“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” That’s hardly news. But what’s even more important is what you eat for your first meal of the day. We need a solid, nutritious foundation for energy that won’t leave us feeling heavy and sluggish or something sweet that will lead us to crash later. Oatmeal fits the bill.
Health Benefits of Oatmeal
Rich in fiber
Fiber is important because it helps the body to move waste so it can be effectively eliminated. Toxins that build up in fat cells lead to gallstones and serious disease and make it difficult to lose weight.
Low glycemic impact (GI)
The typical North American diet contains an inordinate amount of sugar, which has led to an increase in the incidence of obesity, diabetes, and cancer. Processed foods and refined sugars rapidly raise blood sugar levels, especially when eaten alone.(1)
A study at the University of Texas concluded:
“We determined that it was specifically fructose, in table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup, ubiquitous within our food system, which was responsible for facilitating lung metastasis and 12-HETE production in breast tumors.”(2)
Oatmeal’s low GI regulates sugar levels and prevents a sugar high and crash. When blood sugar levels spike and then drop, your body reacts by telling you that you have to eat to increase them. You may then feel the urge to eat, even if you’re not hungry. It’s a dangerous cycle that can lead to weight gain and even leave you feeling moody.
Organic oats contain an excellent balance of nutrients for the start of your day: protein, magnesium, selenium (provides a dose of “master antioxidant” glutathione), antioxidant phenolic acids (found to have a profound effect on combating cancer and neurodegenerative disease(3)), copper, molybdenum, phosphorus (from phytic acid), manganese and vitamins B1 and E in the form of tocotrienol:
“Tocotrienols possess powerful antioxidant, anticancer, and cholesterol-lowering properties.”(4)
High fiber and protein found in oatmeal make you feel full and the feeling lasts for quite a while without a subsequent crash.
The soluble fiber (attracts water and turns to gel during digestion) in oat bran reduces cholesterol absorption in the bloodstream, lowering the risk of heart disease.(5) Because of this, it’s even commercially labelled as a health food.
What are the differences in oats?
Currently, there are no genetically-modified oats. The preference for organic oat products has to do with the herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers used in their raising.
Commercial synthetic chemicals used on grain crops have been found to cause a plethora of health hazards and are best avoided.
- Old-fashioned or rolled oats have been steamed during processing, leaving them flat in shape. They cook faster than steel-cut oats and better retain their shape during cooking. When it comes to nutrition, rolled oats are almost identical to steel-cut but with a slightly higher GI.
- Steel-cut oats have a denser texture than other cuts of oats. Some people prefer its texture to softer varieties.
- Instant and quick-cooking oats have been pre-cooked, so result in a soft texture—better for using in baking. Their nutrition is retained in the process.
- Oat bran is the outer layer on the oat kernel. It’s loaded with protein, iron, and fiber. Sold separately, you can add oat bran to other foods to boost nutrition.
- Oat groats is fun to say. They are the whole oat kernel, with minimal processing, so take longer to cook and have a grainier texture than oatmeal. Great in stuffing.