Oatmeal is considered one of the best breakfasts for health. It’s a rich source of soluble fiber, which helps in reducing the harmful effects of bad cholesterol, and helps feel stay full for longer. Oats have a good deal of protein, which combines with fiber to help you remain full and satisfied. Further, they have a low glycemic index (GI). According to research, eating foods with low GI before exercise can help exhaust more fat. Clearly, then, oatmeal is a great food that provides multiple benefits.
Soluble and insoluble fiber
The soluble fibers in oats form a gel-like substance. This substance helps in mobilizing digestion, thus reducing constipation and improving the health of the intestines.
Oats are loaded with beta-glucan, a soluble fiber. This fiber helps slow down the absorption of carbohydrates into the blood stream. The slower absorption prevents spurt in blood sugar and insulin levels, which generally lead to the manufacture and storage of fat in the body.
Oats constitute balanced food
A cup of oatmeal provides 150 calories, or four grams of fiber. Of this, two grams are soluble and two grams are insoluble fibers. And, above all, the recipe contains six grams of protein. To add more protein, add almond butter.
Rich source of magnesium
Magnesium is a key element that enables optimal functioning of enzymes and ensures energy production. Magnesium relaxes the blood vessels and helps heart muscles remain healthy. It also maintains blood pressure and thus prevents heart attack and strokes.
Oats help manage weight
Controlling weight has become a major challenge today in the United States. Research by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) and the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) shows that over two-thirds of the adult population are overweight or obese.
Unless treated, the problem would lead to other related health issues such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and cancer. Oatmeal could be a great aid for such people. A study on “Molecular Nutrition & Food Research” in 2009 shows that the beta-glucan content in oats helps reduce appetite and enhances the effects of the anti-hunger hormone cholecystokinin.
Oats contain more soluble fiber than other cereals. The soluble fiber aids the intestine in capturing compounds that are related to blood cholesterol. Research shows that eating just three grams of soluble fiber can result in reducing cholesterol by 8% to 23%.
Less risk of colon cancer
Colon cancer is formidable. Research shows that people consuming whole grains with high fiber (such as oats) have less incidence of cancer of the rectum and colon. In a joint study conducted by Britain and the Netherlands covering two million people, it was found that 10 grams of fiber in the diet leads to a reduction of the risk of developing cancer by 10%.
Helps reduce blood pressure
Heart disease is a major problem not only in the United States but across the world. A study shows that diet rich in whole grains such oats and whole meal bread is effective in keeping blood pressure under control. Regular consumption of oats would help you keep blood pressure at a safe level.
Improves sports performance
If you’re an athlete, oatmeal is the best recipe without causing any adverse effects on your health in general or your athletic performance in particular. This is because oats are a good source of carbohydrates and protein, which are a powerful source of energy. Studies show that oats help bring about change in metabolism and boost performance when consumed about an hour before the start of a performance.
Numerous studies show that oats strengthen immunity. The causative factor is the beta-glucan, a fiber that causes neutrophils to become active faster and go to the site where an infection occurs. It also boosts their capability to destroy the foreign organisms (bacteria, etc.) at the site.
Prevents hardening of arteries
Oats contain an antioxidant, avenanthramides, rarely found elsewhere. This antioxidant reduces inflammation and improves nitric acid production. Nitric acid prevents hardening of arteries.
Helps get sleep
You may find it puzzling as to how oatmeal taken for breakfast can be a food for bedtime. Oats have melatonin (a hormone) and carbohydrates which cause tryptophan to go to the brain and cause sleep. Vitamin B6 in oats is also an important factor in inducing sleep by producing serotonin in a greater amount.
Whole grains are healthy and a diet comprising oats or other whole grains helps reduce the risk of obesity, heart disease and high blood pressure. Given so many benefits, and the exigencies of a healthy life style, oatmeal could be a great solution for maintaining your health.