This article explains the top health benefits of oatmeal to help you make an informed decision about adding this tasty food to your regular meal plan.
Oatmeal can provide great benefits, including lower cholesterol and improved blood sugar regulation. This is because oats are high in fiber, which helps keep you full between meals and regulates blood sugar levels.
Oats also have a low glycemic index and load, meaning that they do not cause spikes in blood sugar levels when consumed.
They have been shown to help with lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol, triglycerides, and glucose while raising HDL (good) cholesterol levels. Read on to find out more about the benefits of oatmeal!
What Is Oatmeal?
Oatmeal is a porridge made from milled, steel-cut, or rolled oat grains to improve texture and fasten cooking time.
It’s high in both soluble and insoluble fiber, vitamins, and essential minerals, including manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, zinc, and folate.
It’s also a great gluten-free whole grain alternative for those on gluten-free diets. Besides, it’s a versatile ingredient that you can enjoy in different recipes.
Types of Oats:
There are several types of oats available in grocery stores, and these options can be confusing. Knowing the different types of oats and what they are good for will help you know what to buy.
1. Rolled oats
Also known as old-fashioned or whole oats. They are oat groats that have been dehusked, steamed, and rolled into flat flakes to shorten their cooking time.
Rolled oats can be cooked into porridge and are often used in muesli, granola, flapjacks, and oatcakes.
2. Steel-cut oats
Also referred to as Irish or Scottish oats, steel-cut oats are oat groats cut into smaller pieces using a steel blade.
They are the least processed with a slightly higher amount of fiber compared to the other types.
They are also very low on the Glycemic index compared to the other categories. This makes them the best choice for blood sugar control.
You can use steel-cut oats in breakfast bowls, cakes, bread, and protein shakes.
3. Ground oats
These oat groats have been ground into various sizes, from coarse grind to meal to flour or powder.
Ground oats are great to include in desserts and other baked goods, especially gluten-free.
Which Oats is Best?
All three categories offer almost the same benefit, with steel-cut oats being slightly healthier than rolled oats since they are less processed.
Your main concern should be the additives often included in certain types. For instance, instant oats often contain sugar, salt, and preservatives, making them the worst kind of oats to eat.
Another thing is to ensure your oats are organic, as most grains have been genetically modified.
Health Benefits of Oatmeal:
Oatmeal has become a popular breakfast option for many people. It’s incredibly filling and can make a great breakfast to keep you satisfied for hours without a need to snack. But did you know that it can also improve your health?
1. It’s high in nutrients
Oatmeal is highly nutritious with a cup serving (234 grams) containing:
- Calories: 166
- Fiber: 4 grams
- Fat:5 grams
- Carbohydrates: 32 grams
- Protein: 6 grams
- Manganese: 68 percent of the daily requirement
- Phosphorus: 18 percent of the daily requirement
- Selenium: 18 percent of the daily requirement
- Magnesium: 16 percent of the daily requirement
- Zinc: 16 percent of the daily requirement
- Iron: 12 percent of the daily requirement
- Potassium: 5 percent of the daily requirement
2. Promote weight loss
Did you know that eating oats promote weight loss? Many people don’t know that adding oatmeal to your diet helps increase satiety and is perfect for anyone looking to lose weight.
This healthy whole grain is high in fiber, which fills you up faster. This helps prevent overeating, and unnecessary snacking, and lowers your daily calorie intake, causing you to lose weight.
In one study, daily consumption of oatmeal increased satiety, suppressed appetite, and reduced energy intake more than a ready-to-eat breakfast cereal.
But to enjoy the weight loss benefits, ensure you’re staying away from sugary toppings or instant oats since they are loaded with sugar and preservatives.
3. Reduces cholesterol
High cholesterol is a significant risk factor for heart disease, but regular consumption of oatmeal may help improve your levels.
This hearty breakfast food boasts a special type of fiber known as beta-glucan, which increases the elimination of cholesterol-rich bile from the body. This can help reduce cholesterol levels by as much as 15 percent.
Just one cup contains 1.8 grams of soluble fiber, which is enough to cut LDL (bad) cholesterol while helping to maintain HDL (good) cholesterol.
Soluble fiber also slows digestion and helps control blood sugar levels. A diet rich in soluble fiber has been shown to lower cholesterol more effectively than statin drugs—without any side effects!
A 2014 meta-analysis involving 28 controlled trials found that consuming at least 3 mg of beta-glucan in the diet reduces total cholesterol and LDL without any change in HDL.
In another study, combining beta-glucan with vitamin C was shown to prevent LDL oxidation which increases the progression of heart disease. To benefit from this combination, always include fruits in your oatmeal.
4. Regulates blood sugar
Because it’s slow-digesting, oatmeal helps regulate blood sugar. This is beneficial for those with diabetes, but it’s also helpful for anyone watching their weight; eating oatmeal at breakfast keeps you full longer than other meals do.
That means if you eat oatmeal in place of higher-calorie foods like white bread, you’ll not only reduce calories and lose weight, but you may be able to avoid those mid-morning snack attacks too. And because oats are high in fiber, they can help fill you up and prevent overeating later on in your day.
The high fiber content in oatmeal slows digestion and allows for a slow and steady release of glucose into the blood. This helps maintain normal glucose levels and prevent glucose spikes associated with processed carbohydrates.
Oats have also been shown to improve insulin sensitivity in patients with type 2 diabetes.
