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Here’s why your child should eat oats for breakfast

Oats provide several impressive health benefits and add variety to breakfast.


Updated: February 11, 2019 11:39:06 am
oatsOats are a good source of complex carbs and fibre. (Source: Dreamstime)
oats Oats are a good source of complex carbs and fibre. (Source: Dreamstime)

Many foods that kids love are not exactly rich in fibre, so loading them up with a bowl of oatmeal in the morning can help them to meet the daily requirement of fibre.

By Dr Seema Khanna

Oats are among the healthiest grains. Pure oats are gluten-free whole grain and a great source of important vitamins, minerals, fibre and antioxidants. The scientific name of oats is Avena Sativa. Raw unprocessed oats take a long time to cook. For this reason, most people prefer instant (quick) oats or steel-cut oats. These are a highly processed variety hence they take the shortest time to cook. Oats are commonly eaten for breakfast with milk as oats porridge (cooked in milk). Nowadays, salty vegetable oats are also available which diabetic and obese kids can take.

These are a good source of complex carbs and fibre, which are slowly absorbed and more calories are required for their breakdown, in turn reducing weight.

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Fibre beta glucan in oats is effective at reducing both total and LDL cholesterol levels. Children at the age of two years can eat oatmeal. A cup of oatmeal has 160 calories, six gm protein and four gm fibre. Many foods that kids love are not exactly rich in fibre, so loading them up with a bowl of oatmeal in the morning can help them to meet the daily requirement of fibre.

Oats can be made more nutritious and tasty by adding cinnamon, maple syrup and raisins. Oats are good for obese children due to complex carbs and soluble fibre. Oatmeal is very filling and contains less calories. Carbohydrate beta glucan also promotes the release of peptide, which is a hormone produced in the gut in response to eating. This satiety hormone has been successful in reducing calorie intake and may decrease the risk of obesity. It also decreases the risk of asthma (a common childhood disease). Oats are good for children with celiac disease as they are gluten-free.

Oat allergy and sensitivity both trigger an immune system response. This results in the formation of antibodies designed to combat an alien substance avenin, which the body perceives to be a threat.

Oats allergy is not common but can occur in infants, children and adults. An allergy to oats can result in symptoms ranging from mild to severe of the following:

  • Blotchy, irritated, itchy skin
  • Rash or skin irritation on and in mouth
  • Scratchy throat
  • Running nose or nasal congestion
  • Itchy eyes
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Oats happen to be a good source of vitamins and minerals. They are a fantastic source of fibre. Oats provide several impressive health benefits and add variety to breakfast. Kids can have multiple benefits of consuming oats at an early age. With benefits for all, oats make a great food and a healthy snack option.

(The writer is a Consultant Nutritionist.)

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