Oats - for Healthy Nutrition
For centuries oat has been an essential food for people in Central Europe. Still in the Middle Ages oat was the most common cereal. Nowadays it is replaced more and more by other grains. such as wheat, rye or barley. For many nutrinionally concious people, however, oats still play an important role in their daily diet - mainly in the form of oat flakes, in mueslis or porridge, but also in pastries. It is also highly appreciated in the diet of sports people.
Gluten-free oats also represents a welcome, healthy variability in the diet of celiac people. since it supplies a number of valuable nutrients:
Oats contain high quality protein, because it supplies a high amount of essential amino acids which can not be made in the human body. These are required for the synthesis and transformation of body protein - important foor all body tissues (e.g. muscles, skin), all organs as well as for producing enzymes and hormones.
Carbohydrates in oats consist mainly of starch. This is an excellent source of energy with consistent, long lasting effect. This leads to a low glycaemic index, i.e. a slow increase of blood glucose and a prolonged satiety.
Oats contain soluble as well as insoluble fibres. They stimulate digestion, may reduce fat uptake from the gut and may contribute that "the cholesterol level (in the blood) .... can be kept at a healthy level." The fibres contained in oats thus constitute a valuable comletion in the celiac diet, which is quite often rather low in fibre.
Oats contain a high amount of valuable minerals and trace elements, such as Magnesium, Iron or Zink. Magnesium is important for signal transmission in the muscles and prevents from muscle cramps, Iron is mainly required for blood formation and Zinc supports the immune sytsem.
Man has to take vitamins with the food, since we can not synthesise them ourselves. Oats is especially rich in B-Vitamins, which are required for an optimal utilisation of carbohydrates and support neurological functions.
Are oats gluten-free?
For long time oats have been considered as gluten-containing grain, and thus was forbidden in the gluten-free diet, since it provoked the typical symptoms in gluten-sensitive individuals. Today we know that these findings were mainly due to contamination of oats from gluten-containing cereals during growing or technical processing.
The protein structure of oats is quite different from that of the gluten- containing grains (wheat, rye, barley). Thus the trigger for the intolerance reactions (a specific peptide) can not be found in pure oats. In Scandinavian countries, the USA and Great Britain this valuable food plays an important role in the diet of celiac people since many years.
A Study on: Gluten-free nutrition in Celiac Disease: Are oats permitted?
Pitfalls and Problems of a Gluten-Free Diet: Is Oats Harmful to Patients with Coeliac Disease?, O. Leiß (Fachbereich Gastroenterologie, Deutsche Klinik für Diagnostik, Wiesbaden) 2003, Aktuelle Ernährungsmedizin 28, S. 385-395:
„In the least years careful designed studies have shown that ingestion of moderate amounts of oats (70 g per day) over 6 - 12 months is safe and did not change duodenal villous architecture, inflammatory cell infiltration of the duodenal mucosa, antibody titres or nutritional status and well-being of coeliac patients adhering to a gluten-free diet. A recent study provides evidence of longterm safety of oats as part of a coeliac diet in adult patients with coeliac disease. …“.