Oat to a Good Start


When you see it in little white bowls in Starbucks and conversation turns to whether it’s best made on the hob or in the microwave, or whether you favour it hot or cold, or what topping you prefer on yours – you know that porridge is back!

Porridge has been around for yonks but in recent years has lost out to cold, cardboard tasting cereals in colourful packaging of fun promising toys and treats.

But before this revival, porridge was an austerity food, associated with prisons and workhouses.  It was the focus for Dickens’,

  “Please Sir, I want some more.”

An offense for which the workhouse Governors wanted Oliver to hang.  Imagine that – hanged for wanting more porridge!  Goldilocks also caused a furore in the Bear household for trying Papa Bear’s and Mama Bear’s porridge and finishing Baby Bear’s porridge which was, “Just right.”

Historically, the Ancient Greeks and Romans found the grain inedible and dubbed it ‘barbarian’s food’ and fed it to their animals.  Samuel Johnson subsequently mocked it as, “a grain which in England is given to horses but in Scotland supports the people.”  Apparently he only said this to annoy the Scots.

Porridge has always been associated with cold winter mornings where cupping bowl in hand, you feel its warmth spread through your hibernation-broken body.  It is one of the most spirit-lifting ways to start the day; a huge hug in a bowl.

Nowadays we can cook our porridge oats in 3 microwavable minutes.  No longer do we need to remain stove-side, spurtle in hand stirring in a sunwise direction, for 20-30mins until each pearly grain releases its sweet starch.  I mean, come on, who has 30 free minutes to stir porridge before work on a school day?!

“In our recessionary world, porridge is a cheap and easy breakfast.”

Here are five reasons why you should take the oat oath and switch your breakfast to these wholesome whole grains:

Oats boast an impressive nutritional profile: high in fibre they help protect our bodies from any number of potential health problems. They are also packed full of minerals and vitamins which support healthy bones.

Oats fill you up: only 147 calories per cup of plain cooked oats.  When you eat oats, your body will digest and absorb them slowly, keeping you feeling full, controlling your appetite and keeping hunger pangs at bay.

Oats may help reduce cholesterol: yielding a high proportion of soluble fibre they create a gel-like fibre which transits your intestinal tract helping to trap substances associated with high blood cholesterol.

Oats are diabetes friendly:  In the same way that fibre in oats helps to stave off hunger, it also helps to steady the glucose levels in the bloodstream.

Oats support healthy digestion: the insoluble fibre in oats scrubs through the intestines, moving food along and helping to prevent constipation.

So next time you go shopping for breakfast – why not give oats a try?

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