You could be forgiven for being more than a tad interested in what Princess Kate – aka Kate Middleton – has for breakfast.
It makes complete sense given her long, lean limbs that appear well fuelled to deal with whatever is thrown at her in busy, royal life.
With reports that Kate routinely downs a bowl of oats along with a green juice every day without fail, should all of us be including a bowl of nourishing oats to kick start our day?
Why are oats a superfood?
Nutritionally, oats frequent superfood lists for a number of reasons.
First and foremost, they are a whole food, and as such are minimally processed and as a wholegrain, offer high levels of a number of essential nutrients including the B group vitamins, zinc, magnesium and selenium.
Oats are also naturally high in dietary fibre, and specifically the soluble fibre beta glucan, a type of fibre that helps to naturally keep cholesterol levels controlled, aids insulin action and helps to support the growth of good bacteria in the digestive tract.
Oats also appear to have a positive effect on blood pressure, thanks to the group of antioxidants called avenanthramides which help to increase the production of nitric oxide in the body.
Nitric oxide helps to dilate the blood vessels, aiding blood flow.
They offer a perfect nutrient balance
It is not only the large range of key nutrients oats contain that make it such a special wholefood, but also the mix of good quality protein and carbohydrate as well as dietary fibre. This means that a bowl of oats offers a unique breakfast balance that simultaneously offers a source of fuel for the muscles, as well as protein to aid muscle growth and repair and support satiety.
They are one of the most filling foods you can eat
When foods are ranked according to their “fullness factor” or how long after eating they keep people feeling full and satisfied, oats are one of the highest rated foods.
Thanks to their reasonably high protein and dietary fibre content, especially when enjoyed with protein rich soy or dairy milk or yoghurt, oats are one of the breakfast meals likely to keep you going until lunchtime.
The added benefit of which is that a bowl of oats is more likely to see you cut out the midmorning snacking on high calorie pastries and morning tea treats, aiding calorie control.
They support optimal blood glucose control
One area of nutrition that does not get nearly enough attention is blood glucose control, and the key role it plays in the health of the body’s cells throughout the lifespan.
High blood glucose levels over time, as a result of consuming refined carbohydrates, or carbs that have a high GI (glycaemic index), have a negative effect on cell health, resulting in cellular damage, ageing in the cell and negatively impacting hormone control.
On the other hand, low GI foods such as oats release glucose more slowly into the bloodstream, helping to optimise cell function and health long term. This means that a wholegrain, oat-based breakfast is helping to preserve cell health, supporting well controlled energy levels and even helping to slow the ageing process.
They are cost effective
With the cost of food going through the roof, oats are also one of the most inexpensive foods you can find, with an entire bag of whole oats costing as little as a dollar or two.
This makes oats one of the cheapest nutrient rich breakfasts you can find.
Which variety is best?
There are many different varieties of oats, from quick cook to steel cut to instant, and while all are relatively good choices, whole traditional oats or steel cut are slightly better nutritionally, as they have a lower GI, which will aid glucose control and support appetite control.
What about adding sugar?
The only real downside of eating oats for breakfast each day is if your preference is to add bucketloads of sugar to your porridge, as this naturally increases the calorie load and glycaemic index of your oat-based breakfast.
Adding some fresh fruit is no issue, or a low sugar yet flavoured yoghurt.
Sweet flavours minus the sugar, such as vanilla or cinnamon, will give you the sweetness you need, minus the extra sugars and calories.
Do I need a green juice?
Let’s not forget that another key component of the reported breakfast of the Princess of Wales is a green juice, and while the oats are a nutritionally strong breakfast choice, so too is a decent serve of greens before 8am.
With very few Aussies getting anywhere near the recommended minimum of five serves of veggies a day, let alone a serve or two of nutrient rich green veggies, your nutrition is only likely to benefit if you add some more greens to your brekky.
You may even start to glow a little more, a bit like Miss Middleton herself.
Susie Burrell is a dietitian and nutritionist and holds a Master’s degree in coaching psychology.