First let me say thank you to all of you who make the bars and recommend them to others. I would like to review some of the benefits you get from making them in this particular manner.
First there are four basic ingredients that you should never change or omit, the whole wheat and soy flours (I count this as one ingredient because they are both flours), the whole oats (or old fashioned oats), the craisins (dried cranberries), and the flax seeds (these MUST be ground to release the benefit). Let me say now, that you can do anything you like to the recipe, you are the one making it. I am only emphasizing that you MUST NOT change those ingredients if you want the full benefits these bars have to offer.
So, here is the list and links or articles to read what the benefits are to you:
Whole grain flour:
Between 65 and 90 percent of the calories in grains come from carbohydrates (mostly complex), which should comprise about two-thirds or more of the calories you consume each day. Grains are also rich in both soluble fiber (the kind that lowers blood-cholesterol levels) and insoluble (the kind that helps to prevent constipation and protects against some forms of cancer). People living in areas where unrefined whole grains make up a significant part of the diet are alleged to have a lower incidence of intestinal and bowel problems, such as colon cancer, diverticulosis, and hemorrhoids, than those who live in the industrialized countries of Europe and North America, where grains are a less important component of the diet. Moreover, grains – especially whole grains – and grain products offer significant amounts of B vitamins (riboflavin, thiamin, and niacin), vitamin E, iron, zinc, calcium, selenium, and magnesium).
Reaping the Benefits
of Whole Grains
A Consumer Guide
Health experts advise everyone – men and women, young and old – to eat more "whole grains" and to cut back on "refined grains."
But what’s a whole grain? And why does it matter?
Whole grains are less processed than highly refined grains, and are therefore more nutritious. Eating them reduces the risks of heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and obesity. Whole grains include wheat, corn, rice, oats, barley, quinoa, sorghum, spelt, rye – and even popcorn! Yet even consumers who are aware of the health benefits of whole grains are often unsure how to find them and prepare them.
This Consumer Guide offers practical suggestions for eating whole grains at every meal, and information on why eating whole grains is recommended by leading health experts.
What are Whole Grains?
In their natural state growing in the fields, whole grains are the entire seed of a plant. This seed (which industry calls a "kernel") is made up of three key parts: the bran, the germ, and the endosperm.
The bran is the multi-layered outer skin of the kernel, and is tough enough to protect the other two parts of the kernel from assaults by sunlight, pests, water, and disease. It contains important antioxidants, B vitamins and fiber.
The germ is the embryo which, if fertilized by pollen, will sprout into a new plant. It contains many B vitamins, some protein, minerals, and healthy fats.
The endosperm is the germ’s food supply, which provides essential energy to the young plant so it can send roots down for water and nutrients, and send sprouts up for sunlight’s photosynthesizing power. The endosperm is by far the largest portion of the kernel. It contains starchy carbohydrates, proteins and small amounts of vitamins and minerals.
Whole grains contain all three parts of the kernel. Refining normally removes the bran and the germ, leaving only the endosperm. Without the bran and germ, about 25% of a grain’s protein is lost, along with at least seventeen key nutrients. Processors add back some vitamins and minerals to enrich refined grains, so refined products still contribute valuable nutrients. But whole grains are healthier, providing more protein, more fiber and many important vitamins and minerals.
Whole grains may be eaten whole, cracked, split or ground. They can be milled into flour or used to make breads, cereals and other processed foods. If a food label states that the package contains whole grain, the "whole grain" part of the food inside the package is required to have virtually the same proportions of bran, germ, and endosperm as the harvested kernel does before it is processed.
Whole grains currently make up about 10 percent of grains on supermarket shelves. At a time when health professionals urge consumers to eat at least half of their grains as whole grains, it’s a challenge for consumers to find these healthier whole grains in a sea of refined grain foods.
What are the Benefits of Whole Grains?
Consumers are increasingly aware that fruits and vegetables contain disease-fighting phytochemicals and antioxidants, but they do not realize whole grains are often an even better source of these key nutrients. Moreover, whole grains have some valuable antioxidants not found in fruits and vegetables, as well as B vitamins, vitamin E, magnesium, iron and fiber.
