Oatmeals are a great source of fiber, but why is oatmeal healthy? Oats have been found to be effective in reducing cholesterol levels in blood vessels as well as promoting healthy bowel movements. In addition to being rich in calcium and protein, oatmeal is also low on calories making it an excellent choice if you want to shed those extra pounds without sacrificing much energy or feeling hungry all day long. If you’re looking for some more reasons why oats should be part of your daily diet regimen then here’s a list of 6 benefits that can help you make better choices when choosing what kind of oatmeal to eat. Let’s start with…
It Helps to Improve Digestion
The soluble fibers contained within whole grain oats work together with other foods eaten at the same meal to aid in breaking down food particles so they can pass through the digestive system without any trouble. This prevents constipation from happening which may cause stomach cramps while increasing the amount of waste passing out through the intestines. When this happens, there will be less room left for unhealthy fats and carbohydrates.
Fiber plays a very important role in keeping our bodies free from infections because it keeps us clean by removing bad bacteria along with their harmful toxins. With its high content of dietary fibre, oatmeal has shown to reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering LDL (the “bad” type of cholesterol), preventing diabetes symptoms like weight gain and fatigue.
One bowl of cooked steel cut oats offers about 20% of the total recommended intake of dietary fibre per day. That means each serving provides around 2 grams of fibre which equals to over half a teaspoon of ground flaxseed! For people who suffer from chronic diseases such as cancer, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s Disease, eating oatmeal regularly could help them feel better since it contains antioxidants and phytochemicals known to fight inflammation and infection.
Its Nutrient-Rich Makes It a Perfect Breakfast Option
Steel cut or quick cooking oats contain more nutrients than rolled ones but they take longer to cook. Rolled oats need shorter time compared to steel cut oats although both offer similar nutritional value. Quickly prepared oatmeal made using water instead of milk takes only 10 minutes to prepare while a bowl of raw steel cut oats needs 12 hours to become ready. Both types of oats provide complex carbs and proteins needed to keep our body active throughout the morning until lunchtime. Water extracted iron found in oats not only promotes strong hair shafts but protects against sun damage too.
Iron deficiency causes loss of color and strength in hair due to lack of oxygen supply resulting to duller strands. Eating oatmeal everyday ensures sufficient uptake of vitamins A, B6 and E essential for healthy skin.
Beta carotene, another vitamin present in oats, works as an antioxidant protecting cells from damaging effects caused by radiation exposure. Lutein, a powerful antioxidant responsible for turning off cell division cycle, fights the formation of macular degeneration.
Zinc, one of the most abundant minerals in human tissues, is required for producing collagen necessary for healing wounds. Another mineral present in oats called magnesium protects eyesight by strengthening muscles surrounding the eye lids. All these benefits allow oatmeal to function effectively as a natural anti-aging agent.
Rich in Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Omega 3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated oils and considered beneficial in maintaining the overall health of humans. They serve as precursors of hormones including sex hormone testosterone and brain chemicals involved in memory and mood control. These fatty acids protect the cardiovascular system and maintain normal functioning of arteries. They assist in regulating heartbeat and blood pressure and even promote bone growth.
Although it doesn’t affect cholesterol level directly, consuming omega 3 fatty acids lowers triglycerides thereby improving heart health. Oatmeal contains large amounts of alpha linolenic acid which is the main component of omega 3 fatty acid family.
So next time you visit the grocery store, check the labels carefully before buying something else. Not only does it taste delicious, it’s actually good for your health!
Lower Blood Sugar Levels
Studies show that regular consumption of oatmeal lower blood sugar levels significantly. However, don’t expect instant results especially if you skip the porridge altogether. You’ll need to increase your physical activity and watch portion size to achieve optimal glycemic response.
Glycemic Index measures how fast glucose builds up inside bloodstream after taking carbohydrate containing foods. High GI foods result in slower absorption rate causing sharp spike in blood sugar levels which eventually leads to obesity. People suffering from pre-diabetes or Type II Diabetes must follow medical advice given by their doctor and consult nutritionist if possible.
Having said that, eating foods with low GI values would still help manage blood sugar levels and regulate insulin secretion. Insulin, produced by pancreas, is responsible for transporting sugars into fat cells where they accumulate and convert easily into unwanted excess fat deposits.
Therefore, controlling blood sugar levels requires proper management of insulin level. Glucose metabolism starts once we consume carbohydrates. After digesting carbohydrates, simple sugars turn immediately into glucose molecules and are transported to liver, muscle and fat tissue via small channels called receptors located in our cells’ membranes. Once absorbed, glucose triggers release of insulin from pancreatic beta cells located near the bottom parts of duodenum and jejunum sections of the small intestine.
Pancreatic beta cells secrete insulin to break down excessive glucose into smaller pieces to avoid hyperglycemia. As mentioned earlier, oatmeal contains plenty of fiber which slows down the process of absorbing glucose from the intestinal tract.
Since oatmeal digests slowly, it leaves enough space for glucose to get converted into glycogen stored in liver and skeletal muscles to use later during exercise. Consuming moderate amount of oatmeal every day would definitely help lower your chances of developing Type II Diabetes.
Low Calorie Density
Calorie density refers to the number of calories packed into unit volume of food. Most Americans tend to underestimate the caloric contribution of their favorite dishes simply because they love the taste. But think twice before digging into that second piece of pie thinking it won’t add up to your daily calorie requirement.
To determine calorie dense foods, divide calories by 100 to find actual percentage of calories. Foods having higher caloric content usually come in larger portion sizes. On average, 1 cup of plain boiled rice contains 120 calories. Divide that by 100 to obtain a ratio of 12 calories/100g serving. Now imagine yourself enjoying 4 cups of it. Is that really worth it? Try substituting brown basmati rice with healthier wild brown rice and enjoy the same flavor yet save yourself hundreds of calories. Calories aren’t everything though. Just because a particular dish has fewer calories doesn’t mean it’s nutritious either.
Some ingredients used in preparing certain cuisine might pose serious problem for kidney patients. Certain spices like cumin, nutmeg and cinnamon trigger production of nitrogenous compounds called uremics leading to painful gout attacks. Chili peppers contain capsaicinoid compounds affecting nervous systems, respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts.
Garlic and onions contain sulfur compounds irritating nasal passages and inflamed sinuses. Other side effects include vomiting, diarrhea, sweating, increased breathing rates, headache, nausea and weakness. So before diving in, always remember that moderation is key. Eat moderately and choose wisely.
Helps Relieve Constipation
Constipation occurs when stool remains undigested in colon for days. Left untreated, it becomes hard and dry which increases discomfort associated with pain. It affects smooth movement of bowels and creates difficulty in elimination. Regular consumption of oatmeal acts as laxative forcing stools to move freely through the intestines. It stimulates fluid secretion into intestinal walls and absorbs toxic substances faster than usual.
Besides acting as stimulant, oatmeal also helps lubricate intestinal wall lining to ensure easy passage of feces through the gut. By doing so, oatmeal contributes to prevention of hemorrhoids and anal fissures commonly experienced among elderly males.
Now that you know a few things about oatmeal, try incorporating it gradually into your daily routine. Start replacing sugary cereals, pastries and desserts with unsweetened oatmeal. You’ll notice significant change in your lifestyle and waistline in no time!