There are many issues that people face concerning their diet choices as they age. Some of the foods may have to be avoided because of some health conditions and the doctor’s orders, while a few others may become difficult to eat due to oral health conditions. There is also a possibility that some foods may not digest as quickly as they did in the younger days. It could also be that you may also have felt a lack of taste.
One way or the other, the choices are tough; and you may rarely find some food that can meet all criteria and is a healthy option, as well. Oats is one such food that is truly a senior-friendly food, and in fact, many younger people who are health conscious also, take to oats. And why not, because oats, is considered to be one of the healthiest grains around.
Specific benefits to seniors
Oat(based) meal, is easy to prepare, easy to chew, fairly inexpensive, high in nutrients, and has good fiber content. This makes it a senior-friendly food, as it provides good nutrients, and thus makes sure that people stay healthy. It also means that constipation can be kept at bay because of the fiber content. While this food can be taken at any mealtime, this is said to be a good way to start your day.
Oats also contain minerals, Vitamins, and antioxidants that can help build immunity in the seniors. The reduced level of immunity is the cause of many diseases and infections in seniors. Regular oat-based meals can help a lot in reducing such issues. Research suggests that oats can also help lower blood sugar levels and heart-related diseases, as well.
The beta-glucan fiber
Oats contain a fiber content known as beta-glucan, and this is said to help reduce the overall as well as the LDL cholesterol levels. It is LDL, the bad cholesterol that works with the free radicals in the body, causing severe harm, including heart diseases. Beta-glucan is a soluble fiber and also helps with regulating blood sugar levels. It also promotes the growth of good bacteria in the gut, thereby aiding better digestion. This also ensures that you feel full after having a meal of oats, and you won’t feel the need to snack in between. Hence, this will also help in ensuring that you don’t put on weight, and being obese can also be a big factor leading to many health issues in seniors.
Another reason why oatmeals are said to reduce the chances of cardiovascular diseases is because of the rich presence of Magnesium in it. Magnesium helps nourish the use of glucose and insulin secretion in the body. It helps relax the blood vessels and regulates the blood pressure and thus prevents strokes and heart attacks.
Studies have also proved that beta-glucan helps the human body’s response to infection by assisting neutrophils to travel faster to the area of disease. It also helps eliminate the bacteria found on the site, aiding the healing process.
By now, we know enough about antioxidants to understand that it is an important aspect of the diet that can help keep many diseases at bay. Oats have a high density of antioxidants; especially one called avenanthramides, which is unique and only found in oats. These help lower the blood cholesterol levels through increased production of nitric oxide, which, in turn, helps improved blood flow. Moreover, avenanthramides also have anti-itching and anti-inflammatory effects. So, overall, there oats consumption can be highly beneficial. Antioxidants are also known to reduce the cancer risk, and Lignan, in oats, is said to reduce the chances of ovarian, breast, and prostate cancer.
How to consume?
The simplest way of eating oats is to boil it, either in water or milk, and eat it hot as porridge. Based on preferences, one may add sugar or salt, or even vegetables and cut or dried fruits to make it more palatable. If you bake, oats can be used as an ingredient in cookies, cakes, muffins, fritters, and more. You can experiment. Oats can even be used to make Indian desserts like laddoos, kheer (payasam), halwa, burfi, etc. It is perhaps time to make sure that you have a bowl of oats every day, to ensure that you get the most benefits out of it.