Oatmeal Explained: Health Benefits, Sources and Preparation
by GamerFitnation on May 19, 2014 at 09:00 AM EDT

Everything You Need to Know about Oatmeal 1

Oatmeal is an all-around superfood that has many health benefits, including the ability to lower cholesterol, prevent weight gain, decrease high blood pressure and much more.

What’s in oatmeal?

According to the mother nature network, here’s what a half cup of the leading brand of quick oats (cooked with milk) would contain.

  • 190 calories
  • 27 grams of carbohydrates
  • four grams of fiber
  • five grams of protein
  • three grams of fat (.5 gram saturated)
  • 10 percent daily value of iron

Lowering cholesterol

“Oatmeal contains soluble fiber, which reduces your low-density lipoprotein, the “bad” cholesterol. Soluble fiber is also found in such foods as kidney beans, apples, pears, barley and prunes,” according to the Mayo Clinic’s staff, “Soluble fiber can reduce the absorption of cholesterol into your bloodstream.” So, by eating oats you’re really warding off any future cholesterol that may be ingested into your bodies bloodstream. 

Preventing weight gain

Oatmeal can help you stop gaining weight by ensuring that you don’t pack on extra pounds by overeating more than you need to. According to a study done by Journal of the American College of Nutrition they gave one test group 363 calories of oatmeal for breakfast, and another test group 363 calories of oat-based breakfast cereal. They then regulated their appetite levels over the course of the next few hours and those who ate the oatmeal claimed to be “significantly less hungry” than those who had eaten the cereal, even up to as long as 4 hours after they had first eaten their meals.

Reducing high blood pressure

Two of the main things that keep a healthy blood pressure is high fiber and whole grain. Fortunately oats are loaded in those supplements.  “According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, 100 grams of fortified oats has 10 grams of fiber, as well as 352 milligrams of calcium and 359 grams of potassium,” wrote LiveStrong.com’s Sydney Hornby. “In some studies, both calcium and potassium supplementation have effectively lowered blood pressure numbers.” 

Oatmeal provides you with energy throughout the day

Oats are a great breakfast food since they supply you with a lot of energy, if you eat them on a daily basis you will start to notice a difference in how you feel and perform your daily functions. If you’re looking for a quick pre-made breakfast snack that involves oats there are plenty of recipes you can find online that lay out the ingredients needed to make some. The consumption of these oats will help control your blood sugar levels and cut back on any crashes that you’d normally have throughout the day with eating sugary breakfast choices.

Reduced risk of obtaining breast cancer

One of the best ways to prevent of breast cancer is to eat food that is high in fiber and that also stems from whole grains. The Herald Extra even went so far as to put oatmeal as their number one most-recommended food to eat to prevent breast cancer. “Oatmeal is high in fiber, which helps “soak up” excess estrogen circulating in the blood stream. Plus, oatmeal is a good source of antioxidants called phenols, which may help repair cell damage that contributes to cancer growth”

Oatmeal also helps prevent diabetes

Oatmeal contains a healthy supply of magnesium,  which regulates insulin and glucose levels. Diabetes is caused by a lack of insulin so having a food that regulates your insulin levels within your body is helpful.

Oatmeal strengthens the immune system

In oatmeal, there is something called beta-glucan. Beta-glucan aids in enhancing our immune systems response to bacterial infection. The World’s Healthiest Foods discusses beta-glucan and its ability to help with the immune system. “Beta-glucan not only helps neutrophils (the most abundant type of non-specific immune cell) navigate to the site of an infection more quickly, it also enhances their ability to eliminate the bacteria they find there.”

What does oatmeal taste like?

Oatmeal itself has a pretty bland taste and a very starchy almost chalky dry texture. Trying to eat it by itself is doable, but very few try. Luckily because of oatmeal’s bland taste, it is susceptible to being taken over by other tastes, so combining oatmeal with other foods is a good way to add flavor to this healthy food.

If the flavor is bland, then what should I add to it to make it taste good?

