Incredible effects of consuming oatmeal every day, says dietician: eat this, not that

Oats are a powerful whole grain. When eaten in their closest to whole form (rolled oats or steel cut oats) they are incredibly nutritious. Packed with fiber, plant protein, minerals like phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, and antioxidant vitamin E, this affordable ingredient should be a staple in the kitchen.

A word for wise, try to avoid instant oats or oatmeal packages that are flavored and made with added sugars. While quicker to prepare and sweeter than plain oats, the extra processing will strip away the nutritional components of whole oats. Then set your stove (or your glass jar for overnight oats) ready for a morning of oat goodness. Here are five of the most amazing effects of consuming oatmeal every day.

oatmeal with cinnamon, bananas and blueberries

Oatmeal is rich in soluble fiber, more precisely it is rich in a soluble fiber called beta-glucan. One serving of rolled oats contains about one or two grams of beta-glucan. In research studies, beta-glucan has been shown to be the active ingredient responsible for the LDL cholesterol-lowering effects of oatmeal.

There are several ways that fiber, especially soluble fiber, affects cholesterol levels. The takeaway key here is that you should aim to consume at least three grams of beta-glucans per day for high cholesterol levels, and oatmeal is a fabulous food source to begin with.

bowl of oatmeal with fresh berries

Insulin resistance occurs when cells are unable to respond properly to insulin, which makes blood sugar regulation difficult. One dietary modification that can help reverse insulin resistance and dysregulated blood sugar levels is to eat slow-absorbing carbohydrates that are high in fiber.

One serving of rolled oats provides four grams of fiber, and one to two of those grams are in the form of beta-glucan. Beta-glucan slows the appearance of glucose in the blood which then slows down the secretion of insulin.

oatmeal chia seeds walnuts blueberries

When we consume any food we are not just feeding ourselves, we are feeding the world of bacteria that live in our gastrointestinal tract. As the hosts of the bacteria inside us (microbiome), we have the ability to choose food that will help grow the good bacteria in our guts or the bad bacteria.

As we found out, oatmeal is high in fiber, however once cooked and then cooled, oatmeal is high in another form of starch: resistant starch. While more research is needed, resistant starches can help promote a more diverse and healthier gut microbiome.

To get the benefit of resistant starches, enjoy overnight oats instead of hot, cooked oats.

oatmeal with almonds and blueberries

There is a reason you may crave carbs when you have stomach problems. Not only are carbohydrates comforting, but many of them, especially oats, are high in both soluble and insoluble fiber.

Insoluble fiber is a stool bulking agent, so if IBS-D occurs eating oats can help with more formed bowel movements. On the other hand, for those struggling with IBS-C, the soluble fiber in oatmeal can help with regularity.

steel cut oatmeal with berries

Oats are a rich source of Vitamin E. Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant and is excellent for brain health by protecting it from oxidative stress.

Additionally, oats are a good source of magnesium, zinc, and phosphorus, three minerals that are crucial for brain health and can help reduce symptoms of depression. By themselves, oats are a slow-burning carbohydrate, which means that it takes some time to digest and absorb. Also known as complex carbohydrates, foods in this category are the brain’s preferred energy source.

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