Years ago, the thought of having oatmeal for breakfast every morning sounded stale and boring. That is, until I tried it. Not only do oats make me feel amazing and full of energy, they taste delicious topped with a mountain of berries and a bit of cinnamon! One of the many great things about oats is how versatile they are – you can top them with your favorite fruits, mix in some cacao powder and maple syrup for a chocolatey kick, or keep it simple with some cinnamon and coconut flakes. There is truly no limit to what you can create, so have fun experimenting until you find what you like!
The soluble fiber in oatmeal, also known as beta-glucan, forms a thick gel-like substance in the stomach that slows down the emptying of the stomach, keeping you satisfied for hours on end. These complex carbohydrates found in oats help not only with weight loss and digestion, but they also block the absorption of cholesterol.
Oatmeal has an extensive list of benefits, but I’ll give it to you straight. Oatmeal can lower blood sugar and LDL cholesterol, reduce hypertension, boost our immune system by feeding the good bacteria living in our bodies, and help control body weight. Additionally, oats have anti-cancer, anti-atherosclerosis, and anti-inflammatory properties! The anti-inflammatory properties and the phytonutrients in oats help prevent the clogging of arteries and promote healthy arterial function. And if that that isn’t enough, oatmeal is also a great source of copper, manganese, iron, and B-vitamins. Imagine how good you’ll feel getting all this in before lunchtime every day!
Whole grains in general, like oatmeal, are associated with a lower risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. A 14 year study found that for each ounce of whole grains eaten per day, there is a 5% decrease of all health-related deaths!
Not all oats are the same, however, and if you are to reap the most benefits from them, I recommend trying steel-cut oats, they are less processed and lower on the glycemic scale than rolled oats, and certainly better than instant oats – which are heavily processed and often loaded with sugar and salt. There are so many ways to incorporate oatmeal (and its incredible benefits) into your diet, so don’t hold back and give it a try!
Diana Ruiz is an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach in training. She is a spiritual activist, reiki practitioner, and has a passion for healthy plant-based food. You can follow her Instagram @datesanddimples and check out her website dianacruiz.com.
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