For many kids, there can be no worse breakfast than oatmeal. They’ll eat pancakes and waffles and cereal, but they won’t touch oatmeal. But what many kids, and many adults, don’t realize is that just one bowl of oatmeal a day can keep the doctor away. It’s full of fiber and just one cup contains almost 26 micrograms of folate, and more than 10 grams of protein. Read on to learn more oatmeal health benefits.
Oatmeal is a rich source of soluble fiber, which is also found in apples, pears, prunes and barley. Soluble fiber inhibits the body’s absorption of low-density-lipoprotein, or LDL, which is known as the bad cholesterol. One-and-a-half cups of oatmeal contains more than five grams of fiber, which is enough to reduce your cholesterol level.
Since oatmeal is high in fiber, which is heart-healthy, it offers many cardiovascular benefits, including a reduced risk of developing high blood pressure. It’s recommended that postmenopausal women, who tend to develop high blood pressure, should eat six servings of oatmeal or other whole grains on a weekly basis. Studies show that men can also reduce their risk of heart failure if they eat one bowl of whole grain cereal or oatmeal, per day.
Oatmeal contains a special type of antioxidant called avenanthramide. Avenanthramides fight off free radicals that attack high-density lipoproteins, or HDL, which is known as the good cholesterol. They also protect LDL cholesterol from oxidizing from copper, which reduces the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
Avenanthramides not only protect against heart disease, they also prevent the arteries from hardening. Those antioxidants suppress the production of molecules that allow monocytes to adhere to the walls of the arteries. Research has shown that postmenopausal women who eat six servings of whole grains a week reduced their risk of developing atherosclerosis, which is the build-up of plaque along the passageways of the arteries, and slowed the progression of stenosis, which causes the passageways of the arteries to narrow.
When paired with vitamin C, the cardiovascular benefits of oatmeal are enhanced, so drink a glass of orange juice or eat some citrus with your oatmeal.
Studies have shown that women who take in a high amount of fiber have a reduced risk of developing breast cancer, especially if the fiber comes from whole grains. The insoluble fiber in whole grains will attack carcinogens as well as lower levels of estrogen in the body and this can protect the body from the development of cancer. A study conducted in the UK found that pre-menopausal women reduced their risk of developing breast cancer by 41 percent just by eating fiber from whole grains.
The benefits from fiber don’t stop with cancer prevention. A high fiber diet will stabilize blood sugar levels and won’t cause the mid-morning slumps, which comes from eating a lot of sugar and carbs in the morning.
Aside from fiber, oatmeal is also a good source of magnesium, which regulates the body’s insulin and glucose levels. It’s been shown that, over the course of eight years, women who eat a diet rich in whole grains can reduce their risk of developing diabetes by up to 31 percent. To up the ante, add milk to the oatmeal. The boost of low-fat dairy can also lower the risk for diabetes.
Oatmeal contains a certain type of fiber called beta-gluten fiber. This fiber protects against heart disease and also revs up the immune system. It helps the immune cells seek out and repair areas or the body that may be fighting a bacterial infection.
Eating food to not gain weight sounds like the perfect kind of diet, right? Because oatmeal is so rich in fiber, it will make you fuller for a longer period of time. Fiber will increase the viscosity of the stomach’s contents so that it will take longer to empty. Feeling full for a longer period of time will also prevent the need to snack on sugary or salty foods throughout the day. Research has linked a lower risk of obesity to children who regularly eat oatmeal.
Adults and children who have celiac disease cannot eat gluten, but studies show that they can eat oatmeal although it contains a small amount of gluten.
Keep in mind that the best way to reap the benefits of oatmeal is through regular oatmeal and not the instant stuff, which is full of sugar and sodium. To add flavor without adding an onslaught of calories, mix in some fruit like apples, cranberries or blueberries or add a tablespoon of brown sugar for a touch of sweetness.