In food production, the polar opposites are sweet foods and savory foods. Oatmeal acts as a blank canvas that is just waiting to be played around with by a multitude of flavors and ingredients.

Fruits (SEverything You Need to Know about Oatmeal 2weet) - Fruits go well with just about anything, since there are many different kinds and they all offer their own unique flavor. With oatmeal, you really can’t go wrong. For example, you could make a combination of berries such as strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries or any others, add oats and you have a sweet/tart concoction of a meal.

PeaEverything You Need to Know about Oatmeal 3nut Butter (Savory) - Peanut butter has a strong, powerful flavor to it, and would also give  your oatmeal a blast of protein to add to it, adding even more healthful benefits. Additionally, since oats are a bunch of singular little pieces, they can sometimes be messy while eating, but peanut butter holds them all together and acts as a glue to your meal.

Everything You Need to Know about Oatmeal 4Honey (Sweet) - Honey is pretty similar to peanut butter, except a sweeter version. Add a little bit of honey to oatmeal and stir, and you’ll have a very sweet oatmeal cereal of sorts. My mother was always sort of a health nut and used to have me eat oats, honey and bananas as a morning breakfast, and even though I was kind of a fussy eater, this is something that I still find myself eating to this day.

Everything You Need to Know about Oatmeal 5Dark Chocolate (Sweet) - Now, before I get attacked for being a complete hypocrite for talking about healthiness and then offering in chocolate as a viable option to a meal, let me explain. Dark chocolate in moderation has healthy qualities. Here are six health benefits associated with dark chocolate. This would be eaten in the same fashion as honey and peanut butter by adding a handful of oats to the dark chocolate spread.

Everything You Need to Know about Oatmeal 6Meats (Savory) - This one might sound a bit strange, but we’re gamers, so we’re a bit strange anyway, aren’t we? Some chefs have taken to topping a meat with oats and covering it in the  marinade of the meat. This is more on the hearty side of breakfasts but it will definitely give you  plenty of energy from proteins that you’ll start to feel as the day goes on.

So, if I want to eat oatmeal, where should I get it?

If you are looking for the highest quality nutrient-filled kind of oats, then you should consider buying them from fresh food stores that pride themselves in having non-processed foods. Whole Foods Market and Best Market are some good examples of stores that do just that. However, because those foods are fresh, they tend to be on the more expensive side. If this is a problem for you, then a brand name food such as Quaker Oats might be best. Since this is a larger company, their food will be found in more food store chains such as Stop&Shop. The health benefits might not be as good as the fresh stuff, but it is still much better than deciding to not eat it at all.

Are there any alternatives to oatmeal?

While oatmeal is a fantastic morning breakfast choice, shoveling down the same thing everyday can get a bit tedious, even with all the range of foods you can mix in your bowl. Before you even think about returning to your old breakfast of fats and sugars, have no fear: There are other options for you to choose from that offer most of the same health benefits as oatmeal would have.

Everything You Need to Know about Oatmeal 7Amaranth - Amaranth offers an earthy, almost nutty flavor and packs high in potassium, calcium, iron and magnesium. While it is technically a seed, its nutrients and texture place it in with the other grains. Most recipes that use oats can be replaced with amaranth, while still only affecting the taste minimally.

 

Everything You Need to Know about Oatmeal 8Brown Rice - The most consumed food in the world deserves a mention in here, with a mild taste and healthy servings of carbohydrates, fiber, potassium and vitamin B-6 brown rice is an excellent alternative to oats.

 

Everything You Need to Know about Oatmeal 9

Buckwheat - With loads of potassium, fibers, carbs and proteins, you really can’t go wrong with what you put buckwheat in. It is described as having an “earthy mild taste.”

 

Oatmeal is an extremely nutritious super food that offers many health benefits that can affect your everyday life in a positive outcome. If you just take the extra time to include this into your diet, you can help yourself live a little bit healthier and better each day.

 

Written By: Damiaen Florian

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