When you think of oats, you think of them as an ingredient in breakfast cereals and oatmeal, and maybe delicious oatmeal cookies. Over the past decade, oats have become an extremely popular health food. According to Healthline, oats are loaded with fiber (10.6g) and contain avenanthramide, which is only found in oats. Avenanthramide can help reduce arterial inflammation and regulate blood pressure. For those who eat oatmeal every day, whether it’s for breakfast or a snack during the day, there are certain things that it can do for your body.
1. Helps Control Weight
When it comes to losing weight, there are times we can always use a little help. So if you eat oatmeal, you might be able to control your weight. A study that was published in 2009 in an issue of Molecular Nutrition & Food Research gives evidence of this claim. The study concluded that a compound found in oatmeal known as β-glucan can reduce one’s appetite by increasing the hormone cholecystokinin. Plus oatmeal is full of fiber which is something that keeps you feeling fuller for longer. Not only that PUBMED says oatmeal has beta-glucan which is another thing that can make you feel fuller than normal. Which means no trips to the vending machine for snacks once you get to work. Not that you’re guilty of that. No, not you.
2. Reduces Blood Pressure
Heart disease is one of the top causes of death in North America, so anytime we can lower our blood pressure, we will reduce the risk of developing heart disease. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that a high whole-grain diet is just as effective as taking anti-hypertensive medication to lower your blood pressure. Remember that Beta-glucan we talked about in the last point? Well, turns out studies published in PUBMED show that this can also help reduce the bad LDL cholesterol and regular cholesterol levels that can increase your risk of heart disease.
3. Stabilizes Blood Sugar Levels
Everyone has experienced a sugar crash at some point in their life. With oatmeal, this won’t happen as often. Because of its high fiber content, the sugar is released more slowly into the bloodstream, which means that it has a low glycemic index. A study that was published in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition states that a low glycemic diet was associated with less insulin resistance and lowered the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Oats can possibly help with insulin sensitivity as well. When our bodies stop responding to insulin it can cause a whole bunch of health issues, and insulin resistance is extremely common. Any defence against insulin resistance will help your body out in many ways.
According to reviews that were published in a supplement issue of the British Journal of Nutrition, oats can play a vital role in improving satiety, digestive and diet quality. When you feel fuller, you give your body time to digest the food quicker. So, many times people often overeat because they don’t have that fullness feeling.
5. Colorectal Cancer
Britain and Netherland researchers published evidence in BMJ that covered almost 2 million people and evaluated whether or not a high fibre diet is linked to a lower risk of colorectal cancer. They found that an extra 10 grams of fibre per day can reduce someone’s risk of developing colorectal cancer by 10%.
6. Promotes Antioxidant Activity
As we’ve mentioned at the beginning, oatmeal is loaded with antioxidants called avenanthramides. These can inhibit inflammation and also boost the production of nitric oxide, which prevents hardening of the arteries. Antioxidants also protect your cells from free radicals. Free radicals increase the risk of cancer and heart disease. A study published in Nutrition and Cancer found that avenanthramides in oats actually decrease the spread of colon cancer cells.
7. They’re An Easy Breakfast Option
All science aside, eating oats in the morning is just an easy way to be healthy. Oats contain lots of fiber and protein, which are two things many of us don’t get enough of daily. You can give yourself an extra boost by adding some almond butter, fruit, nuts, whatever! As long as it’s not added sugar, it’s an easy way to get a healthy meal first thing in the morning that’ll keep you feeling full for a long time.
8. Lowers Risk Of Asthma
Especially when it comes to kids. PUBMED says . Asthma can take many forms but it affects the airways and can make it hard to breath one way or another. It can be triggered by a wide range of things like exercise, the seasons changing, and allergies. It can also manifest in many ways as well, like shortness of breath, coughing, and wheezing. It affects everyone differently, but can be quite serious and sometimes can involve a trip to the hospital. Studies from The National Institutes of Health show that introducing oats into your child’s diet early, like as one of the first forms of food they try, can protect them from early onset asthma.
9. They Can Keep You Umm… Regular
Constipation isn’t fun for anyone. While laxatives do work, they’re often associated with weight loss and can be more uncomfortable than anything. This is where oats could be a great alternative to laxatives. Because of their high percentage of fiber oats can help digestion and keep you from feeling…well…you know…backed up so to speak.
Eating oatmeal everyday can give you tons of vitamins and nutrients your body needs, not to mention antioxidants. In just half a cup of dry oats you’ll get your full daily requirement of Manganese, Vitamins B1 and B5, almost half your recommended daily intake of phosphorus, 24% of your daily copper, Iron and Zinc. Not to mention small amounts of calcium, potassium, and vitamins B6 and B3. That’s a ton of stuff, all for only about 300 calories!
We understand that eating the same thing everyday can be challenged so here’s a few ways you can spice up your oatmeal routine, so you can get all those benefits we just listed.
The good thing is there are many types of oats, so why not experiment with them? You can try, dry, cut, steel old fashioned. Each of these has their own unique flavour profiles and the more you try the more you’ll find the one you love!
If you’re sticking with oatmeal for breakfast, why not try making it sweet with fruit, nuts, or go the other way and try something savoury, like topping it with an egg. You can also use broth instead of water to kick up the flavour profile.
Keeping with the breakfast theme, you can also add oats to any smoothie for an added protein and fiber boost! Plus the flavors are endless, you can even put in a little coco if you’re craving something chocolatey.
Something that’s for someone on the go could be baked oats. It’s the perfect solution if you’re a meal prepper, and gives you a firmer version of the oatmeal you’re used to. Plus because it’s more like a casserole you can slice it up and take it to go! Especially if you’re prone to snoozing your alarm a few times in the morning. There are so many recipes to give you inspiration, you can treat oatmeal kind of like a blank canvas, if that canvas was full of vitamins and was really healthy for you.