The medical evidence is clear that whole grains reduce risks of heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and obesity. Few foods can offer such diverse benefits.
People who eat whole grains regularly have a lower risk of obesity, as measured by their body mass index and waist-to-hip ratios. They also have lower cholesterol levels. Because of the phytochemicals and antioxidants, people who eat three daily servings of whole grains have been shown to reduce their risk of heart disease by 25-36%, stroke by 37%, Type II diabetes by 21-27%, digestive system cancers by 21-43%, and hormone-related cancers by 10-40%.
How Much Whole Grain is a Good Idea?
The health evidence has convinced The American Heart Association, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Healthy People 2010 Report all to recommend at least three servings of whole grains per day. Yet the average American eats less than one daily serving of whole grains, and over 30% of Americans never eat whole grains at all.
Soy flour is made from roasted soybeans that have been ground into a powder.
Two types of soy flour are available: regular (full-fat) flour and defatted flour from which the oil has been removed during processing.
Buying and storing tips
Soy flour is available in natural foods stores and in some supermarkets. Because soy flour must always be refrigerated, it is not often available in bulk. Keep soy flour in the refrigerator for several months or in the freezer for up to a year.
Soy flour is available year-round.
Preparation, uses, and tips
Since soy flour can become packed in its bag or container, always stir it before measuring. Soy flour can be used as-is, or, for a pleasant nutty flavor, toast it before adding it to a recipe. Place the soy flour in a dry skillet and stir over medium heat for a few minutes.
Soy flour can be used as a thickening agent in gravies and sauces, or it can be added to baked goods. In baked products, soy adds tenderness and moisture and helps to keep products from becoming stale. Products containing soy flour brown more quickly, so it is sometimes necessary to either shorten the baking time or decrease the temperature slightly. For products that do not contain yeast, such as muffins and cookies, replace up to 1/4 the total amount of flour called for in a recipe with soy flour. For products that are yeast-raised, such as bread, replace up to 15% of the flour called for in the recipe by placing two tablespoons of soy flour in the cup before measuring each cup of flour. Using more soy flour than this will cause breads to be too heavy and dense, since soy flour is free of gluten, the protein that gives structure to yeast-raised baked products.
Soy flour also makes a good egg substitute in baked products. Replace one egg with 1 tablespoon of soy flour plus 1 tablespoon (15mL) of water.
Soybeans also contain hormone-like substances called phytoestrogens that mimic the action of the hormone oestrogen. The health benefits of soy for menopausal women could include fewer hot flushes, protection from coronary heart disease and lowered risk of osteoporosis.
Soybeans and menopausal hot flushes
Women in Japan and China typically have fewer hot flushes during menopause than their Western counterparts. This observation led to research into dietary differences, including the fact that Asian women tend to have soy-rich diets, while Western women have meat-rich diets.
It is thought that a soy-rich diet helps reduce menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes because the phytoestrogens act like a mild form of hormone replacement therapy. The reduction rate of hot flushes varies from one study to the next, from 1.9 per cent to 45 per cent. However, it should be noted that some women in the studies experienced a reduction in hot flushes while taking dummy treatments too (the placebo effect).
More research is needed, but soybeans seem to offer promise in helping some women to manage menopausal hot flushes. If phytoestrogens do work, studies suggest that you need at least 2-3 serves of soy products daily. This would mean either:
500ml soymilk per day
100g tofu per day
4-5 slices of soy linseed bread per day (depending on the brand).
Soybeans and coronary heart disease
Oestrogen may protect women against coronary heart disease during their reproductive years, but rates of heart disease increase remarkably after menopause. Soybeans have been shown to lower blood cholesterol levels as well as lipoproteins, both known risk factors for heart disease.
A meta-analysis (an analysis of a number of studies on a topic) of 38 clinical trials found that 31-47g of soy protein can reduce blood cholesterol levels by as much as 20 per cent. This amount of soy protein is found in two to three serves of soy products.
It isn't known whether the phytoestrogens or the soy proteins (or both, working in combination) are responsible for this health benefit. However, studies have shown that eating soy protein without isoflavones results in only small cholesterol reductions and isoflavone supplements alone have minimal cholesterol lowering effects.
