Why Oatmeal Should be a Part of Your Everyday Diet: Health Benefits and Delicious Ways to Enjoy It
Oatmeal is a breakfast staple that has been around for centuries. It’s a warm, filling whole grain that is easy to prepare and packs a nutritious punch. Whether you’re a fan of rolled oats or steel cut oats, both are considered whole grain and offer similar health benefits. In this article, we will explore some reasons why you should incorporate oatmeal into your everyday diet and provide some delicious ways to enjoy it.
1. Manage or Lose Weight
Oatmeal is a satiating food that fills you up, helping you to make the most of your morning without distracting hunger pangs. A study comparing oatmeal to cornflakes found that oatmeal leaves the stomach more slowly, keeping hunger at bay longer. In fact, those who consumed oatmeal for breakfast consumed fewer calories at their next meal, especially if they were already overweight. The beta-glucan content in oatmeal is believed to be responsible for its satiating effects.
2. Heart Health
Oatmeal is a heart-healthy food that has been backed up by scientific research. Oats contain cholesterol-lowering properties that promote overall cardiovascular health. Adding just 2 ounces of dry oats (or 1 cup cooked) to a “typical American diet” can have a beneficial impact on cholesterol levels. Oatmeal can also help with glycemic control, keeping blood sugar levels stable, which is highly relevant for people with diabetes since they’re at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease.
3. GI Health
Prebiotics are types of fiber that human intestines can’t digest but that feed the good bacteria in your gut. The beta-glucan found in oatmeal is a prebiotic that promotes a healthy gut. In addition to its prebiotic properties, the fiber in oatmeal helps to keep you regular. Cooked oatmeal contains a total of 4 grams of dietary fiber per cup, which adds bulk to the contents of your gut and helps you eliminate waste so you don’t feel bloated.
4. Nutrient Boost
Oatmeal is a low-fat and virtually saturated fat-free food that is a great source of protein, micronutrients, and antioxidants. One cup of oatmeal has 5 grams of protein and is packed with copper, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, selenium, and zinc. A cup of oatmeal will only set you back 143 calories (before you add toppings), making it an excellent choice for a nutritious breakfast.
5. Delicious Variety
Oatmeal is the perfect blank canvas to mix up your breakfast routine with different toppings. You can prepare oatmeal each morning or make a large pot for the week ahead and portion out a serving to reheat each day. Some ideas to flavor your new morning regimen include adding fruit slices (fresh, frozen, or canned), stirring in pumpkin puree and sprinkling with brown sugar and cinnamon, topping oats with a drizzle of honey and a few nuts or seeds, adding chopped dried mango and coconut flakes for tropical oatmeal, using applesauce to sweeten, and soaking rolled oats overnight in milk and topping with peanut butter and banana in the morning.
Oatmeal is a delicious and nutritious breakfast or snack option that you should feel good about incorporating into your diet. It offers numerous health benefits, including weight management, heart health, GI health, and a nutrient boost. With its versatility, delicious variety, and affordability, oatmeal is a staple you can’t go wrong with.
So next time you’re at the grocery store, consider picking up a container of oatmeal and try out some of the delicious ways to enjoy it. Your body will thank you for it.