Are Raw Oats Better than Cooked?

Only 25 percent of cholesterol comes from diet, 75 percent is from the liver. However, when you are aiming for healthy blood cholesterol levels, watching what you eat can certainly be beneficial. We always aim for a healthy and balanced lifestyle to promote our health. That’s why we enjoy sharing tips with our customers for healthier lives. Sometimes we get asked for advice. Recently, someone asked about raw vs. cooked oats. Oatmeal can help cholesterol. But, are raw or cooked oats better for your heart and cholesterol?

For 50 years, we’ve known that eating oats helps lower cholesterol levels and cardiovascular disease risks. In fact, oatmeal was one of the first foods the FDA gave a food label proclaiming it beneficial for the heart. Oats are rich in beta-glucan, a viscous soluble fiber, which seems to be responsible for its impact. The fiber reduces the body’s ability to absorb cholesterol from food during digestion. Oats are higher in fiber than other grains and hold many vitamins and minerals.

It’s important to note that oatmeal and other oat-based foods can be high in butter, milk, cheese and other fats. So, reading the label is a must. However, it needn’t be homemade to be healthy. Both instant oatmeal and fast-cooking oatmeal also lower cholesterol, even though they impact blood-sugar more. The more oats are processed, the faster they are absorbed into the bloodstream, which explains the spikes.

Now, more and more frequently, people like adding raw oats to shakes and other snacks. So the question of healthiness was bound to come up. When it comes to “raw” oats vs. cooked, you should know that raw oats have, in fact, been cooked. A heating process is required to make them digestible. Raw oats release more beta-glucan into your digestive tract than cooked oats. They release about 26 percent vs. nine percent. That is a big difference and should be noted. The extra fiber could aid cholesterol, blood sugar and intestinal health. It can also help weight loss as fiber makes you feel full.

But, there are drawbacks to raw oats. They have to be soaked before eating. Otherwise, they will absorb fluid inside the body and bulk up with could lead to stomach and intestinal problems. They must be soaked for 12 hours. That’s much less convenient than regular oatmeal. Moreover, phytic acid, found in raw oats, makes it harder for the body to absorb iron and zinc.

There are benefits and drawback for both raw and cooked oats. As Dr. Walter Willett, of the Harvard School of Public Health, put it, “If you enjoy raw oats… by all means eat them that way. But if you prefer cooked oats… you aren’t sacrificing anything and may, in fact, be gaining something extra.

For us, it’s always going to be oatmeal that comes out on top, but if you prefer your oats raw, that’s great too! Either way, you’ll be helping your health!
August 29, 2019

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