The cholesterol lowering benefits of eating soy foods may be better if the total diet is high in carbohydrate. This seems to help with the breakdown of the isoflavones. In recognition of the evidence, the United States Food and Drug Administration approved a health claim in 1999 acknowledging the heart health benefits of including at least 25g soy protein daily in a diet low in saturated fat.
Other possible health benefits of soy
The soybean needs further research before its health benefits are conclusively known. The health benefits of soy are not without controversy. Some research suggests that it may adversely affect thyroid function in some people. The suggested health benefits of whole soy foods include:
Lowered blood pressure
Improvements to blood vessels, such as greater elasticity of artery walls
Reduced risk of osteoporosis
Protection against various cancers, including those of the breast, colon, prostate and skin
Management of endometriosis.
How much is enough?
Generally, it is thought that 30-50mg of isoflavones is enough to offer health benefits. Examples of the average isoflavone content in one serve include:
Half a cup of soybeans 40-75mg isoflavones
Quarter cup of soy flour 45-69mg isoflavones
One 250ml glass of soy drink 15-60mg isoflavones
One 115g block of tofu 13-43mg isoflavones
One 110g block of tempeh 41mg isoflavones
One container of soy yoghurt 26mg isoflavones
Two slices of soy bread 7-15mg isoflavones
Teaspoon of soy sauce 0.4-2.2mg isoflavones.
However, be aware that fermented soy products like soy sauce are high in salt.
Genetically modified soy products
Some people don't wish to eat genetically modified (GM) foods. Soy products imported from the United States are the main source of GM ingredients in food sold in Australia. Some soybean crops have been genetically modified to be resistant to herbicide but they are otherwise identical to the usual soybean.
GM soy is found in obvious soy products, such as tofu or soy flour, but it can also be found in a wide range of other foods such as chocolates, potato chips, margarine, mayonnaise, biscuits and bread. Food regulations in Australia require foods that contain genetically modified ingredients to be labelled.
If you want to increase your intake of phytoestrogens, you could:
Choose whole soy foods like soymilk, soy yoghurt, soy bread and tofu.
Check the ingredient list to make sure that the soy foods you buy are made from whole soybeans.
Ensure that products such as cereals contain soy protein and not just added isoflavone.
Other foods with phytoestrogens
You can also include other foods that contain phytoestrogens in your diet. For example:
Wholegrain cereals - like oats, wheat, corn, barley, rye and buckwheat.
Seeds - for example linseed, sunflower, pumpkin, sesame and tahini (sesame paste).
Nuts - for example almonds.
Sprouts - alfalfa.
Oils - extra virgin olive oil.
Other legumes - chickpeas, lentils and kidney beans.
What better way to gain the strength and energy to carry you through a hectic morning schedule than with a steaming bowl of freshly cooked oatmeal. Oats are harvested in the fall but are available throughout the year and can add extra nutrition to a variety of healthy dishes.
Oats, known scientifically as Avena sativa, are a hardy cereal grain able to withstand poor soil conditions in which other crops are unable to thrive. Oats gain part of their distinctive flavor from the roasting process that they undergo after being harvested and cleaned. Although oats are then hulled, this process does not strip away their bran and germ allowing them to retain a concentrated source of their fiber and nutrients.
Lower Cholesterol Levels
A steaming bowl of fresh cooked oatmeal is the perfect way to start off your day, especially if you are trying to prevent or are currently dealing with heart disease or diabetes. Oats, oat bran, and oatmeal contain a specific type of fiber known as beta-glucan. Since 1963, study after study has proven the beneficial effects of this special fiber on cholesterol levels. Studies show that in individuals with high cholesterol (above 220 mg/dl), consuming just 3 grams of soluble oat fiber per day (an amount found in one bowl of oatmeal) typically lowers total cholesterol by 8-23%. This is highly significant since each 1% drop in serum cholesterol translates to a 2% decrease in the risk of developing heart disease. High cholesterol levels correlate with the build up of plaques in blood vessel walls. If these plaques become damaged or simply grow too large, they can rupture, blocking a blood vessel and causing a heart attack, stroke, or blood clots elsewhere in the body. Lowering high cholesterol levels can therefore significantly reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke.
