy. The third one is called Old fashioned oats or rolled oats which are steamed and then rolled into flakes for easy and quick cooking. They need only 2 cups of water for every single cup of oats. The last one is the Quick oats which are steamed longer and rolled more thinly into flakes to make cooking quicker and hence named “Quick Oats”. After adding the required quantity of water the oats are cooked in medium flame until they are soft. Then little salt and spices can be added to improve its taste.
However, when cooked with milk its texture turns creamy and less sticky making it more delicious. Fresh fruits and nuts can also be added to enhance the flavour of the porridge. It is also recommended to soak oats for a few hours before serving to make them tastier.
Though this cereal comes with plenty of benefits it is also allergic to some people who might be gluten sensitive or might have celiac disease. Some people experience gastric discomfort after consuming oats. These are the few symptoms that are common in oat allergy.
- Running nose or nasal congestion
- Skin irritation or rashes
However, this is uncommon and occurs only in rare cases. It is always wise to follow a proper diet and exercise to keep oneself fit and strong to fight away diseases that pose a threat to humankind.