5. It’s rich in antioxidants
Oatmeal is rich in antioxidants, including phytic acid, vitamin E, phenolic compounds, and Avenanthramides which fight inflammation, prevent itching, and improve blood flow.
These antioxidants also work to neutralize free radicals in the body that may cause oxidative stress, causing cell damage that may lead to chronic diseases.
6. Improves bowel movements
Fiber is a key component in a healthy digestive system. The fact that it moves through the gut undigested means it adds bulk to stools which prevent constipation and aid regularity.
In one review, increasing dietary intake improved stool frequency and consistency and relieved painful defecation in individuals with constipation.
7. May improve skin
Oatmeal-based skin products create a healthy skin microbiome that protects against harmful UV rays and harmful bacteria.
Its gentle, detoxifying nature makes it a perfect skin-health ingredient. It acts as an exfoliant and reduces puffiness, helping to get rid of blemishes and prevent future breakouts.
On top of that, oatmeal is excellent for relieving redness and irritation; applying a paste with ground oatmeal can relieve rashes or sunburn in just minutes.
If you have sensitive skin, you might want to try mixing some oats into your regular facial cleanser—it will help reduce inflammation and make your face feel less tight.
In addition, oats are also rich in antioxidants that help protect against free radicals (the root cause of aging). So if you’re looking for a natural way to fight wrinkles, look no further than your pantry!
They also restore dry skin, reduce irritation, fight inflammation, improve appearance, and fight skin conditions like atopic dermatitis and eczema.
8. Reduce blood pressure
Elevated blood pressure significantly increases your risk of heart disease and stroke.
Avenanthramides antioxidants in oatmeal have been shown to increase nitric oxide production, which dilates and relaxes blood vessels, causing a drop in blood pressure.
Multiple studies have also found that a high-fiber diet is linked to lower blood pressure. In fact, in one study, participants who ate more than 20 grams of oatmeal per day experienced a 4-point reduction in systolic blood pressure—the top number on your blood pressure reading—and a 3-point reduction in diastolic blood pressure—the bottom number.
If you’re having trouble eating enough fiber, try adding more whole grains to your diet, such as oatmeal for breakfast.
Including oatmeal in a heart-healthy diet may help improve your levels and lower your risk for complications.
9. Lowers the risk of colon cancer
Oats have been shown to reduce inflammation and lower cholesterol, but they also contain compounds that may help prevent cancer.
Oats are known to fight colon cancer because they contain Avenanthramides, a type of antioxidant that helps slow cell mutations.
In one study, researchers examined what happened when 1-3 servings of oat products were consumed daily for three months; after 30 days, tumors had significantly decreased in size and number.
Also, the bran and germ in oats are rich in vitamin E, copper, selenium, and zinc, which are anti-carcinogenic compounds.
Additionally, oatmeal is rich in dietary fiber. According to research, the high fiber content in whole grains can help reduce insulin resistance which is one of the culprits in the development of colon cancer.
10. Boosts the immune system
The beta-glucan in oatmeal stimulates the functioning of white blood cells, which helps fight infections in the body, thus boosting the immune system.
It also enhances the activities of other immune cells like neutrophils, macrophages, and natural killer cells which help get rid of parasites, bacteria, viruses, and fungi.
Selenium and zinc in oatmeal also help fight infections.
In addition, the compounds in an oatmeal bind to bacteria, fungi, and viruses in a way that can boost immunity.
As part of a healthy diet and exercise routine, oats can also help fight anxiety and stress. This, in turn, can reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease and stroke.
Studies have also shown that people who eat oatmeal regularly have lower cholesterol levels than those who don’t, which helps reduce your risk for heart disease.
It’s also rich in antioxidants that promote general wellbeing by fighting free radicals that may cause cell damage and disease formation.
11. Promotes better sleep
Most people are used to having their oatmeal in the morning, but a bowl in the evening may help you sleep better.
Oatmeal contains tryptophan, an amino acid that the body uses to make melatonin, a sleep hormone that regulates your body’s sleep-wake cycle.
When it’s dark, more melatonin is produced to signal your body to prepare for sleep. On the other hand, light decreases the production of melatonin, signaling your body to be awake.
Also, oatmeal contains magnesium and calcium, which have been shown to promote good quality sleep.
According to one Harvard study, people who ate oatmeal at least three times a week were 20 percent less likely to report experiencing a restless night than those who almost never ate it.
Another study found that eating oatmeal or whole-grain cereal for breakfast was associated with lower odds of insomnia among adults in a large national sample.
Mornings are hectic enough without having to worry about what to eat and drink before you head out the door.
Oatmeal can be prepared quickly and easily while offering several health benefits that will help you function at your best. Start every morning with a bowl of hearty oats, and you’ll feel energized to tackle whatever the day brings.
Additionally, If you’re trying to lose weight or even just maintain your current body mass, oatmeal can be a great addition to your diet.
It’s full of fiber and protein, which will make you feel fuller longer and keep you from overindulging in high-calorie snacks later in the day.
But, it can also help with heart health, fight off diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s disease, improve blood sugar, reduce blood sugar, and strengthen your general immunity.
With so many benefits, it makes sense to include this food as part of your healthy breakfast routine if you don’t already.
Take note of highly processed oatmeal, as it is often full of additives and preservatives and thus not suitable for you.
Other Amazing Recipes With Oatmeal:
- Banana Oatmeal Recipe
- Gluten-Free Vegan Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies
- Banana Split Oatmeal.
- Oatmeal Breakfast Bars
- Easy Granola Recipe
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