Why oats are good for you - and four ways to incorporate them into your diet

From perfect porridge to bread, there are lots of easy ways to eat more oats
Why oats are good for you - and four ways to incorporate them into your diet

Oats are the delicious way to start the day.

High in fibre and in minerals including zinc and magnesium, incorporating oats into our diet is an excellent idea. 

In 2017, scientists at the APC Microbiome Institute in Cork discovered that beta-glucan - the fibre found in porridge - can help reduce cholesterol and body weight.

They also found that it can positively alter the make-up of the microbes and bugs living in our intestines, known as microbiota, and how they work.

Research from 2016 showed that 3.5g of beta-glucan daily improved that all-important ratio between LDL and HDL, reducing only LDL.

The Beta-glucan content of oats is between 2 and 8% of the dry weight, so a 50g serving of porridge will provide anywhere between 1 and 4g — an oatcake has 1g.

According to The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, whole oats also contain plant chemicals called phenolic compounds and phytoestrogens that act as antioxidants to reduce the damaging effects of chronic inflammation that is associated with various diseases like cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Overnight oats

recipe by:Derval O'Rourke

This is an ideal family breakfast. It is one of the simplest breakfast options and nutritious too as it’s packed with slow-release energy and fibre

Overnight oats

Servings

1

Preparation Time

12 hours 5 mins

Total Time

12 hours 5 mins

Course

Baking

Ingredients

  • 240ml milk

  • 60g porridge oats

  • 30g frozen raspberries

  • 1 tbsp chia seeds

  • 1 tbsp nuts (pecans work well)

  • 1 tsp agave syrup/honey/maple syrup

Method

  1. Transfer the mixture to a serving bowl.

  2. Cover and leave overnight in the fridge.

  3. Next morning, top with the nuts, syrup/honey and serve.

Baked oats

If you like cake for breakfast, you'll love this

Baked oats

Servings

2

Preparation Time

5 mins

Cooking Time

45 mins

Total Time

50 mins

Course

Main

Ingredients

  • For the baked oats:

  • 100g Flahavan’s Oats

  • 120ml milk of choice

  • 2 tbsp Boyne Valley honey

  • 1 banana

  • 1 egg

  • ½ tsp vanilla extract (optional)

  • 1 tsp baking powder

  • Pinch of salt

  • 2 X 240ml ramekins, buttered

  • For the fillings and toppings:

  • Honey, fresh berries, dried fruits, nuts, nut butter and chocolate chips

Method

  1. Pre-heat oven to 190°C/170°C/fan/gas 5.

  2. Combine all the ingredients in a high speed blender and blend for 1 minute. Pour the batter into 2 buttered ramekins and customise each serving by adding berries, chocolate chips, nuts, cocoa or whatever you like. Put on a the ramekins on a baking tray and bake for 20 minutes until risen. Remove from oven and add any extra toppings of your choice. Enjoy warm from the oven.

  3. This recipe can be doubled and baked in a large 22 x 33 cm/9 × 13 inch casserole dish. Allow an extra 5-10 minutes to the baking time.

  4. Serve hot.

    Suggested Toppings:
    Blueberry & Lemon: Stir 6 blueberries and ¼ teaspoon grated lemon zest into the blended batter in the ramekin. Top with 4-5 more blueberries and lemon zest.
    Raspberry & Almond: 6-8 raspberries & flaked almonds
    Banana, Cocoa and Chocolate Chip: ¼ banana, 1 teaspoon of cocoa powder & 1 teaspoon of chocolate chips
    Carrot, Raisin, Cinnamon & Pecans: ½ finely grated carrot, dash of cinnamon, 2-3 pecan nuts & 1 teaspoon of raisins

Irish oat cookies

recipe by:Michelle Darmody

Combining your choice of nuts and dried fruit, these buttery oat biscuits are a delicious lunchbox or picnic treat

Irish oat cookies

Servings

10

Preparation Time

30 mins

Cooking Time

15 mins

Total Time

45 mins

Course

Baking

Ingredients

  • 250g butter, softened

  • 130g light brown sugar

  • 150g self-raising flour

  • 225g porridge oats

  • 250g chopped nuts or dried fruit, or a combination of both

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a large, flat baking tray with parchment.

  2. Beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Stir in the flour and oats and mix well. Add the nuts and mix again.

  3. Roll into a log shape, wrap in parchment and refrigerate. The log can be easily sliced with a warm knife to the size you want, you should get about ten large cookies.

  4. Bake them for 15-20 minutes until they are turning golden. Allow to cool on a wire rack.

Porridge and seed loaf

recipe by:Michelle Darmody

This light and easy loaf made with natural yoghurt is perfect for a healthy sandwich with your favourite fillings

Porridge and seed loaf

Servings

8

Preparation Time

15 mins

Cooking Time

40 mins

Total Time

55 mins

Course

Baking

Ingredients

  • 500g natural yoghurt

  • 425g porridge oats

  • 1 tsp bread soda

  • generous pinch of sea salt

  • handful of mixed seeds

  • handful of mixed dried fruit (optional)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Line a 2 lb loaf tin.

  2. Put the yoghurt into a large mixing bowl.

  3. Add the porridge oats and sieve in the bread soda.

  4. Add in your salt, seeds and fruit if you are using.

  5. Mix well until a thick dough is formed. Scoop the mixture into the prepared tin, smoothing down the top.

  6. Place into the centre of your oven and bake for 40-45 minutes until golden brown. You can test it with a skewer or knock on the underside to listen for a hollow sound. Leave in tin for five minutes then turn the loaf onto wire tray to cool.

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