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Nutritious, Low Fat, and Easy to Vary: Oatmeal


If you are trying to build healthy eating habits, consider experimenting with oatmeal.

Whether you eat it plain or doctor it up, enjoying a bowl of oatmeal is a nutritious, low-fat and filling way to start any day. You can make it every morning and not eat the same bowl of cereal twice in a month – by getting creative with toppings and cooking methods.

11 Healthy Reasons to Eat Oatmeal

  1. Beta-glucan, the fiber type specific to oats, enhances our immune system by helping neutrophils (non-specific immune cells) reach infection sites quickly, boosting their ability to fight bacteria.
  2. Research indicates that consuming oatmeal increases the body’s release of a hormone (Pepetide Y-Y) associated with appetite control.
  3. Eating one and a half cups of oatmeal provides the body with 6 grams of soluble fiber. Soluble fiber reduces the cholesterol absorbed into the blood stream so it lowers cholesterol levels, particularly LDL cholesterol.
  4. Oatmeal is an excellent source of manganese and molybdenum.
  5. Oatmeal is a very good source of tryptophan, and phosphorus.
  6. Oatmeal is a good source of copper, biotin, vitamin B1, magnesium, fiber, chromium, zinc, and protein.
  7. Oatmeal contains antioxidant compounds called avenanthramides that support heart health by blocking free radicals damaging to LDL cholesterol.
  8. Oatmeal stabilizes blood sugar and can help people who have type 2 diabetes manage their glucose levels. This cereal is also a great source of magnesium, a mineral essential for the body’s proper use of glucose and the secretion of insulin.
  9. The fiber in oatmeal helps our body eliminate waste without the use of laxatives.
  10. Eating oatmeal helps lower blood pressure.
  11. Most people on gluten free diets can eat oatmeal and benefit from its high nutritional values.

Topping Tips

Enjoy your oatmeal with a bit of raw honey or agave nectar stirred in. Top the cereal with fresh or dried fruit, a sprinkle of granola, nuts, or chia seeds. Try cooking the oatmeal with low fat milk, almond, or rice milk instead of water, and dust the oatmeal with cinnamon. Crumble a bit of dark chocolate over the top. Drizzle with maple syrup and stir in a crumbled sausage. Top it with applesauce or a bit of blackberry jam.

Note: Instant oatmeal is processed to cook quickly, so it has a higher glycemic index than other oatmeals. This means it breaks down in the body more easily and raises blood sugar levels higher than quick, old fashioned or steel-cut oats. Instant oatmeal has nutritional value, but read the label for added fats, sugars and artificial flavorings.

January is National Oatmeal Month.

Sources: Mayo Clinic; Whole Grains Council; World’s Healthiest Foods