Did You Know?
A cup of oatmeal provides tryptophan - amino acid that converts to serotonin - the feel good brain hormone that in turn converts to melatonin – the sleep promoting hormone.
The carbs in the oats promote the production of insulin which helps tryptophan get into the brain.
And oats are high in Vitamin B6-that helps tryptophan convert to serotonin and melatonin.
Besides helping with mood and sleep, oats are high in fiber that promotes digestive health, cholesterol management and breast cancer prevention.
Oats have special anti-oxidants, called avenantramides that help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Oats, like other whole grains, are super rich in calming magnesium – an important cofactor for over 300 enzyme reactions in the body, including how the body uses glucose and insulin and how the body makes calming brain hormones.
(The World’s Healthiest foods, whfoods.org)
Steel Cut vs Rolled vs Quick vs Instant?
Both steel cut (Irish) and rolled contain whole grain oats. But they are processed differently. Steel cut oats are oat kernels (groats) that have been chopped into thick pieces. Rolled oats are steamed, rolled, steamed again and toasted, ending up as thin flakes. Quick oats are steamed more-making them partially cooked and Instant oats are steamed even longer-more precooked and are often sold in packets with sweeteners and artificial mystery ingredients.
According to Dr Andrew Weil, steel cuts are better since they digest more slowly than rolled or quick or instant oats. Steel cut oats rank lower on the glycemic index.
“I recommend choosing steel cut (Irish) oats over rolled oats because they digest more slowly than rolled ones. Like all other grains in whole or cracked form, steel cut oats rank lower on the glycemic index than rolled oats. The reason is that it takes longer for digestive enzymes to reach the starch inside the thicker pieces, slowing down its conversion to sugar.
As you probably know, the glycemic index is the measure of how quickly carbohydrate foods affect blood sugar. The higher on the glycemic index a food ranks, the more likely it is to cause spikes in blood sugar that over time can cause genetically susceptible people (many of us) to develop insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome. Insulin resistance is associated with obesity, high blood pressure, elevated blood fats, and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.
You can be pretty sure you're eating a whole grain with a low GI ranking if you have to chew it or can see the grains or pieces of grains in food products. The more your jaw has to work, the better. But when grains are processed, their surface area expands, allowing digestive enzymes easy access to their starch content.“ (Andrew Weil, MD)
Want to hear more from Andrew Weil? Join us at our Spring Breakfast, May 15, where he will speak on nutrition for a healthier life. Get your tickets!
1 cup, steel cut oats
3 cups, water
1 cup milk-dairy or another favorite “milk,” nut milk (almond, cashew, other), oat milk.
½+ tsp sea salt
1+ tsp. butter, organic, from grass fed animals, or ghee (clarified butter)
1+ tsp. cinnamon
Apple, pear, or other sliced fruit
Walnuts, almonds or other nuts
Ground flax or chia
Dark maple syrup or jam
1. In a strainer, rinse 1 cup of steel cut oats. Drain.
2. In a pan, add 3 cups water and the 1 cup rinsed oats. Soak during the day or for at least 2 hours. (soaking the oats makes them more digestible and nutrients more absorbable)
3. In a strainer, strain the oats, rinse well, let drain.
4. In a pan, add strained oats, 3 cups water, ½ tsp sea salt. Mix.
5. Bring to a rolling boil.
6. Turn off the heat. Add butter or ghee, add cinnamon. Stir.
7. Let cool for about 20 min.
8. Refrigerate overnight.
9. Add a portion (about 1 cup) of oatmeal to a saucepan.
10. Add about 1/2 cup almond or other milk. Add more salt, cinnamon, butter or ghee, as desired.
11. Optional: add 1 chopped apple or pear, 2 Tbsp. chopped walnuts or other nuts.
12. Simmer until heated and the milk is absorbed. Add more milk, if needed.
13. Serve. Optional: Add 1 Tbsp. ground flax seed. Add nuts, berries, other toppings as desired.
14. Sweeten with dark maple syrup or jam, if desired.
About the Author: Nancy Birang, BS, NC - Integrative Nutrition Consultant - 408-832-6178