A single bowl of this go-to easy breakfast may help lower cholesterol, encourage weight loss, and keep your gut healthy.
Oatmeal seems so simple; it’s looks uninteresting, gluey and plain yet it has caught the attention of health and nutrition experts who say that add a few toppings and you have a healthy breakfast that’s packed with complex carbohydrates including fiber, vitamins and minerals. Nutritious toppings can be nuts, seeds and fruit.
Oats are naturally gluten-free making them a good source of carbs for people with specific dietary needs. Some oats can still contain traces of gluten, so always check the brand you are buying. Another thing to pay attention to is the type of oats you are eating. For most health benefit, opt for steel cut, old-fashioned, or rolled oats instead of instant or quick oats. That’s because the latter are relatively lower in fiber.
Good source of fiber
A bowl of oats can help you consume the recommended amount of fiber per day. Experts say that men under 50 should aim for at least 38 grams per day, while women under 50 should eat 25 grams or more per day. With 4 grams of fiber per cup, cooked oatmeal covers about 14 % of the daily value of this nutrient making it a good source. Eating a diet rich in whole grains and other food sources of fiber has been shown to be protective against cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and breast, colon, and rectal cancers.
Oatmeal goes with many types of nutritious toppings
A bowl of oats is rich in carbs so to make your morning meal more balanced, you can add toppings that are packed with protein and healthy fat like walnuts, almonds or pecans; nut butter like almond or peanut butter; or seeds like chia, hemp or ground flax. These add protein, unsaturated fats, and even more fiber. Fresh fruit is another option — try sliced strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries for additional nutrients and fiber.
Bolsters digestive health
The fiber in oats is good for your overall health, but it’s particularly important for a well-functioning digestive system. Not only do oats provide insoluble fiber which promotes regularity but also soluble fiber which have prebiotic properties. This can help feed the good bacteria living in the gut for a healthier microbiome.
Can help lower cholesterol
Oats pack a particular soluble fiber called beta-glucan. The soluble fiber in oats has been shown to decrease cholesterol. It acts like a Roto-Rooter to clear out cholesterol that may be building up in arterial walls. Daily intake of beta-glucan was found to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol. An elevated LDL cholesterol level raises your risk of heart disease.
May help reduce belly fat
Another win for oatmeal’s soluble fiber: It may help reduce visceral fat, the type of fat in your midsection that hugs your organs and raises your risk of heart disease and stroke — even if your body mass index is deemed normal. According to a study which looked at adults who have type 2 diabetes, oats helped reduce blood sugar, blood lipids, and weight better than a control group that ate a healthy diet but no oats. The study found soluble fiber was one of the biggest things that helped clear out fat stores in this area.
Helps energise the body and boosts immunity
When you have a bowl in the morning, you are serving up B vitamins plus minerals including manganese, iron, magnesium, and zinc. One cup of cooked oats has about 2 mg of iron, or 11 % of your DV. Iron energises the body and helps trigger the process of carrying oxygen through your body from your lungs. Oats also provide 1.5 mg of zinc, a nutrient necessary for immune function which is 14 % of your daily need.
Packed with antioxidants
Often you think about fruits and veggies offering disease fighting antioxidants, but your bowl of oatmeal is brimming with them too. Oats contain a specific antioxidant called avenanthramides. According to a study, this oat antioxidant is a promising cancer fighter, though more studies are needed.