Eating oats lowers cholesterol levels and minimizes the risk of heart disease. Studies at Northwestern University show that oat fiber reduces both total and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels twice as effectively as wheat. The beneficial fiber in oats is known as beta-glucan, which works to absorb LDL cholesterol.
In addition to fiber, oats are loaded with protein, iron, manganese and zinc, plus they contain avenanthramide, a heart-protective antioxidant. And oats have been found to reduce not only the risk for heart disease, but also the risks for type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.
That beta-glucan in oats provides even greater benefits: Norwegian researchers have reported that it has antimicrobial and antioxidant properties. This compound activates the white blood cells that fight bacteria and viruses. Thanks to Rodale for this wisdom.
Why not eat oats for lunch and dinner, too? Here are some recipes to inspire you.
Chickpea Oat Burgers with Tzatziki
This Greek sauce will take your veggie burger to the next level of deliciousness.
For the tzatziki:
1 cucumber, peeled, de-seeded, and grated
1/2 cup plain yogurt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup freshly chopped parsley, mint, or basil
1/2 teaspoon each: cumin, salt and black pepper
2 teaspoons lime juice
Mix all ingredients together, cover, and set aside to marinate.
For the chickpea burgers:
6 tablespoons ground flaxseed meal
2 cups cooked chickpeas
1/4 cup rolled oats
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons each: coriander and cumin
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons tahini (roasted sesame seed butter)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Oil a cookie sheet with olive or sunflower oil.
In a blender or food processor, combine the flaxseed chickpeas, oats, garlic, and water. Pulse until the mixture is coarsely chopped. Add the lemon juice, spices, and tahini.
Pulse until the mixture is just combined. Divide the mixture into 4 equal portions and shape each into a patty. If you do not have a blender / processor, mash everything together in a large bowl with a potato masher.
Place patties on cookie sheet, bake for 10 minutes, flip, and bake for 10 more minutes.
Top with a spoonful of tzatziki and fresh tomato slices if you like.
You will need:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 medium red beets, finely chopped
1 rib celery, finely chopped
1 teaspoon each: thyme, coriander, and oregano
1/2 cup quick oats
1 zucchini, grated
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Oil a loaf pan.
Heat oil in a skillet and add onions. Cook on medium heat until translucent - about 5 minutes.
Add beets, celery, and spices.
Saute, covered, for 15 minutes on medium low heat.
Meanwhile, whisk the remaining ingredients together in a bowl.
When beets are starting to get tender, remove vegetables from the heat and scoop them into the loaf pan.
Pour the egg oat mixture over the top and bake for 35 minutes, or until egg is set.
Cool for 5 minutes before slicing.
Click here for more recipes with oats - both sweet and savory.