What happens to most of the healthy water soluble fiber oats food products? It sure doesn’t get turned into oat bran muffins, cookies, or cakes. Unfortunately, most of the oats grown in California gets fed to livestock animals.
Since oats have gluten, instead you could eat a gluten-free, high-protein grain such as red quinoa, for example, as the price often is set in some supermarkets at nearly nine dollars a pound. But average families may not be able to afford imported quinoa that comes in three colors. Ordinary cream-colored quinoa is about half the price of red quinoa.
Eating your oats
It’s healthy to eat the same type of foods that animals usually forage for because of the micronutrients in those foods such as oats. At the same time, anywhere in the USA, donated boxes of breakfast cereal and especially packages of processed oatmeal are some of the foods most often given to food banks around holiday times to be distributed to needy families. But as healthy as whole oat groats are, they’re grown mostly as a forage crop to feed to animals such as horses and other livestock.
In California, oat is grown almost exclusively as a forage crop in California and is fed as hay, greenchop forage, or silage to cattle, sheep, and horses. Dairies use oat alone, in mixtures with other small grains, or in mixtures with vetch, winter peas, or other legumes to increase forage protein content.
Oats go to horses and cattle
The pleasure horse market uses high-quality pure oat hay as a feed, according to the article, “The importance of small grain crops in California agriculture.” Fine stems and leafiness are important for this market. Oat is sometimes planted as a companion crop, or nurse crop, for alfalfa and can be seeded into old stands of alfalfa to increase forage yields in the last year of alfalfa production. Oat also is used as a cover crop.
A limited acreage of 25,000 to 30,000 acres (10,000 to 12,000 ha) of oat is grown for seed or as a feed grain for livestock. The grain can be fed to dairy cattle, horses, mules, replacement layers, and turkeys, as well as to hogs, beef cattle, and sheep. Oat grain is useful in dairy cattle and horse rations because of its high fiber and 12 to 15 percent whole grain protein, compared to 8 percent protein for corn and 10 percent for barley, according to the article, “The importance of small grain crops in California agriculture.”
Cook more oats for people because you can then eat like a horse
White-grained oat is processed into food products by the oat milling industry, but little, if any, California production is used for this purpose. Food products include oatmeal, oat flour, natural cereals, meat product extenders, cookies and breads, granolas, and baby food. So, folks, it’s time to look to oats for people. You should eat like a horse. They thrive on the best grains, and maybe you could also, at least as a side dish.
According to a December 12, 2010 Medical News Today article, “Whole-Grain Foods As Effective As Medication For High Blood Pressure,” a diet high in whole grains is “as effective as taking anti-hypertensive medications,” according to a new study by Scottish scientists published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Check out the abstract of the primary source study, “Whole- and refined-grain intakes and the risk of hypertension in women.”
Brown rice or bran?
Also compare some of these studies by U.C. Davis which has researched the health benefits of brown rice and rice bran, since Sacramento and the California Central Valley are rice-growing areas. For example, check out the local University of California Cooperative and Extension (UCCE) Rice Project at UC Davis.
Scotland also is an oats-growing area. So emphasis in that December 2010 study in Scotland focused on health benefits of whole oat grains and wheat. U.S. studies on the health effects of whole grain tend to be similar to what type of grains are grown in the various regional areas, such as rice grown in California and also in the Southeast.
Does eating whole-grain foods help to normalize or support blood pressure?
In the Scotland study, refined-grain intake was not associated with the risk of hypertension. But scientists observed a decrease in systolic blood pressure of 5-6mm Hg in the volunteers eating the whole-grain foods–oats and wheat in that study. Scientists in Scotland noted that this effect “is similar to what you might expect to get from using blood-pressure lowering drugs.”
The conclusion published in the study’s abstract also reported that “higher whole-grain intake was associated with a reduced risk of hypertension in middle-aged and older women, which suggests a potential role for increasing whole-grain intake in the primary prevention of hypertension and its cardiovascular complications.”
Interestingly, since the news report comes out of Scotland that Scotland’s favorite grain, oat groats or oat-based whole grains are mentioned as examples. But the article notes that also helpful are including whole-grain wheat and oat-based recipes in Christmas holiday meals.
The researchers, from The Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health, College of Life Sciences and Medicine, University of Aberdeen, Scotland, looked at the evidence of the benefits of whole-grain foods in the diets and health of various populations worldwide.
More than two hundred volunteers participated in that study, which reported that if you eat three portions of whole-grain foods per day, your risk of high blood pressure is considerably reduced. Several of the study’s participants were given three servings of whole-grain foods each day, in the form of wheat, or both wheat with oats, while the rest received refined cereals and white bread (made of refined flour).
The problem with wheat is the increase in insulin and a rise in blood sugar after eating it
The only problem with wheat is that in some people with metabolic syndrome or other forms of insulin resistance, wheat by itself is one way to get more insulin pouring out of your pancreas into your blood stream, which in turn tends to raise blood pressure. And some people are sensitive to wheat but not to other whole grains such as brown or black rice, oat groats, quinoa, teff, millet, rye, barley, buckwheat, or amaranth, for example.
