[Functional Food] Oats – Nutritional Benefits

October 18, 2021

Not only can oat produce a wide variety of products, its nutritional benefits are also many-sided. Different types of oat were introduced in the last e-newsletter (HERE). Today we will discuss tips of eating oat, the nutritional benefits of oat and provide some healthy recipes to try at home.


Tips for eating oats

  1. 1. Unprocessed oats that requires cooking (e.g. oat groats, old-fashioned rolled oats, steel-cut oats) are better than quick/ instant oats.
    [Unprocessed oats have a lower glycemic index than quick/ instant oats, which helps stabilise blood sugars]
  2. Choose oat products without additives
  3. Can replace staple food (rice, congee, noodle) but not as meal replacement.


Nutritional Benefits

Improve cardiovascular & digestive health and immunity.

Help stabilise blood sugar level Maintain cardiovascular health Keep the digestive tract healthy Boost immunity
The Glycemic Index of oat (55) is lower than our staple food –  rice (73) and rice congee (79). Lower glycemic index of oat means its intake and absorption would cause a more gradual and steady rise in blood sugar, which helps maintain a healthy blood sugar level. Also, oat is rich in water-soluble fiber, which can slow down the absorption of sugar and help to stabilize blood sugar level and control diabetes according to the Department of Health. Oat is rich in a soluble-fibre named β-Glucan. Research has shown that adding 3g of β-Glucan to the diet (=60g of oatmeal/ 40g of oat bran) helps to lower blood total cholesterol (TC) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL). Oat is high in dietary fibre. 100g oatmeal can provide 7-10g dietary fiber, which already satisfies 28-40% of the daily recommended dietary intake (25g). Insoluble fibre in oat can absorb water, swell and also lubricate the intestine to stimulate digestive tract peristalsis, keeping the digestive tract healthy. Studies have shown that β-Glucan in oats enhance body’s immunity by stimulating the activity of macrophages. Macrophages are one type of immune cell that destroy the invading pathogens and stimulate other types of immune cells to initiate protection.


Easy ways to incorporate oats into my daily meals.

Oatmeal with milk, congee/rice of oat groats mixed with rice, drink (milk tea, coffee) with oat bran, steamed pork patty with rolled oat, overnight no-cook oats with rolled oat and yoghurt.

Having overnight oats as breakfast is convenient for those who are in a hurry in the morning, you can prepare the overnight oats the night before, and it is convenient to eat or carry.

Overnight oats Apple Cinnamon Oat Bran Pancakes (6 pancakes)
Ingredients Rolled Oat, milk, yoghurt, fruits (e.g. oranges, blueberries) 1 Apple, 1 cup oat bran, 1/3 cup old fashioned oats, 1 tsp. baking powder, 1 tsp. ground cinnamon, 2 eggs, 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk, 2 tbsp. honey,1 tbsp. olive oil
  1. Spread the rolled oat at the bottom of the container.
  2. Add milk until it slightly covers the oats.
  3. Add yoghurt and fruits.
  4. Store in the refrigerator for 6-8 hours and it’s ready to eat in the next morning.
  1. Peel and de-core the apple.
  2. Once the skin and core are removed, chop the apple into fine, even pieces.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the chopped apple, oat bran, old fashioned oats, baking powder, ground cinnamon, eggs, unsweetened almond milk, honey and olive oil. Stir well.
  4. Heat a pan over medium-high heat.
  5. Once the pan is hot, pour 1/4 cup of the batter onto the hot pan.
  6. Cook for 3-4 minutes, then flip and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes, wait until golden-brown.


Ref: Diabetes Hong Kong, Department of Health, FDA, Food Standards Australia/ New Zealand, Harvard Health Publishing, PMID:25411276, University of Sydney (Glycemic Index), PMID: 24774968