Have you ever tried psyllium husk? Strange they might be spelt but these husks are the portion of the seeds of the plant Plantago Ovata, a native of India and Pakistan. These little fluffy husks are an indigestible source of soluble fibre and contain 70% more soluble fibre than oat bran, which is very impressive. The soluble fibre in psyllium husks decreases both total and LDL cholesterol by binding to them and taking them out of the body. Nice stealthy work psyllium. To decrease cholesterol levels, you would need to consume the equivalent of two teaspoons, 3 x day (10 grams in total). Psyllium is quite powerful in the laxative department and is the only ingredient in the fibre product Metamucil. Psyllium may be of interest to you because Australians do not excel in the fibre department and we often don’t get the mix right either. Fibre is made up of soluble and insoluble fibre with the insoluble variety exerting the greatest influence on the large bowel to ensure your intestinal tract is working efficiently. This can be affected by stress, poor eating habits and not enough fluid. My first experience with psyllium husk was when I unwittingly added it to my oats prior to making them into porridge. I was rewarded with a bowlful of concrete. The husk itself can certainly be added to cereal but don’t wander off to have a shower or do something else as you will get to experience the concrete effect too. Other people prefer to add their psyllium to a glass of water. If you are not keen on either, there is another option. One of my favourite products at the moment is Kellogg’s®All-Bran Fibre Toppers™. They are crunchy little ‘dots’ made with natural wheat bran, oat fibre and psyllium, providing an excellent source of fibre, which helps to promote a healthy digestive system. One serve provides 33% of your Dietary Intake for fibre and you can eat them alone or on top of your favourite cereal or swirled into yoghurt. Don’t forget that fibre needs a friend. To help it move down your intestinal tract, plenty of water is essential. P.S. For a delicious recipe including these psyllium friendly dotty things check out http://www.fussfreecooking.com/recipe-categories/sugary-treats/banana-all-brand-muffins/
As the steam gently wafts away from my warm bowl of porridge, I get a little feeling of happiness because I LOVE starting a cold winters day with some oaty goodness. Because they are so delicious, I can’t help but look for them even when eating breakfast out and I love that they make regular appearances on cafe menu’s. I often get asked about the different types of oats and the benefits of one over another especially traditional vs. quick oats, so todays post might help you clear a little confusion.
Oats are great all-rounders and are a fabulous source of whole grains, fibre, beta-glucans, a range of essential nutrients and over 26 bioactive substances. It’s this whole package working together that are thought to help protect against chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
Another interesting thing about oats is their effect on the health of your gut. Recently on the BBC2 programme ‘Trust me I’m a Doctor,’ Dr Christoffer Van Tulleken described his six week long experiment of eating 100 grams of oats each day and the probiotic effect it had on his intestinal tract. The findings were very interesting.
The Menu of Oats
The whole oat as it is harvested from the grain but ‘de-hulled’ so that the inedible husk has been removed and the oat has been cleaned, making it safe to eat. These oats can take up an hour to cook.
Steel Cut Oats/Oat Kibble/Irish Oatmeal
Oat groats cut into 2-3 pieces with a steel blade (before being rolled). Cutting the oat exposes more surface area which can be penetrated by water during cooking, making it quicker to prepare than an oat groat (around 30 minutes).
The Scots traditionally stone ground their groats and then rolled them rather than rolling out steel cut oats. The result is rolled oats that naturally vary in size and can help deliver creamy textured oatmeal.
Muesli oats are rolled to a greater thickness than other rolled porridge-type oats. As with other rolled oats, the oats are often kilned to give them a nutty taste and help prevent rancidity and then steamed and rolled to the desired thickness.
Traditional /Rolled Oats/Oatmeal
As with muesli oats, these are steel cut oats, which are then kilned, steamed and rolled to a specific thickness. They generally take around 2-5 minutes to prepare.
Quick oats are the same as other rolled oats, taking the steel cut oat groats and then kilning, steaming and rolling the oat. They are simply rolled thinner to allow the oat to cook more quickly, around 90 seconds to prepare in the microwave.
This little oat dictionary is kindly supplied by Uncle Toby’s.
“Once we sowed wild oats, now we cook them in the microwave” Anon