You have a choice of what type of whole grains are least likely to cause your insulin to be excreted. Some whole grains cause more insulin to be excreted into your bloodstream than other whole grains. Also, you need to choose grains that aren’t high on the Glycemic Index, which may create spikes of glucose in your bloodstream.
So choose your whole grains carefully by paying attention to what grains least cause blood glucose spikes by entering your bloodstream too fast as carbs. You need to pick whole grains that are best tailored to your own body’s needs.
In both the whole-grain and refined-grain groups, the participants were encouraged to eat what they normally ate apart from consuming their apportioned servings. But ask yourself who funded the study because it’s good news for the Scottish food producers and the food industry. The study was funded by the Scottish Government and the UK Food Standards Agency.
How would a study like this be directed? Would the government or food producers of whole grain products fund such a similar study in your area? Let’s take a look at UC Davis’s study of whole rice and rice bran products on health.
At UC Davis in the Sacramento-Davis area, the University of California Cooperative and Extension (UCCE) Rice Project is an interdisciplinary collaboration that fosters research in rice production management and facilitates the exchange of information and the development and spread of promising technologies.The project studies rice production in California, especially in the Sacramento area.
Around 40 studies of the health benefits of rice bran oil are listed the Rice Bran Oil Information site. Click on the Cholesterol-Lowering by Rice Bran study. It concludes that components of rice bran have cholesterol-lowering activity. However, the study was done on hamsters. Rice bran itself, also lowers cholesterol.
There are plenty of studies on the type of whole grains grown in the Sacramento regional area, which mainly is rice. According to the April 1, 2008 article by Laura Crowley, “Rice bran offers health benefits over wheat flour,” if you buy stabilized rice bran (SRB), it’s healthier than using wheat flour. Stabilized rice bran cuts fats, calories, salt content, according to the latest studies. Also, some people don’t want gluten in their grain products.
See the site, Rice Quality. Sacramento nutritionists want to let Sacramento consumers know about the UC Davis Rice Project and the Rice Workgroup. Also rice has come back again as folkloric medicine in the sense that it is again being used to help lower high blood pressure.
Read the published scientific study, Pins JJ, et al. “Do Whole Grain oat cereals reduce the need for antihypertensive medications and improve blood pressure control? Journal of Family Practice 51: 353-359, 2002. So plenty of articles are in the scientific and medical journals and even popular consumer magazines on the health benefits of whole grains.
Trying the blueberries and brown rice diet in books about high blood pressure
For example, check out the excellent book, Reversing Hypertension, by Julian Whitaker, M.D. On page 145, of the chapter on “The Quick Start Diet for High Blood Pressure,” breakfast suggested in part includes blueberries and brown rice.
If you need to sweeten, the book suggests using a little stevia. Rice had been the remedy of choice to treat high blood pressure in the 1940s.
At the UC Davis site, see Rice Statistics – Rice acreage and production in the U.S. and California, cost of production. For example, what is rice straw used for, and what are some new uses? Nothing goes to waste. See, Feeding Rice Straw to Cattle. Also see, Straw Management.
Also see at the UC Davis site, new uses of rice straw, Rice Straw Products Resource List. There are also more Sources of Rice Straw and information on the The Rice Straw Market. What about local Rice Quality? In other countries, some people get 40 percent of their calories from rice. Don’t train your children to eat only white rice just because that was what was given to you in your own childhood.
Children’s eating habits and brown rice
Parents have a lot to do with training children to eat brown or white rice, depending upon what was served to children after age two. If children grow up eating white rice, they, in turn, will serve the same to their children, in future generations.
By the age of three or four, the diet preferences are set so that when your child reaches elementary school age, a child fed white rice topped with butter, for example, will not easily eat brown rice or other healthy grains, such as whole oat groats, quinoa, millet, teff, rye berries, or amaranth, without complaining. But how many Sacramento restaurants serve brown or black rice or other whole grains?
And how many serve whole grains without cooking the grains in salty water or processed chicken stock? Besides the few vegan restaurants in Sacramento, not many places will serve you anything other than a side of starchy, white rice.
Who in the USA will be the first restaurant other than the few vegan eateries, to serve brown or black rice as a side dish or serve wholesome soups with no added salt–since most places already have salt and pepper shakers on each table? Who will be the first to let the customer season his or her own soup or other food?
According to the article, “The importance of small grain crops in California agriculture,” besides rice, California grows lots of wheat for local use and for export. The wheat mostly is turned into general-purpose flour and bread. California wheat growers annually produce an average of about 1.1 million tons (998,000 tons) of common wheat (mostly fall-sown hard spring wheat but also lesser amounts of other wheat classes) and 250,000 tons (227,000 t) of Desert Durum wheat.
Health benefits of whole oats
Daily intake of oat and oat bran can aid in the lowering of blood cholesterol and in the control of diabetes. You might also look more at the health benefits of oats. Oat-based foods have unique value in human nutrition.
Oat groats (the caryopsis, consisting of embryo, endosperm, and outer layers contained within the floral bracts, the lemma and palea) contain 16 percent or more protein. The lipid content of oat, a desirable source of energy, is about 1.8 times that of corn, according to the article, “The importance of small grain crops in California agriculture.”