A study published in the September 8, 2003 edition of the Archives of Internal Medicine confirms that eating high fiber foods, such as oats, helps prevent heart disease. Almost 10,000 American adults participated in this study and were followed for 19 years, during which time 1,843 cases of coronary heart disease (CHD) and 3,762 cases of cardiovascular disease (CVD) were diagnosed. People eating the most fiber, 21 grams per day, had 12% less CHD and 11% less CVD compared to those eating the least, 5 grams daily. Those eating the most water-soluble dietary fiber fared even better with a 15% reduction in risk of CHD and a 10% risk reduction in CVD.
Unique Oat Antioxidants Reduce Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
Oats, via their high fiber content, are already known to help remove cholesterol from the digestive system that would otherwise end up in the bloodstream. Now, the latest research suggests they may have another cardio-protective mechanism.
Antioxidant compounds unique to oats, called avenanthramides, help prevent free radicals from damaging LDL cholesterol, thus reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, suggests a study conducted at Tufts University and published in the June 2004 issue of The Journal of Nutrition.
In this study, hamsters were fed saline containing 0.25 grams of phenol-rich oat bran, after which blood samples were taken at intervals from 20 to 120 minutes. After 40 minutes, blood concentrations of avenanthramides had peaked, showing these compounds were bioavailable (able to be absorbed).
Next, the researchers tested the antioxidant ability of avenanthramides to protect LDL cholesterol against oxidation (free radical damage) induced by copper. Not only did the avenanthramides increase the amount of time before LDL became oxidized, but when vitamin C was added, the oat phenols interacted synergistically with the vitamin, extending the time during which LDL was protected from 137 to 216 minutes.
In another study also conducted at Tufts and published in the July 2004 issue of Atherosclerosis, researchers exposed human arterial wall cells to purified avenenthramides from oats for 24 hours, and found that these oat phenols significantly suppressed the production of several types of molecules involved in the attachment of monocytes (immune cells in the bloodstream) to the arterial wall—the first step in the development of atherosclerosis.
Oat avenanthamides suppressed production of ICAM-1 (intracellular adhesion molecule-1) and VCAM-1 (vascular adhesion molecule-1), E-selectin, and the secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines KL-6, chemokines IL-8 and protein MCP-1 (monocyte chemoattractant protein). Our advice: Cut an orange in quarters or pour yourself a glass of orange juice to enjoy along with your oatmeal. If you prefer some other grain for your breakfast cereal, top it with a heaping spoonful of oat bran.
Enhance Immune Response to Infection
In laboratory studies reported in the August 2004 issue of , a compound found in oats called beta-glucan significantly enhanced the human immune system's response to bacterial infection. Beta-glucan not only helps neutrophils (the most abundant type of non-specific immune cell) navigate to the site of an infection more quickly, it also enhances their ability to eliminate the bacteria they find there.
According to study leader Jonathan Reichner of the Department of Surgery at Rhode Island Hospital and Brown University, priming neutrophils with beta-glucan helps these immune defenders quickly locate the bacterial mother lode within infected tissue. And this more rapid response to infection results in faster microbial clearance and healing. Since our non-specific immune defenses are the body's first strike forces against invading pathogens, starting your day with a bowl of oatmeal may boost your immune response in addition to your morning energy levels.
Stabilize Blood Sugar
Studies also show that beta-glucan has beneficial effects in diabetes as well. Non-Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus (NIDDM) patients given foods high in this type of oat fiber or given oatmeal or oat-bran rich foods experienced much lower rises in blood sugar compared to those who were given white rice or bread. Starting out your day with a blood sugar stabilizing food such as oats may make it easier to keep blood sugar levels under control the rest of the day, especially when the rest of your day is also supported with nourishing fiber-rich foods. Antioxidant and Anti-Cancer Benefits
In addition to its fiber benefits, oats are also a very good source of selenium. A necessary cofactor of the important antioxidant, glutathione peroxidase, selenium works with vitamin E in numerous vital antioxidant systems throughout the body. These powerful antioxidant actions make selenium helpful in decreasing asthma symptoms and in the prevention of heart disease. In addition, selenium is involved in DNA repair and is associated with a reduced risk for cancer, especially colon cancer.
