In Jamie’s current TV series, Jamie’s Super Food, he’s uncovering the foodie secrets of some of the healthiest nations on the planet.
Episode 3 saw him in Switzerland, where the population lives to a remarkable 82.6 years on average, and the childhood obesity rate is an impressively low 6%.
The Swiss diet includes a high volume of oats and grains, which lower cholesterol and keep our digestive systems healthy. In fact, oats are the only ingredient with a proven health claim to reduce blood cholesterol – we like that! Jamie discovered how the Swiss use wholegrains and oats in hero national recipes, such as Bircher muesli and hearty mountain broths.
ARE OATS GOOD FOR YOU?
Oats are a fantastic source of lots of essential vitamins and minerals. They are especially high in the B-vitamin thiamine, which our hearts need to function properly. Manganese is also found in oats, which keeps all the bones and connective tissue in our bodies strong and healthy. They are high in the mineral phosphorus, which helps to keep both our teeth and bones healthy.
Packed with fibre, oats are also great for keeping our gut in good working order, and the high levels of beta glucans reduce blood cholesterol, which helps prevent heart disease. Oats keep us fuller for longer, which is great for reducing snacking. As a vegan source of iron, oats are also a really useful ingredient if you don’t eat meat. As a soluble fibre, oats are a type of carbohydrate – get the lowdown on good carbs in Jamie’s helpful guide.
DO OATS CONTAIN GLUTEN?
Oats don’t naturally contain gluten, but the way they are harvested and processed often adds the risk of gluten being introduced (from other grains and flours). Many oat brands now specify whether they are guaranteed gluten-free, so to be safe, check the pack before you buy.
7 TASTY IDEAS WITH OATS
Healthy, filling, delicious and so incredibly versatile – porridge is the ultimate way to start the day. Get creative and add your favourite toppings, whether that’s nuts, fruit, yoghurt or spices. These ideas for porridge four ways are a great place to start, or branch out with this super-delicious four-grain coconut porridge bowl.
Oats can give some real oomph to all sorts of smoothie recipes, such as Jools’ berry or mango, passion fruit & mint numbers, both of which are perfect for a healthy, hearty breakfast. You can also freeze your mix for a nutritious summer treat.
Soaking oats overnight means they soften beautifully, and are easier to digest than if they’re totally raw. Save time in the morning by making Jools’ breakfast on the go the night before.
Bake oats into soft, buttery, knobbly biscuits. With a little warming spice from the cinnamon, these gorgeous raisin-studded cookies are also gluten-free – perfect with a good cuppa.
Take flapjacks to a whole new level with this incredible recipe for oaty energy bars, made extra special with a scattering of rich dried fruit, beautiful green pistachio nuts and little pockets of melted dark chocolate. Heaven!
Oats take on a lovely golden colour and a gloriously crumbly texture when they’re baked on top of a gooey fruit crumble. It’s the dream texture and flavour combo.
Adding a handful of oats to shortbread gives it a bit more ‘body’ and a lovely crunchy top. This recipe also uses poppy seeds for super-varied texture and a brilliant speckled look – great for an afternoon tea spread.
For loads more tasty meals for all the family, head to Jamie’s Family Food hub and be sure to catch Jamie’s Super Food, every Friday at 8pm on Channel 4.