Ah, there is nothing like a piping hot bowl of oatmeal on a chilly winter morning. The warm oats fill your belly and heart, giving you the nutrients and the energy to make it till lunch.
While drinking a green smoothie, jam-packed with fruit and vegetables, is a powerful way to start your day, sometimes it leaves you wanting more and causes you to crave a snack by midmorning.
Oatmeal, on the other hand, satisfies your desire for a hearty and fulfilling breakfast, guaranteed to make you look forward to the most important meal of the day.
Not only is oatmeal a delicious option, but it is also incredibly nutritious. This whole-grain food can help encourage weight loss, restore healthy cholesterol, provide an excellent source of fiber, and so much more!
Here are just a few reasons why you should add oats to your morning routine.
6 Reasons You Should Eat Oatmeal For Breakfast
1. Encourages Healthy Digestion
The insoluble fiber present in oatmeal helps to decrease episodes of constipation and encourage healthy digestion.
It also helps improve the overall health of the gastrointestinal tract by ensuring that food gets to where it needs to go in the proper amount of time.
2. Prevents Cardiovascular Disease
Research proves the benefits of oatmeal for a healthy heart and decreased risk of developing heart-related conditions such as coronary heart disease.
The antioxidants and healthy fibers present in oats make this an excellent breakfast choice for those needing to lower bad cholesterol without decreasing good cholesterol.
Eat oatmeal for a healthy, happy heart.
3. Reduces The Risk Of Colorectal Cancer
Studies of over 2 million people in Europe showed that high levels of dietary fiber in the diet significantly decreased the risk of colorectal cancer.
Researchers concluded, “Our results indicate a 10% reduction in risk of colorectal cancer for each 10 g/day intake of total dietary fiber and cereal fiber and about a 20% reduction for every three servings (90 g/day) of whole grain daily and further reductions with higher intake.”
4. Lowers Blood Pressure
One study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that oatmeal might be as effective as antihypertensive medications in regulating blood pressure. This study looked at an oatmeal-heavy diet, with results seen after test subjects received three daily servings of oatmeal.
Keep in mind that this is not an acceptable substitution for high-blood pressure medication and only serves as a helpful supplementary option.
5. Improves Blood Sugar
The primary soluble fiber in oats known as beta-glucan partially dissolves in water once ingested, forming a thick gel-like substance in the gut that has potent health properties.
6. Aids In Weight Loss
One of the primary reasons people have difficulty losing weight is that they’re hungry all the time. This is in part due to an empty carbohydrate diet and meals that don’t fully satisfy due to their nutrient deficiency.
Oatmeal may help remedy this issue by keeping you full for longer and increasing your feelings of satiety.
There is a common saying surrounding oatmeal, with many people claiming that it “sticks to your ribs.” While this isn’t quite the case, there may be some truth behind this statement.
Beta-glucan has been shown to delay the rate of food production through the digestive system. Causing it to say in your stomach longer and keep you full and helping you to avoid unhealthy snacking due to hunger.
Gluten-free note: While oats themselves are gluten-free and safe for those with allergies, it is important to note that oatmeal products are often processed in factories that come into contact with wheat.
Take caution when choosing oatmeal, and be sure to purchase certified gluten-free, if you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.
Keep in mind that oats can be difficult for some people to digest, due to the presence of phytic acid. If you notice your body responding negatively to the presence of oats in your diet, try cutting back the amount you eat each week or eliminating them entirely.
Which Type Of Oats To Buy
Steel Cut Oats
These oats are the healthiest option because they are the least processed out of all oat cereals. They have a delicious nutty taste and are super rich in nutrients.
However, they do take slightly longer to cook than other oatmeals so keep that in mind if you choose to enjoy steel cut oats.
Hearty Maple Oatmeal Breakfast
Soaking steel cut oats overnight can help reduce cooking time by about 5-10 minutes. Making for a quicker breakfast option to help speed up your morning routine.
- 1 cup steel cut oats
- 4 cups almond milk (or milk of your choice)
- ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp raisins
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- Mix all ingredients together in a bowl.
- Cover and let soak in the fridge overnight.
- The following morning, add to saucepan, heat over medium heat until boiling.
- Turn heat to low and let simmer 15-20 minutes or until mixture reaches your desired consistency. Stirring occasionally.
- Serve immediately, or place in the fridge to enjoy your oatmeal cold.
- Top with pecans, walnuts, or fruit of choice. Drizzle with maple syrup, if desired.
Also labeled as “old fashioned” oats, these are not the healthiest variety, but are usually the most common and are quicker to cook than steel cut oats.
You will still get most of the health benefits, but these oats are not quite as nutrient-dense as steel cut.
These are an excellent option for when you’re in a hurry to get out the door, or need something to add to a baked creation. They are also excellent when ground down into oat flour for a gluten-free diet substitution.
How To Make Oatmeal With Rolled Oats
- ½ cup rolled oats
- 1 cup water (or substitute almond or coconut milk)
- Pinch of sea salt
- Combine all ingredients in a pot on medium-high heat. Bring to boil.
- Reduce heat to low and cook for 5 minutes. Stirring occasionally. Take off heat when desired consistency.
- For a delicious addition to your oatmeal, try adding cinnamon, peanut butter, berries, raisins, nuts, or seeds.
Though a desirable option for those struggling with patience, or on a tight morning schedule, instant oats are not worth the blow to your health.
Don’t be lured in by their enticing flavors and quick cooking time. They are prepackaged and usually full of chemicals, added sugar, and other processed ingredients.
The flavorings are from processed ingredients, while there aren’t even that many real oats in each package. Choosing instant oats over traditional oats is similar to picking a fast food drive through over a home cooked meal. Stay away from instant oatmeal.
Your body will thank you for it.
Other Ways To Use Oats
Oatmeal Face Mask
There is a reason so many beauty products and lotions include oatmeal in their list of active ingredients.
This healthy food makes a wonderful face mask that tightens and restores skin, while exfoliating and moisturizing. What’s not to love?
What You Need:
- ½ cup hot water
- 1 of cup oatmeal
- 2 tbsp plain yogurt
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1 egg white
What To Do:
- Mix hot water and oatmeal together and let sit for 2-3 minutes.
- Stir in other ingredients.
- Apply to face in a thin layer. Save extra mask in a seal-able container and use within a week.
- Let sit for 15-20 minutes and rinse thoroughly with warm water.
- Be sure to rinse in your kitchen sink to avoid clogging your bathroom drain.
Though baking soda is the ideal option, an open bowl of oats can be set in your fridge to absorb funky odors and help freshen your refrigerator.
Finely grind oats in your food processor and make a paste by adding cold water. Apply paste to the affected area and enjoy the cooling relief.
This works well for poison ivy, bug bites, or mild burns.
If you have a more significant issue with itching, try adding ground oatmeal to warm running bath water and soak for 15 minutes.
This method also works wonders for pets struggling with fleas or itchy hot spots. Bathe your itchy dog in ground oatmeal and water to alleviate some of their symptoms.
Sore Muscle Heat Pack
Whether you slept on your neck wrong, pulled a muscle while exercising, or are just sore from the day-to-day activities of life, whipping up a heat pack from oatmeal will help soothe and relieve tightness in your muscles.
Find a small pillowcase or cloth bag and fill it with oats. Tie closed with string, or sew shut.
Heat for 30 seconds at a time in the microwave until the bag is the desired temperature.
Place on sore muscles and relax.
This oatmeal bag can be used multiple times.