I love a nice bowl of warm oatmeal on a cold winter morning. It’s so warming and comforting. My kids love it too! I love that there are so many different ways to prepare oatmeal to keep it interesting. Not only is oatmeal delicious, but it also has many great health benefits as well.
Oats are a significant source of soluble fiber. Soluble fiber breaks down as it passes through the digestive tract, forming a gel that traps some substances related to cholesterol. This process reduces the absorption of cholesterol into the bloodstream. The LDL (bad cholesterol) is trapped without lowering good cholesterol (HDL). Oats and grains are also one of the best sources of compounds called tocotrienols, which inhibit cholesterol synthesis and have been found to lower blood cholesterol.
A daily serving of whole oats rich in soluble fibre can reduce hypertension, or high blood pressure, and so reduce the need for blood pressure medication. Did you know that nearly 1 in 3 American adults has high blood pressure? Rather than relying on medication, I am a big believer in incorporating foods, like oatmeal, that can help naturally lower blood pressure.
Eating oats can spread the rise in blood sugars over a longer time period, which can help prevent many complications associated with diabetes. The beta-glucan slows down digestion and prolongs the absorption of carbohydrates into the bloodstream. Slow digestion means dramatic changes in blood sugar levels are avoided. Spikes in sugar levels put us at risk for diabetes, so slow gradual changes in blood sugar are ideal to properly manage sugar levels.
Some of my favorite ways to eat oats include oatmeal, adding oats to a smoothie, including oats in energy balls, and even healthy oatmeal cookies! Enjoy some oats as a healthy addition to your diet in 2016!