Anti-Cancer Activity Equal to or Even Higher than that of Vegetables and Fruits
Research reported at the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) International Conference on Food, Nutrition and Cancer, by Rui Hai Liu, M.D., Ph.D., and his colleagues at Cornell University shows that whole grains, such as oats, contain many powerful phytonutrients whose activity has gone unrecognized because research methods have overlooked them.
Despite the fact that for years researchers have been measuring the antioxidant power of a wide array of phytochemicals, they have typically measured only the "free" forms of these substances, which dissolve quickly and are immediately absorbed into the bloodstream. They have not looked at the "bound" forms, which are attached to the walls of plant cells and must be released by intestinal bacteria during digestion before they can be absorbed.
Phenolics, powerful antioxidants that work in multiple ways to prevent disease, are one major class of phytochemicals that have been widely studied. Included in this broad category are such compounds as quercetin, curcumin, ellagic acid, catechins, and many others that appear frequently in the health news.
When Dr. Liu and his colleagues measured the relative amounts of phenolics, and whether they were present in bound or free form, in common fruits and vegetables like apples, red grapes, broccoli and spinach, they found that phenolics in the “free” form averaged 76% of the total number of phenolics in these foods. In whole grains, however, "free" phenolics accounted for less than 1% of the total, while the remaining 99% were in "bound" form.
In his presentation, Dr. Liu explained that because researchers have examined whole grains with the same process used to measure antioxidants in vegetables and fruits—looking for their content of "free" phenolics"—the amount and activity of antioxidants in whole grains has been vastly underestimated.
Despite the differences in fruits', vegetables' and whole grains' content of "free" and "bound" phenolics, the total antioxidant activity in all three types of whole foods is similar, according to Dr. Liu's research. His team measured the antioxidant activity of various foods, assigning each a rating based on a formula (micromoles of vitamin C equivalent per gram). Broccoli and spinach measured 80 and 81, respectively; apple and banana measured 98 and 65; and of the whole grains tested, corn measured 181, whole wheat 77, oats 75, and brown rice 56.
Dr. Liu's findings may help explain why studies have shown that populations eating diets high in fiber-rich whole grains consistently have lower risk for colon cancer, yet short-term clinical trials that have focused on fiber alone in lowering colon cancer risk, often to the point of giving subjects isolated fiber supplements, yield inconsistent results. The explanation is most likely that these studies have not taken into account the interactive effects of all the nutrients in whole grains—not just their fiber, but also their many phytonutrients. As far as whole grains are concerned, Dr. Liu believes that the key to their powerful cancer-fighting potential is precisely their wholeness. A grain of whole wheat consists of three parts—its endosperm (starch), bran and germ. When wheat—or any whole grain—is refined, its bran and germ are removed. Although these two parts make up only 15-17% of the grain's weight, they contain 83% of its phenolics. Dr. Liu says his recent findings on the antioxidant content of whole grains reinforce the message that a variety of foods should be eaten good health. “Different plant foods have different phytochemicals,” he said. “These substances go to different organs, tissues and cells, where they perform different functions. What your body needs to ward off disease is this synergistic effect – this teamwork – that is produced by eating a wide variety of plant foods, including whole grains.”
Lignans Protect against Cancers and Heart Disease
One type of phytochemical especially abundant in whole grains including oats are plant lignans, which are converted by friendly flora in our intestines into mammalian lignans, including one called enterolactone that is thought to protect against breast and other hormone-dependent cancers as well as heart disease. In addition to whole grains, nuts, seeds and berries are rich sources of plant lignans, and vegetables, fruits, and beverages such as coffee, tea and wine also contain some. When blood levels of enterolactone were measured in 857 postmenopausal women in a Danish study published in the October 2004 issue of the Journal of Nutrition, women eating the most whole grains were found to have significantly higher blood levels of this protective lignan. Women who ate more cabbage and leafy vegetables also had higher enterolactone levels.
