The Benefits of Oatmeal
Oatmeal is a staple breakfast item for many, but do you know the countless benefits this super grain has? Here are 9 awesome reasons you should keep oatmeal in your diet
- Helps control weight.
According to a research study published in the October 2009 issue of “Molecular Nutrition & Food Research” a compound in oatmeal known as β-glucan reduces appetite by increasing the hunger-fighting hormone cholecystokinin. Who knew?!
- Reduces blood pressure.
One study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that a diet which includes plenty of whole-grains (such as oats) is just as effective as taking anti-hypertensive medication to lower blood pressure!
- Reduces cholesterol.
Have you ever heard of soluble fiber? Well, compared to other grains, oats actually have the highest portion of soluble fiber. Soluble fiber helps your intestinal tract trap substances associated with blood cholesterol. Studies show that people with high blood cholesterol who eat just 3 g of soluble fiber per day can reduce their total cholesterol by 8% to 23% (remember that one cup of oats yields 4 g)!
- Lowers risk of colon cancer.
One study, pooled by researchers in Britain and the Netherlands, published evidence that there was a link between people who ate a high fiber diet (mainly from whole grains and cereals like oats) to a lower risk of colorectal cancer. This study also covered nearly 2 million people and specifically found that for every additional 10 grams of fiber in someone’s diet, there is a 10% reduction in their risk of developing colorectal cancer!
- Stabilizes blood sugar.
What does this mean? We have all experienced a “sugar crash”/ “mid morning slump” after a big meal or sugary breakfast; well, with oatmeal, this doesn’t happen as much. As a result of oatmeal’s high soluble fiber content, its sugar is released more slowly into the blood stream (aka, it has a low glycemic index). It’s important to note that thick cut oats will have more of an effect on stabilizing your blood sugar than instant oats, because they are less processed and thus have more soluble fiber. Another added bonus, is because it takes longer to digest, you will feel full longer!One study in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition mentioned that diet producing a low glycemic response is associated with significantly less insulin resistance and significantly lower prevalence of the metabolic syndrome, risk of type 2 diabetes, and risk of coronary artery disease, than with a diet producing a high glycemic response.
- Athletic performance.
Oatmeal, is a great carbohydrate and protein source, providing calories and energy for energy needs. Oats have been shown in scientific studies to favorably alter metabolism and enhance performance when ingested 45 minutes to 1 hour before exercise of moderate intensity.
- Enhances immune response to disease.
Oatmeal has been heavily studied in relation to the immune system’s response to disease and infection. Essentially, because of oatmeal’s unique fiber called beta-glucan, it helps neutrophils travel to the site of an infection more quickly and enhances their ability to eliminate the bacteria they find there.
- Helps you sleep.
Oats contain melatonin and complex carbohydrates that can help more tryptophan get into the brain and help you sleep. Furthermore, oatmeal contains many vitamins, including B6, which is a co-factor that also aids in the production of more serotonin in the brain. Try oatmeal for dinner!
- Promotes antioxidant activity.
Oatmeal is loaded with antioxidants called avenanthramides, which are unique to oats. Antioxidants are important because they protect your cells from free radicals, which are molecules you produce through metabolism and exposure to environmental toxins. Free radicals increase your risk for cancer and heart disease because they are unstable. Avenanthramides antioxidants inhibit inflammation and boost your production of nitric oxide, which prevents hardening of your arteries. A study published in 2010 in “Nutrition and Cancer” showed the avenanthramides in oats decreased the spread of colon cancer cells.
Now that you know WHY you should have oatmeal in your life, discover 3 ways you can incorporate it into your daily diet.