Nutritionist Amanda Hamilton is working with Nairn's upon the release of their new gluten free Astro Bites. We caught up with her to ask her why oats are so appropriate for a vegan diet.

Amanda Hamilton

Amanda Hamilton

Oats are a good source of slow-releasing energy, giving them an advantage over most breads and crackers, which tend to be faster-releasing. This can be particularly important for vegans, because they can miss out on some of the higher-protein foods that help to slow down energy release from carbs (i.e. meat, dairy and eggs). So eating oats and oatcakes instead of bread can help to compensate for this and help maintain balanced energy levels.

Oats can be a valuable source of zinc in a vegan diet. As zinc is primarily found in meat and seafood, it's one of the nutrients that vegans risk running low in. Zinc is needed for a strong immune system, good eyesight, and healthy hair, skin and nails.

Many people find oats easier to digest than wheat - and gluten-free oats especially so. As vegans may rely more on grain-based foods, as well as legumes - which can also be difficult to digest - oats can offer a welcome alternative.

Getting enough protein is particularly important for vegans. While oats contain a similar percentage of protein to other grains, they can have a better protein quality. Basically, the balance of different amino acids (the components of protein) in oats better matches what our body needs, in comparison to some other grains such as rice and wheat. However, it is still not considered a complete protein, and so vegans need to make sure they are also getting protein from nuts and seeds and legumes to get all the amino acids they need.

Nairn’s Gluten Free Astro Bites will have an RRP of £1.85 (for 5 x 23g packs).

Berry and Choc Chip are available now on Ocado and in Morrisons stores with Cheese and Choc Chip flavours now in Sainsburys.

*see www.nairns-oatcakes.com for details


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