A Well-tolerated Wheat Alternative for Children and Adults with Celiac Disease
Although treatment of celiac disease has been thought to require lifelong avoidance of the protein gluten, which is found in wheat, rye, barley and oats, recent studies of adults have shown that oats, despite the small amount of gluten they contain, are well-tolerated. Now, a double blind, multi-center study involving 8 clinics treating 116 children newly diagnosed celiac disease suggests oats are a good grain choice for children with celiac disease as well. The children were randomly assigned to receive either the standard gluten-free diet (no wheat, barley, rye or oats) or a gluten-free diet with some wheat-free oat products. At the end of the study, which ran for a year, all the children were doing well, and in both groups, the mucosal lining of the small bowel (which is damaged by wheat gluten in celiac disease) had healed and the immune system (which is excessively reactive in celiac patients) had returned to normal.
Meta-analysis Explains Whole Grains' Health Benefits
In many studies, eating whole grains, such as oats, has been linked to protection against atherosclerosis, ischemic stroke, diabetes, insulin resistance, obesity, and premature death. A new study and accompanying editorial, published in the December 2004 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition explains the likely reasons behind these findings and recommends at least 3 servings of whole grains should be eaten daily.
Whole grains are excellent sources of fiber. In this meta-analysis of 7 studies including more than150 000 persons, those whose diets provided the highest dietary fiber intake had a 29% lower risk of cardiovascular disease compared to those with the lowest fiber intake.
But it's not just fiber's ability to serve as a bulking agent that is responsible for its beneficial effects as a component of whole grains. Wheat bran, for example, which constitutes 15% of most whole-grain wheat kernels but is virtually non-existent in refined wheat flour, is rich in minerals, antioxidants, lignans, and other phytochemicals—as well as in fiber.
In addition to the matrix of nutrients in their dietary fibers, the whole-grain arsenal includes a wide variety of additional nutrients and phytochemicals that reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Compounds in whole grains that have cholesterol-lowering effects include polyunsaturated fatty acids, oligosaccharides, plant sterols and stanols, and saponins.
Whole grains are also important dietary sources of water-soluble, fat-soluble, and insoluble antioxidants. The long list of cereal antioxidants includes vitamin E, tocotrieonols, selenium, phenolic acids, and phytic acid. These multifunctional antioxidants come in immediate-release to slow-release forms and thus are available throughout the gastrointestinal tract over a long period after being consumed.
The high antioxidant capacity of wheat bran, for example, is 20-fold that of refined wheat flour (endosperm). Although the role of antioxidant supplements in protecting against cardiovascular disease has been questioned, prospective population studies consistently suggest that when consumed in whole foods, antioxidants are associated with significant protection against cardiovascular disease. Because free radical damage to cholesterol appears to contribute significantly to the development of atherosclerosis, the broad range of antioxidant activities from the phytochemicals abundant in whole-grains is thought to play a strong role in their cardio-protective effects.
Like soybeans, whole grains are good sources of phytoestrogens, plant compounds that may affect blood cholesterol levels, blood vessel elasticity, bone metabolism, and many other cellular metabolic processes.
Whole grains are rich sources of lignans that are converted by the human gut to enterolactone and enterodiole. In studies of Finnish men, blood levels of enterolactone have been found to have an inverse relation not just to cardiovascular-related death, but to all causes of death, which suggests that the plant lignans in whole grains may play an important role in their protective effects.
Lower insulin levels may also contribute to the protective effects of whole grains. In many persons, the risks of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity are linked to insulin resistance. Higher intakes of whole grains are associated with increased sensitivity to insulin in population studies and clinical trials. Why? Because whole grains improve insulin sensitivity by lowering the glycemic index of the diet while increasing its content of fiber, magnesium, and vitamin E.
The whole kernel of truth: as part of your healthy way of eating, whole grains can significantly lower your risk of cardiovascular disease, obesity and type 2 diabetes. Enjoy at least 3 servings a day. No idea how to cook whole grains? Just look at the "How to Enjoy" section in our profiles of the whole grains, or for quick, easy, delicious recipes, click on this link to our Recipe Assistant and select oats or whichever whole grain you would like to prepare. Description
Oats, known scientifically as Avena sativa, are a hardy cereal grain able to withstand poor soil conditions in which other crops are unable to thrive. Their fortitude seems to be transferred to those who consume this nutrient-dense grain. After all, when we think of a satisfying and enriching way to start the day, one that gives us strength and lasting energy, we oftentimes relish the thought of a hot bowl of oatmeal.
