There is nothing better than a warming, hearty bowl of porridge to get you going in the morning…perhaps with some delicious stewed fruit and nut butter on top? Sounds so dreamy doesn’t it. We’ve come a long way from oats cooked in water with a pinch of salt ("please sir, I do NOT want some more"), and there are whole cafes and Instagram accounts dedicated to just porridge. Maybe it’s because it’s so satisfying, and, if you go for all the toppings, can be quite decadent and indulgent too. But is porridge really what our bodies want first thing in the morning?
Oats are whole grains which quite literally means you’re using the entire grain seed, existing of three parts: the bran, germ and endosperm which give you phytonutrients, vitamins and antioxidants. By contrast, processed “white” versions (think polished white rice, pasta etc) have the bran and germ parts removed and therefore you loose a lot of the nutrition. Whole grains have been said to provide many nutritional benefits and you will have noticed many more breakfast cereals and breads these days advertising themselves as ‘wholegrain’ to butter you up and make us think they are the healthier option.
A study by the University of Harvard involving 100,00 participants over 14 years found that those who consumed 28g of whole grains everyday were consequently reducing their risk of death by 5%!  Whole grains are great for protecting you against many vicious diseases such as heart disease as they contain beta-glucan, which helps to lower cholesterol. Oats especially are known for being “slow releasing,” meaning they wont spike your blood sugar in the same way that a refined, white alternative would – white toast and jam for example.
Oats are high in Magnesium with 120mg per 100g dry matter, they also beat corn, buckwheat, millet and rice in their Iron content (4.5mg per 100g) and come top, top of the leader board for Zinc content – 3.6mg. Zinc is a very fragile mineral and is often scarce in our food sources and yet extremely vital for health. They are also a great source of B vitamins, especially Folate, B5 and Biotin. The B vitamin group is essential for our Krebs cycle (don’t be afraid of the weird name), it simply means that they act as co-factors for energy producing systems in our body. More B vitamins, more energy.
They also score pretty well on the protein front with 12.2g of protein per 100g.
However, let’s not forget about the fact that oats are still a carbohydrate, and that means they will still break down into sugar via digestion. Does anyone find that their big bowl of porridge and fruit leaves them feeling empty and hangry a few hours later? To be honest it varies from person to person; some people thrive on carbohydrates whereas others do much better on a more keto style protein and fats diet.
Actually one of the best ways to start your day is with some good quality proteins and fats as well as your carbohydrates which provide an easy source of glucose for our brains to utilise as fuel. Adding a dollop of nut butter onto your porridge will slow down the metabolism of the sugars, thus helping to stabilise your blood glucose levels, and even better, you could stir in some hemp or pea protein too. #proats
We make our Super Porridge with our home-made almond milk, which is a whopping 10% almonds, so you get lots of nice healthy fats from that too and a hit of plant protein to boot!
So as you can see, it's never really black and white and so much of it depends on you as a person and what makes your body feel good. If oats make you feel good then eat them, if they don't then don't! The good thing is that if you do, you now know that you're providing your body with some really awesome nutrients to fuel your morning.
Happy World Porridge Day!