Many people who eat oats for breakfast do it because they love the taste. Others love the fact that it keeps them full for hours. Most, however, don’t fully appreciate just how good a bowl of oatmeal is for their health and wellness.
Through the years, oatmeal’s popularity as a health food has continued to grow. An article published by Healthline revealed that oats contain at 10.6 grams of fibre per hundred grams. It also contains avenanthramide, a polyphenol that is exclusively found in oats. Polyphenol can help reduce inflammation in the arteries, as well as regulating blood pressure. So if you consume oats every day, you are certainly doing something good for your body.
Promotes Weight Loss
Losing weight is never an easy journey. But oats might just give you the help you need for success. In 2009, the Molecular Nutrition & Food Research published a scientific study backing this claim. The study revealed that the β-glucan compound found in oats increases the level of cholecystokinin hormones. This eventually results to a decreased appetite, and can prevent overeating. The β-glucan found in oats feeds the healthy bacteria in our guts. This, in turn, can help our immune system, and may even protect against cancer.
Improves Blood Pressure
Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death, not just in North America, but also in other parts of the globe. Our risk of heart disease is lowered if we keep our blood pressure at an optimum level. Further reinforcing this was a study published by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The study showed that consuming a diet high in whole-grains is as good as taking medications for hypertension. Yet, it eliminates the awful side-effects of hypertension drugs, and actually improves health.
The β-glucan in oatmeal creates a thick gel paste in our gut. This can help reduce the absorption of cholesterol, so much so that even 70g of oats (one bowl) can reduce harmful cholesterol (LDL) levels by around 7%! According to Dr. George Grimble from University College, Lodon, “That’s similar to results you might get from taking a statin…and if everyone ate porridge (oatmeal) we would certainly significantly cut rates of heart disease and possibly also bowel cancer.”
Optimizes Blood Sugar Levels
Have you ever experienced a sugar crash? Well, you’re not alone. Many people find their blood sugar levels spiking and crashing throughout the day. However, consuming oatmeal can help to regulate blood sugar levels more evenly. The high-fibre content of oats ensures that the sugars in the food are slowly released into the bloodstream which means a low glycemic index. The Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a study which revealed that a low glycemic diet can improve insulin resistance and reduce one’s risk of developing metabolic syndrome and Type 2 Diabetes.
The British Journal of Nutrition released a supplemental issue which stated that oats can have a significant effect in improving one’s diet quality, satiety, and digestive function. Consuming oats will make you feel fuller quickly. When you feel full, you are giving your body enough time to digest your food. However, that is not the case with many other types of food, particularly sugary and highly processed foods. Such foods can leave you feeling hungry in a very short time, and can lead to overeating.
Lowers Chances of Having a Colorectal Cancer
Researchers in Netherlands and Britain conducted a study to discover the connection between a high-fibre diet and occurrence of colorectal cancer. Results showed that participants who took an extra 10 grams of fibre daily have a 10% lower chance of developing colorectal cancer.
Contains Antioxidant Properties
Oats contain a powerful antioxidant called avenathramides. Aside from inhibiting inflammation, this antioxidant also increases the production of nitric oxides, a compound that prevents hardening of the arteries. Antioxidants are also known for their ability to protect the body’s cells against free radicals – which is considered one of the main culprits behind the development of heart diseases and cancers. A Nutrition and Cancer study showed that avenathramides can reduce the growth and spread of cancer cells in the colon.
A Nursing Mother’s Best Friend
Lastly, oats are considered a galactagogue: a food which increases milk production. Since many breastfeeding mothers struggle at times to maintain an adequate milk production, it is good to know that something as simple as a bowl of oats could assist with this. In fact, oats are a staple ingredient in most lactation biscuits for this very reason.
Isn’t it great to know that something as simple as starting the day with a bowl of oats could have such a profound effect on your health? In fact, a professor of food and human nutrition at the University of Newcastle, in the UK, made the claim that “if everyone started the day with oatmeal, would have a significant impact on public health” and that eating one bowl per day could transform the health of a nation. Who would have thought the humble oats were so powerful?
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