Oats gain part of their distinctive flavor from the roasting process that they undergo after being harvested and cleaned. Although oats are then hulled, this process does not strip away their bran and their germ allowing them to retain a concentrated source of their fiber and nutrients. Different types of processing are then used to produce the various types of oat products, which are generally used to make breakfast cereals, baked goods and stuffings:
Oat groats: unflattened kernels that are good for using as a breakfast cereal or for stuffing
Steel-cut oats: featuring a dense and chewy texture they are produced by running the grain through steel blades which thinly slices them.
Old-fashioned oats: have a flatter shape that is the result of their being steamed and then rolled.
Quick-cooking oats: processed like old-fashioned oats, except they are cut finely before rolling
Instant oatmeal: produced by partially cooking the grains and then rolling them very thin. Oftentimes, sugar, salt and other ingredients are added to make the finished product.
Oat bran: the outer layer of the grain that resides under the hull. While oat bran is found in rolled oats and steel-cut oats, it may also be purchased as a separate product that can be added to recipes or cooked to make a hot cereal.
Oat flour: used in baking, it is oftentimes combined with wheat or other gluten-containing flours when making leavened bread.
The modern oat draws its ancestry from the wild red oat, a plant originating in Asia. Oats have been cultivated for two thousand years in various regions throughout the world. Before being consumed as a food, oats were used for medicinal purposes, a use for which they are still honored. The growing of oats in Europe was widespread, and oats constituted an important commercial crop since they were a dietary staple for the people of many countries including Scotland, Great Britain, Germany and the Scandinavian countries. Oats were introduced into North America by the first Scottish settlers in the early 17th century. Today, the largest commercial producers of oats include the Russian Federation, the United States, Germany, Poland and Finland. How to Select and Store
Buy small quantities of oats at one time since this grain has a slightly higher fat content than other grains and will go rancid more quickly. Oats are generally available in prepackaged containers as well as bulk bins. Just as with any other food that you may purchase in the bulk section, make sure that the bins containing the oats are covered, free from debris and that the store has a good product turnover so as to ensure its maximal freshness. Smell the oats to make sure that they are fresh. Whether purchasing oats in bulk or in a packaged container, make sure there is no evidence of moisture.
If you purchase prepared oatmeal products such as oatmeal, look at the ingredients to ensure that the product does not contain any salt, sugar or other additives. Store oatmeal in an airtight container in a cool, dry and dark place where they will keep for approximately two months.
Dried cranberries: Most people buy these as 'craisins'.
Cranberry is a relatively small, red berry, which grows on low-hanging vines in temperate zones in many regions of the United States and other parts of the world. Cranberry can be taken as a juice or the whole berry or from an extract of these. For maximum health benefit cranberry juice should be of the unsweetened variety.
It has been reported that the active ingredients in cranberry include chemical compounds called proanthocyanidins. Proanthocyanidins are potent antioxidants that appear to be able to decrease bacterial adherence to the bladder epithelium cells. The main benefit of this phenomena is that consequently bacteria have less likelihood of grouping together to cause bladder infection.
Suggested Health Benefits of Cranberry
Urinary Tract Infections - Many people take cranberry supplments to prevent urinary tract infections, caused by bacteria. Specifically, the proanthocyanidins found in cranberry appear to block the adhesive strands, on the E. coli bacteria from sticking to a surface whereby inhibiting their ability to stick to the cell walls of the uterus and bladder.
Reduction of Dental Plaque - It is believed that cranberry juice can inhibit the aggregation of bacteria that cause dental plaque.
Anti-Cancer Activity - Based on evaluation of several vitro screening tests it has been suggested that teh proanthocyanidin compounds found in cranberry and exhibit potential anticarcinogenic activity.
Heart Disease - Cranberry extract has been shown to inhibit low density lipoprotein oxidation. Since this process is believed to be part of what can cause heart disease, and prevention of oxidation through cranberry supplementation can potentially reduce the risk of heart disease.
