6 reasons why this whole grain needs to be a breakfast staple
Did your grandmother fix oatmeal on cold mornings to “warm your insides”? She may have been on to something. Several recent studies have revealed people who regularly eat whole grains, including oats, brown rice and quinoa, reduce cholesterol levels and their risk of heart disease, stabilize blood glucose levels and improve intestinal health.
Though many foods don’t have the nutritional muscle to wear the “superfood” crown, oatmeal is a healthy choice that does. Loaded with soluble fiber and healthy carbohydrates, one cup of this gluten-free breakfast staple is low in fat, packs six grams of protein and comes in at a skinny 150 calories.
Oatmeal is also an excellent source of important minerals, including iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, selenium, thiamin and zinc.
If those aren’t enough reasons to whip up a batch every morning, here are six more healthy benefits of oatmeal:
1. It curbs inflammation. Lab tests show the antioxidants in oats have anti-inflammatory properties. Though you probably can’t (and shouldn’t!) eat the amount of oatmeal necessary to get the antioxidant levels used in those tests, smaller doses over time may have benefits.
2. It stops cravings. Oatmeal stays in your stomach longer—perhaps that “warm your insides” bit your grandmother talked about—making you feel full longer.
3. It protects against cancer. Oatmeals contains plant lignans, one of which—enterolactone—is thought to protect against hormone-dependent cancers, like breast cancer.
4. It helps ward off heart failure. A Harvard study of 21,000 men found those who consumed a daily bowl of unrefined whole grain cereal had a 29 percent lower risk of heart failure. The grain most easily prepared unrefined? Oats.
5. It enhances immune system response. Beta-gluten, the unique fiber in oatmeal, has been shown to help neutrophils travel to the site of an infection more quickly, and it boosts their ability to eliminate bacteria.
6. It reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes. The fiber content and complex carbohydrates slow the conversion of oatmeal to simple sugars, while the high levels of magnesium nourish the body’s proper use of glucose and insulin secretion.