Also known as white oats, oatmeal is a porridge made from ground, crushed or rolled oats. Scientists have had growing interest in oatmeal for the past recent years because of the wide range of health benefits that it offers to the body. According to studies, a person who consumes a bowl of oatmeal a day has a healthier heart than someone who does not. Oatmeal is rich in fiber and contains essential antioxidants that boost the immune system and help prevent cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Studies have also proven that compared with other kinds of porridges, oatmeal contains the most amount of B vitamins and calories. It has long been a vital staple of athletes’ diets because of its water soluble fiber and high complex carbohydrates content which both promote slow digestion and stabilize the levels of blood glucose in the body. Here are 10 specific health benefits of oatmeal:
10. People who cannot eat gluten can eat oatmeal instead.
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People who have protein deficiency are often advised to take gluten, which is a protein composite processed from wheat and other grains like rye and barley. While the benefits of gluten are undeniable, some people cannot take them because of celiac disease—an abnormal immune reaction to partially digested grains. This is where the benefit of oatmeal comes in. According to studies, those who have celiac disease can have oatmeal as a good alternative to gluten. Oatmeal contains a small amount of gluten and provides just as much nutrition as gluten.
9. Eating oatmeal helps prevent weight gain.
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Technically, any food that is rich in fiber helps improve one’s digestion. Oatmeal is the perfect diet for people who want to lose some weight because unlike bread or rice, it allows them to feel a lot fuller for a longer period of time. The fiber that oatmeal contains works in increasing the viscosity of the content of the stomach, thus causing it to take longer time to get empty. Based on studies, when a person feels full for a long period of time, he has the tendency to not crave for sugary or salty foods throughout the day. It was also proven that taking oatmeal everyday reduces the risk of obesity.
8. Oatmeal boosts the immune system.
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The beta gluten content of oatmeal helps boost the immune system. This type of fiber reduces the risk of heart disease and gives a boost to the immune system as it repairs certain areas of the body that are struggling against bacterial infection. Oatmeal does it by aiding the non-specific immune cells known as neutrophils to locate and repair infected tissues. To fast-track healing, it targets the first line of defense of the body against pathogens through quick location of the neutrophils.
7. Oatmeal prevents the development of diabetes.
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On top of fiber and protein, oatmeal is also a perfect source of magnesium. This particular nutrient works in regulating the insulin and glucose levels in the body. When a person has regular intake of magnesium over the course of eight years, he is less likely to develop diabetes when he gets old because whole grains that are rich in magnesium like oatmeal help decrease glucose levels in the blood by as much as 31 percent.
6. Oatmeal stabilizes blood sugar.
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Aside from helping prevent cancer, oatmeal also helps stabilize the level of blood sugar in the body. According to studies, foods that are rich in fiber help mute blood sugar swings in the body. Because oatmeal is a fibrous food, it is not broken down by the body and it has no effect on the blood sugar because it is not digested. As oatmeal stabilizes blood sugar levels in the blood, it keep one from experiencing mid-morning slumps which are normally caused by eating too much sugar and carbohydrates in the morning.
5. Oatmeal helps prevent the development of breast cancer.
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Scientifically speaking, people, particularly women who regularly take in a good amount of fiber are less likely to develop breast cancer compared to women who do not. Fiber that comes from whole grains like oatmeal has the capacity to attack carcinogens and lower the levels of estrogen in the body, thus protecting the development of cancer. A study that was once conducted in the United Kingdom proved that by eating oatmeal, women who are on pre-menopausal stage can actually reduce the risk of breast cancer.
4. Oatmeal prevents the hardening of the arteries.
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Oatmeal contains antioxidants known as avenanthramides which do not only prevent the development of heart disease but also prevent the hardening of the arteries by producing molecules which allow monocytes to stick to the arterial walls. By eating at least six grams of whole wheat every week, one can reduce the buildup of plaque along the passageways of the arteries that can eventually develop to atherosclerosis. It is also best to eat oatmeal with a glass of drink that is rich in vitamin C such as orange juice in order to enhance its cardiovascular benefits.
3. Oatmeal is rich in antioxidants.
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Antioxidants play a vital role in promoting health. Aside from the fact that it is rich in fiber, oatmeal is also rich in antioxidants called avenanthramides which are essential to the body’s immune system. These antioxidants help fight off free radicals in the body that target to destroy the good cholesterol known as high-density lipoproteins or HDL. They also work in keeping the LDL cholesterol from oxidizing from copper, which has been proven to help reduce the possibility of developing cardiovascular diseases.
2. Oatmeal reduces the risk of developing high blood pressure.
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Known for being rich in fiber, oatmeal is one of the healthiest foods for the heart. Because of its fiber content, oatmeal offers a broad range of benefits for the cardiovascular system, and one of them is the reduction of the risk of developing high blood pressure. Health experts recommend among postmenopausal women who are more likely to develop high blood pressure to eat six servings of oatmeal every week in order to prevent the condition. Men are also advised to eat at least one bowl of oatmeal a day to prevent heart failure.
1. Oatmeal helps lower cholesterol.
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Because oatmeal is full of soluble fiber just like barley, pears, and apples, it is very ideal for people who wish to lower their cholesterol levels. The soluble fiber that oatmeal contains works in inhibiting the absorption of the body of low-density lipoprotein or LDL, otherwise known as the bad cholesterol. According to studies, a cup and a half of oatmeal a day already contains about five grams of fiber and is enough to reduce the level of bad cholesterol in the body.