Kidney stones - Some medical professionals and specialists believe that quinic acid abundant in cranberry may help to prevent the development of kidney stones.
Flax seeds: (note that you must use these seeds ground or you will not digest them and won't get the benefits). You can purchase 'flax seed meal' and that is ground flax seeds, be sure to freeze what you don't use or it will go rancid.
Flax seed: Premium Food Delivering High Performance If you think of your body as an engine, you realize the importance of maintaining its upkeep and providing it with high value nourishment for its fuel source. Our bodies use the oxygen in the air we inhale to produce body heat and energy. The food we eat acts as fuel, which is oxidized or “burned up” in the body to release energy. This process is only part of a complex series of reactions in the body referred to as metabolism. Various chemical reactions are initiated in the metabolic process within each of the body’s trillion or more cells. Every minute of every day our cells are busy breaking down the molecules of certain substances and building up the molecules of others. When we refuel our bodies with essential nutrients – the engine keeps working efficiently with minimal risk of breakdown. But when we consistently try to refuel with foods of poor nutritional value – the engine, your body, starts to work inefficiently and may lead to various health problems. So, doesn’t it make sense to blend some healthful nutrients into your present diet to help prevent future problems?
We feel golden flaxseed can be an easy and extremely beneficial addition to everyone’s diet. Flax seed, also known as linseed, is noted to have high nutritional value, making it a priority choice of food for health conscious people.
Nutritionally Speaking…Nutrition is defined as the sum of the processes by which an animal or plant absorbs and uses food substances. The fundamental activities of the human body, such as the intake of food, digestion, release of energy, elimination of wastes and use of essential nutrients is a well researched field. As a person who is interested in nutrition, you probably know what food groups maintain and promote good health. But following those dietary habits is usually another challenge. To fully understand what nutrition and eating right really mean, it is necessary to know something about the composition of food and body metabolism.
Understanding why you eat certain foods is essential in maintaining life-long health habits. Certainly, pleasing taste and visual appeal is one reason we make food choices. Yet, choosing foods that keep our body working as a finely tuned machine is also the goal that healthy-minded individuals strive to achieve.
News Flash – "There Is No Magic Pill to Guarantee Healthy Living?"You know that and we know that. Yet, unfortunately, we sometimes fall prey to the simplistic thinking that we need to subscribe to an "all or nothing" philosophy when it comes to our dietary habits. As with all of life, healthy diet and physical activity habits need to maintain a balance with the rest of your life. With that concept in mind, it makes sense to incorporate or blend natural, nutrient-packed food products in with your present diet.
We recognize it is the rare person who is ready to make drastic changes in their dietary habits for the long-haul. We feel people are most likely to loosen their hold on old habits and make constructive changes in their lives when they understand the logic or rationale for those changes.
The information provided in this website will encourage and hopefully inspire you to make healthy choices with your dietary habits that are easily assimilated into your present diet. Adding just 1/8-1/4 cup of flaxseed to your daily diet can help reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and assists with healthy weight management. Research also indicates that properties in flax seed can be helpful dietary additions to persons with attention-deficit disorder (ADD) and illnesses that suppress the body’s natural immune system, such as lupus and varying forms of arthritis. Please link to these corresponding pages for additional information, and also research links found on this website.
How Does Flax Do All of That?How can a little seed, the same size as a sesame seed, be packed with these types of health benefits? It packs a powerful nutritious punch in a small package. The following information is presented to give you further information about the nutritive components of flaxseed. Understanding these components is helpful to fully understand its preventative abilities for chronic illnesses and health problems.
Flax - Seeds of WonderGolden Flax seed has the natural properties of fiber, lignans and omega-3 fatty acids that provide preventative and restorative abilities to your diet.
These impressive compounds in flaxseed are igniting a flurry of research. Thus far, the research has proven that this small and humble seed can be an essential addition to the average diet. Understanding the role of fiber, lignans and omega-3 fatty acids can provide you with helpful information as you assess your own dietary needs.
So, if you have any more questions, just drop me a note and I will answer as best as I can. Hopefully, with all this information on this thread, I won't have to repeat myself over and over. I hope you enjoy the benefits these yummy bars can provide!