“You have to eat oatmeal or you’ll dry up. Anyone knows that.” –Kay Thompson
Your grandma and the Scots ate oats because they are inexpensive and grow anywhere. I eat it for its taste and nutrition and many other benefits. It’s on my list of Powerfoods that I eat regularly.
It’s really true what the cereal TV commercials say about those “crunchy oat clusters.” They are good for you, particularly if you make your own.
10 Reasons Why I Love Oatmeal
1. Low calorie food; stops cravings.
A cup is only 130 calories! It also stays in your stomach longer, making you feel full longer. You will have less hunger and cravings.
2. Provides high levels of fiber, low levels of fat, and high levels of protein.
It’s on the short list for the highest protein levels of any grain.
3. Stabilizes blood sugar and reduces risk of diabetes (type 2)
The high fiber and complex carbohydrates slow down the conversion of this whole food to simple sugars. The high levels of magnesium nourish the body’s proper use of glucose and insulin secretion.
4. Removes your bad cholesterol (without affecting your good cholesterol).
Many studies have shown that the unique fiber in oatmeal called beta-glucan, has beneficial effects on cholesterol levels
5. Gluten-free safe.
I am gluten sensitive and have no problem with oatmeal. If you are gluten intolerant or have celiac disease there is some cause for concern. Oats lack many of the prolamines (proteins) found in wheat (gluten) but oats do contain avenin. Avenin is a prolamine that is considered toxic to the intestinal mucosa of avenin-sensitive individuals. Oats can also contain gluten from nearby wheat field contamination and processing facilities. Many studies have shown that many celiacs can consume wheat free oats with no problems.
6. Contains lignans which protect against heart disease and cancer.
Oatmeal, like many whole grains, contains plant lignans, which are converted by intestinal flora into mammalian lignans. One lignan, called enterolactone, is thought to protect against breast and other hormone-dependent cancers as well as heart disease.
7. Contains unique antioxidants beneficial for heart disease.
A study at Tufts University shows that the unique antioxidants in oatmeal called called avenanthramides, help prevent free radicals from damaging LDL cholesterol, thus reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.
8. Protects against heart failure.
A Harvard study on 21,000 participants over 19 years showed that found that men who enjoyed a daily morning bowl of whole grain (but not refined) cereal had a 29 percent lower risk of heart failure.
Guess what grain is most easily found and prepared unrefined – oats.
9. Enhances immune response to disease. The unique fiber in oatmeal called beta-gluten also has been shown to helps neutrophils travel to the site of an infection more quickly and it also enhances their ability to eliminate the bacteria they find there
10. It tastes good!
All oats whether in flakes or groats form have gone through a heat process which gives them their rich nutty flavor. This keeps them from spoiling. They have also been hulled. This process does not strip away all the bran and germ allowing them to retain a concentrated source of fiber and nutrients .
This means however, that oats are not raw and will not sprout.
Different Kinds of Oatmeal:
All the benefits mentioned above are actually for oats. Most people don’t think about oats – they think about oatmeal. In fact most people could not identify whole oats if they were sitting in front of them.
There are many different levels of processing of oatmeal. Generally the larger the “flake” – as in rolled oats or the bigger the seed or groat – as in steel cut oats – the less processed it will be, the more nutrients it retains and the slower it will be to digest. It will also be slower to cook though.
Most people think steel cut oats are the least processed since that is how the largest groats are labeled, but some of the most processed oats like instant and baby are also steel cut.
Interesting fact: Oats were the favorite cereal of Prophet Muhammad.