Gemma Hurditch for CNM’s Natural Chef Kitchen, explains why oats deserve to take centre stage
Each month, the of Naturopathic Medicine lifts the lid on a favourite health food and this February the focus is on oats. Naturopath Gemma Hurditch says that oats have lots of special qualities so it’s hard to pick just five, but here they are, together with a recipe for making your own oat milk.
The soluble fibre in oats, beta-glucan, slows the process and speed at which food empties from the stomach which has the effect of keeping us feeling fuller for longer, meaning we'll be less likely to reach for a snack.
Oats are a low glycemic load (GL) food, which means that the type of carbohydrates they contain are released slowly. This gradual process helps to avoid spikes and dips in our blood sugar level, stabilising any sugar-driven mood swings we may have, and reducing cravings for sweet things. What’s more, oats’ low GL also helps sustain our energy levels, and can assist in reducing our risk of type 2 diabetes.
Oats’ soothing and anti-inflammatory properties have long been harnessed to help itchy, dry or irritated skin. Want to give it a go? Simply put a cupful of oats into a muslin bag or stocking and drop into your bath for a milky and soothing treat. You can also use oats as the base of a home-made facemask or as a skin exfoliator.
Like all high-fibre content food, oats help to remove cholesterol from the digestive system that might otherwise build up in our arteries and clog up the bloodstream, potentially leading to heart attacks or strokes.
It’s best to buy oats which are organic and gluten-free, and soak them overnight before use to make them even more digestible. Don't buy quick oats or minute oats and look for steel-cut where possible.
Using raw oats, as in muesli, helps to retain most of their nutrients and antioxidants. Porridge makes for a warm and nutritious breakfast in winter. Simply add water to whole oats and heat slowly on the stove until hot and soft. Mix in cinnamon, nuts and berries for a delicious twist, and if you really need extra sweetness, opt for maple syrup or honey.
Raw, organic, gluten-free oats
Blend 1 cup of oats with 2 cups of water (scale up as you wish).
Strain through a muslin or cheese cloth, and decant into a bottle
Store in the fridge and use within 3 days
You can experiment with the ratio of oats to water to make it more or less creamy. The oat milk thickens up during cooking.
For drinks, try adding flavours, such as vanilla, cinnamon, or banana.
Don’t be a waster: use the strained oats to make your own face pack or add to a smoothie!CNM is the College of Naturopathic Medicine, where you can train to become a CNM Natural Chef, a nutritional therapist, herbalist, acupuncturist, or naturopath, or attend a range of short courses about healthy cooking and eating, herbs, and many other natural therapies. Visit naturopathy-uk.com
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