Reasons You Should Eat Oatmeal Every Day
Health experts opine that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and as a result, this should never be missed or skipped. When you have a proper and hearty breakfast in the morning, you have the right energy levels all throughout the day. Not only this, your mood is also maintained with the right kind of breakfast. Now, the catch is what to have in breakfast so that it is healthy, nutritious as well as tasty at the same time. In majority of homes, deciding breakfast menu is a problem as people have different choices for this meal. While some like to have toast and omelet, some like sandwiches, some prefer cornflakes or muesli etc. Along with these items, another ingredient that has gained immense popularity with people as a breakfast ingredient is that of oats or oatmeal.
What are oats or oatmeal?
Coming to the basics, oats are popular whole-grain food. The scientific name of oats is Avena Sativa. You must have heard of oat groats – these are whole and completely intact forms of oats. The problem with groats is that they take a long time to cook. This is the reason people prefer taking steel-cut oats, crushed as well as rolled oats. When it comes to highly processed variety, instant or quick oats are the most popular variety. The cooking time of these oats is quite short, but as a result, these oats have a mushy texture post-cooking. When eaten in breakfast, oats are mainly taken as oatmeal. In this, the oats are either boiled in water or in milk. Sometimes people call oatmeal as porridge. Oats have been extensively used in granola bars, muffins, cookies, and various kinds of baked goods.
Benefits of oats and oatmeal and reasons they should be eaten daily
- Oats are a rich source of antioxidants – If you are looking for food items, which are rich in antioxidants, there is no better option than oats for that. Along with being rich in antioxidants, whole oats also abound in beneficial plant compounds known as polyphenols. There is a unique group of antioxidants known as avenanthramides and this is mainly found in oats only (1). Avenanthramides help in boosting the production of nitric oxide in the body and as a result, blood pressure levels remain lower. The gas molecule plays a crucial role in dilating the blood vessels in the circulatory system and blood flow is improved as a result. Along with this, avenanthramides also have anti-itching and anti-inflammatory properties. There is another kind of antioxidant present in oats – namely ferulic acid.
- Helps in lowering LDL cholesterol levels and prevents damage – Heart ailments are on the rise globally. There are various factors contributing to the problem and one of them is definitely high levels of cholesterol in the blood. In various kinds of studies and research, it has been found that oats play a crucial role in reducing levels of LDL cholesterol and overall cholesterol in the blood. This is because oats contain beta-glucan fiber and this is effective on cholesterol levels. Excretion of cholesterol-rich bile is increased by beta-glucan and thus levels of cholesterol that circulate in the blood are reduced significantly. When LDL reacts with free radicals, oxidation of LDL takes place. LDL is also known as bad cholesterol in common parlance. This oxidation is as a sign of progression of a heart ailment. It might lead to inflammation in the arteries, increases the risks of strokes and heart attacks, and also damages heart tissues. In various reports, it has been proved that the various antioxidants in oats work in sync with vitamin C for preventing LDL oxidation.
- Oats are extremely nutritious – There are very few food items in which you will find a perfect balance of essential nutrients, which are required for the proper functioning of the body. If you see the nutrient-composition of oats, you will find that it is well-balanced. Oats are a great source of fiber, including that of beta-glucan and carbs. When compared to most other grains, oats have more protein and fat. Along with these, oats abound in vital minerals, vitamins and antioxidant plant compounds. Some of the nutrients, which are present in oats include phosphorus, manganese, zinc, magnesium, iron, copper, vitamin B1 (thiamin), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), folate and small amounts of vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin B3 (niacin), potassium and calcium. It is now well-understood why this nutrient-dense food is a popular choice at breakfast.
- Highly filling and helps in losing weight – It is needless to say that when made properly oatmeal (porridge) is extremely delicious. Not only this, but this breakfast is also highly filling as well. Eating such food items are really useful if you are looking to lose weight. Since you remain filled for a longer span of time, your calorie intake will be reduced automatically and hence your weight loss process will be easy. Beta-glucan present in oats helps in increasing the feeling of fullness. As a result, you will not feel like eating and that will restrict calorie intake. Beta-glucan also promotes the release of a hormone produced in the gut in response to eating. This is a kind of satiety hormone. It leads to less calorie intake and alleviates obesity risk considerably.
- Helps in relieving the problem of constipation – Constipation is a common problem in people, particularly with the elderly ones. The bowel movements are irregular and infrequent and they are also quite difficult to pass. For dealing with this problem in the elderly, often various kinds of laxatives are used. They are effective to some extent but they have side effects like weight loss and poor quality of life. After a time, they get dependent on laxatives and normal bowel movements don’t take place at all. In various studies, it has been indicated that oat bran, which is the outer-layer of the grain and rich in fiber helps in relieving constipation in elderly people. Oat bran can be used in soups or even in desserts and consumed easily. Survey reports have shown that older people suffering from constipation who used oat bran in their diet had normal bowel movements and had no need of using laxatives.
- Plays a crucial role in controlling blood sugar levels – The numbers of people suffering from type 2 diabetes are increasing globally. It has become a common disease now and the main problem is high blood sugar levels in the body. The body has decreased sensitivity to insulin hormone leading to an increase in blood sugar levels. Oats have shown to help in lowering blood sugar levels in the body, particularly in people who have type 2 diabetes or are obese and overweight. Insulin sensitivity is also improved to an extent with the consumption of oats. All these are possible practically because of the component beta-glucan in oats. This component forms like a thick gel and delays the process of digestion, hence giving a feeling of fullness. Also, the process of absorption of glucose into the blood is delayed with this component keeping blood sugar levels in control.
- Helps in reducing hypertension – High blood pressure is one of the causes of heart ailments and cardiovascular diseases. Maintaining a healthy blood pressure level is therefore very important. However, there are innumerable people who suffer from high blood pressure, also known as hypertension. It has been recommended by health experts and nutritionists that people who consume oats daily will have a low risk of high blood pressure problem and people with high blood pressure will be able to lower the levels successfully. Oats taken during breakfast are very effective in this regard.
- Oats is very effective for skincare – If you check the ingredients in various skincare products, you will find the presence of oats in many items. You won’t find the mention of oats directly, but it will be mentioned as ‘colloidal oatmeal’. Colloidal oatmeal has been approved by FDA a long time back as a skin-protective substance. However, since ancient times, oats have been used in the treatment of various kinds of skin conditions including that of itching and skin irritation. Many people suffer from uncomfortable symptoms and signs of eczema and applying oats-based skin products on the area can soothe it greatly. For skincare, oats-based products have to be applied and are not for intake purposes.
Making oatmeal is also simple and not time consuming. Refer to the internet for some amazing oatmeal recipes which you can easily prepare at home. Serve for the whole family and give them the gift of good health in a tasty way.