Bathing in oat-based solutions can help problem skin. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the anti-inflammatory compounds in porridge oats can help conditions such as psoriasis and eczema. Fill a sock or stocking with porridge oats and place in water for 20 minutes while bathing.
2. FIGHTS INFECTION
Of all the cereals, porridge has the best proportion of protein needed for growth and repair in the body and to help boost the immune system.
3. FIGHTS HEART DISEASE
Many studies have shown that eating fibre-rich food such as porridge reduces the risk of heart disease. But scientists in the U.S. found that porridge contains avenanthramides – chemicals that stop blood cells sticking to artery walls, preventing the fatty deposits that cause heart disease.
4. REDUCES DIABETES RISK SLOWLY
Digested foods such as porridge might cut the risk of developing non-insulin dependent diabetes by absorbing sugar from the gut and cutting the need for large quantities of insulin to be released.
5. HELPS CONCENTRATION
The slow releasing complex carbohydrates in oats sustain energy levels, allowing full concentration to be maintained. Complex carbohydrates also stabilise and raise blood sugar levels.
6. BEATS DEPRESSION
Porridge is high in Vitamin B6, which promotes the brain chemical serotonin. High levels of serotonin are associated with feelings of well-being and also aid relaxation and restful sleep. Levels of serotonin dip when sunlight is limited – i.e. during winter – and can lead to the depressive condition Seasonal Affective Disorder.
7. BOOTS ENERGY
Porridge oats are high in complex carbohydrates and soluble fibre, which means they release energy slowly. A bowl of porridge should provide all the energy you need until lunchtime.
8. LOWERS CHOLESTEROL
Porridge is rich in soluble fibre, which has been shown to lower blood cholesterol. High cholesterol occurs when fat builds up and constricts the arteries, reducing blood flow to the heart. Eating oats can improve blood flow and bind to cholesterol in the gut, aiding its removal from the body. Scientists think the cholesterol-lowering effects of oats are due to the oat soluble fibre beta-glucan.
9. PREVENTS CONSTIPATION
High-fibre foods such as porridge increase the movement of food through the digestive tract.
This increased bowel action provides a good environment for beneficial bacteria in the gut to ferment while decreasing levels of destructive bacteria.
10. FIGHTS OSTEOPOROSIS
Porridge oats are blended with milk, making an excellent source of calcium which is essential for bone health. Lack of calcium can lead to osteoporosis, which involves a loss of bone density and can make bones fragile.
11. CAN HELP DIETING
Porridge oats are 100 per cent natural, with no added sugar, salt or additives, and are naturally low in calories. An average bowl of porridge made with water contains 171 calories.
12. FIGHTS CANCER
Oats are rich in the antioxidant vitamin E, which protects the body from the damaging free radicals that can cause cancer. A diet high in soluble fibre foods such as porridge oats might also help reduce the chances of developing bowel, colon and breast cancer.
13. CONTAINS ESSENTIAL MINERALS
Porridge is a good source of manganese, which is essential in allowing the body to produce energy as well as helping to build bones and connective tissue. It also contains zinc, which is needed for normal growth, sexual development and reproduction, and a healthy immune system.
14. REDUCES BLOOD PRESSURE
A daily serving of oats can improve blood pressure control and reduce the need for anti-hypertensive medication, according to U.S. researchers – 73 per cent of those fed a wholegrain oat-based cereal (containing 3g of soluble fibre) stopped or reduced their blood pressure medication by half.
15. COULD HELP LONG LIFE
Britain’s longest living man, David Henderson, from Montrose, Scotland, who died in 1998 at 109, attributed his age and good health to a daily bowl of porridge. This could be because the lipids present in oats contain a good balance of essential fatty acids which have been linked to longevity and general good health.