As a whole grain, oats are one of the healthiest grains you could consume. Oatmeal is no longer that bowl of mush that sat in front of us when we were kids. Today, oatmeal has gained a new reputation. One that is a very welcome change to previously thought.
Oats and oatmeal are also a very versatile grain that can be used in numerous ways. You can eat it plain, mix with fruits, add it to meats to give the meat more of a solid form, such as meatloaf. Oats can also be used in smoothies, baked items and even breads. With so many options it is hard to go wrong with oatmeal.
As mentioned, there are benefits to eating oatmeal. However, it needs to be known that instant oatmeal is highly processed, so not as healthy.
1. Oats have vitamins, protein, fiber and carbohydrates.
Oats are considered to be a nutrient dense food. Loaded with manganese, iron, B%, thiamin, copper, folate and zinc. Plus others, to make oats a basic super healthy ingredient or meal.
2. Lower blood pressure
Eating oatmeal may also help to lower blood pressure thanks to some unique antioxidants called Avenanthramides. These are for the most part, found only in oats.
These special antioxidants increase the production of nitric oxide. This gas dilates the blood vessels and allows the blood to flow freely. The Avenanthramides also have anti-itching and anti-inflammatory properties.
3. Contains Beta-glucan
Beta-glucan is a type of soluble fiber that is found in oats. The beta-glucan combines with water, where part of it will dissolve and part will turn into a thick gel type substance in the digestive tract. This soluble fiber not only helps the person feel full longer but it also helps reduce LDL and lower the cholesterol levels.
Blood sugars are reduced and glucose levels improved. There is also an increase in the healthy bacteria that forms in the gut. The antioxidants work along with Vitamin C to prevent oxidation of the LDL.
Oatmeal has a prebiotic effect on the digestive tract, meaning that it will feed the good bacteria which creates a healthier microbiome in the digestive tract.
4. Weight loss assistance
Eating oatmeal everyday may lead to weight loss assistance. The filling properties in the oatmeal mean that you stay full longer so you eat less and can potentially lose unwanted weight.
5. Skin care
Skin care can receive benefits from oatmeal also. When you place oatmeal into a food processor and grind them into a fine powder, you can use this as a scrub for your skin. Oatmeal has been used as an anti-itch substance for decades.
This means that oats when used on the skin can help with the irritation of eczema. Oatmeal has also been used by families for generations to ease the itch of poison ivy and poison oak. This was done by adding oatmeal to a tub of water and soaking in the tub for a period of time.
6. Combat Asthma
Oatmeal may help combat the number one chronic childhood disease. Asthma can be reduced in children with oatmeal. The anti-inflammatory properties reduce the inflammation of the airways in the lungs, thus preventing or greatly helping reduce the wheezing and coughing and the shortness of breath that is experienced by many children.
It is also thought that children who begin to eat oatmeal before the age of 6 months is believed to reduce the risk of developing childhood asthma.
7. Prevent constipation
Due to the fiber content in oatmeal, and how the beta-glucan can turn into a thick gel type substance can help carry the fecal matter through the digestive tract, and in doing so, prevents constipation.
In the elderly, it is a healthier option than prescribing Laxatives are believed to reduce the quality of life that the elderly enjoy. Laxatives, although they will help relieve constipation, will also contribute to weight loss when it is not needed.
The fiber in oatmeal and other whole grains has been shown to reduce the risks of colorectal cancer. In one study, it was shown that an increase of oat fiber by 10% produced a 10% less risk of developing colorectal cancer.
Soluble fiber has also been shown to help diminish the fat storage in the stomach area. The visceral fat being reduced and not as easy to store the fat in the area which builds up over time.
8. Build up immunity
Eating a bowl of oatmeal in the morning will also help your immunity levels build up and strengthen. Oatmeal is also known to give you energy.
The vitamins and minerals in just one bowl of oatmeal provide the energy for your body to move and function in the manner it is meant to. The high quantity of Iron found in oatmeal energizes the body and helps to trigger the process of carrying oxygen throughout the body via your lungs.
There is one risk that could be taken as a warning to some people when it comes to oatmeal. Oats can, and sometimes are grown in fields where wheat and/or barley has been grown. This can be detrimental to those who have a gluten intolerance or celiac disease.
As stated, oatmeal can be eaten in numerous ways. Topping a bowl of oatmeal with fruit or nuts adds flavor and texture to the oatmeal. There are thousands of recipes that can be found online to make breakfast muffins, cookies, or add oats as an inclusion to other ingredients.
Your body will greatly benefit from all the minerals and the vitamins from the oatmeal. For many people, oatmeal is considered to be a comfort food. It is filling, it warms you up from the inside out. It tastes great and you can make it taste even better by adding fruits, nuts or jams or jellies.
Oatmeal makes for a hearty meal. It does not just have to be eaten in the morning. Although eating oatmeal in the morning will give you a natural burst of energy it will help you get your day started and move forward in a great direction.
As far as eating instant flavored oatmeal, read the packages to determine how much sugar is included. There is no point adding additives and preservatives, sugar or any other unnecessary chemicals to a bowl of what is one of Nature’s greatest foods.
Eating oatmeal is a heart smart food option for those with high cholesterol. Eating oats will help to lower the bad cholesterol and boost your system’s immunity. You get that energy that lasts, not rises quickly only to make you crash hard shortly after.
When oats are harvested, there are many ways that they can be prepared for selling. Which means many ways that you can purchase oats. Some of these ways include:
Oat Groats which is the whole oatmeal kernel. These will take up to an hour to cook, after your water has begun to boil. Scottish Oats are like the steel cut, except they are ground. Steel Cut oats include the whole oat kernel but it has been cut up.
Rolled Oats, also known as regular or old fashioned oats. These are the oat groats that have been rolled into flakes that are thicker. Instant Oats have been steamed and flaked, which will cook faster.
Adding cinnamon, ginger, pumpkin pie spice, fruit or other toppings will enhance the flavor of the oatmeal. You could also add applesauce, milk, almond milk or other ingredients that you enjoy.
Keep in mind when adding sugar, just like any other food with sugar, if you eat more than recommended, it can cause weight gain. Also eating more than one bowl a day you may be limiting the flavors that you are giving your palate. Allow yourself to have an assortment of flavors and foods. Variety is best to obtain the full range of Vitamins and minerals.
Eating just oatmeal all day can lead to shedding of the muscle mass and actually you could end up with malnutrition. Your body needs more than just one item everyday. This also provides the variety of nutrition in the different foods.
Eating or consuming too much oatmeal in one day can lead to a bloated feeling. The high content of fiber is too much to eat more than one serving. The digestion slows down with too much fiber which will lead to gas pains and the bloating that happens.
For the most part, oats are nutritional, beneficial to maintaining health and also increases your energy in a natural and balanced manner. If you do not like oatmeal, the best thing you could do is to add it to another food.
Personally, I add it to ground beef and use it in casseroles, hotdishes and meat loaf. For the most part, no one other than the cook will know that oatmeal has been included in the meat.
You can secretly add nutrition with no one realizing. You can also make healthy breakfast muffins, or cookies that may get the stubborn people in your life to eat oatmeal.