Oats have been eaten for centuries and there are a number of reasons for this. They taste great, they are filling and they pack a real punch when it comes goodness. Oats are perfect for runners but why should they fit oats into their diet?
Oats are jammed full of nutrients such as complex carbohydrates and dietary fibre. However, there is much more to them as they also contain protein. In fact, oats have as much protein as Quinoa! Protein is something we all need and it is the building blocks of life, but oats are not a whole protein which means that they need to be combined with something else to make it a complete protein such as milk.
So, carbohydrates, fibre and protein are the basic nutrients, but there is more to oats than many realise.
This is a type of sugar that is found in the cell walls of oats. However, there is more to it than it just being a simple carbohydrate. It has been found that it can help to reduce the risk of upper respiratory tract infections which is great news for runners. Any illnesses of the respiratory system can stop a runner in their tracks and significantly hamper their training.
The body only contains a small amount of manganese but low levels can slow down the recovery process and lead to increased fatigue. This can mean that runners can hit “the wall” as their blood sugar levels are not stable. Oats have one of the highest concentrations of manganese and just one cup of oats can contain the recommended daily allowance of manganese.
Oats contain flavonoids which are natural antioxidants that help to remove free radicals from the body. These are harmful molecules that can increase the risk of certain diseases. One group of flavonoids, avenanthramides are found in oats, which is the only grain to contain them. They can help to reduce cholesterol which in turn can lead to a healthier heart.
These are vital to our health but often, the body can struggle to absorb them. However, many flavanoids are fat-soluble and that means that when they are combined with fat, such as milk with your oats, it enables the body to absorb them easily
They are fast fuelling
The great thing about oats is that they provide the right amount of energy quickly. They also release energy slowly and that means that they are perfect for runners. Whether it is running for enjoyment or running as part of a training schedule for an event, oats should form part of the diet. They are not only rich in nutrients but they also contain nutrients that cannot be found in other foods, all of which are highly beneficial to runners.