Start your day with oatmeal. While rich in fiber, it is also rich in minerals and vitamin B. The real health benefits of oats are closely connected with some unique properties of the grain.
Oatmeal is a real super food. It can help you with weight control, it improves digestion, regulates cholesterol levels, reduces the risk of diabetes. It even reduces the risk of some types of intestinal cancers.
Let’s find out.
Benefits of Beta-glycan
Beta-glycan is a water-soluble fiber found in oats. Mixing soluble fiber with water creates a gel. It’s a slow moving material which helps to delay digestion resulting in better absorption of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients from the food. You can think of it as a kind of a transporting medium that gives adequate time for absorption of the nourishing elements from the food through intestinal walls.
Beta-glycan can help fighting diabetes
An additional benefit of this slow-moving gel is that it also delays the sugar absorption which keeps the blood glucose at a stable level. An excellent way of preventing diabetes and improving insulin sensitivity.
Beta-glycan decreases cholesterol levels
In many studies, the beta-glycan fiber in oats is proven as an effective way of reducing blood cholesterol levels. A mechanism that binds soluble fiber from oatmeal with bile acids is forcing excess cholesterol to go out through waste, which decreases the levels of both the total cholesterol and the low-density lipoprotein or LDL (the “bad cholesterol”).
Synergy with Avenanthramide
Avenanthramide is an antioxidant compound unique to oats. It prevents the oxidation of LDL influenced by the free radicals accumulated in our body.
LDL produces inflammation in arteries, and it can damage the tissue during the oxidation process when it reacts with the free radical. This process leads to risen risk of strokes and heart attacks. By reducing the levels of cholesterol and preventing its oxidation, oatmeal helps us protect from most common heart diseases and arteriosclerosis.
Beta-glycan prevents obesity
Oatmeal is a delicious breakfast food, and it’s also very filling. As we pointed previously, beta-glycan in oatmeal is delaying the time it takes to empty your bowels which make you feel full for a longer period. Feeling fullness is helping you to consume fewer calories and lose weight.
Spikes in blood sugar levels are making us hungry. Oatmeal can diminish those spikes thanks to the soluble fiber. It’s one more factor that prevents obesity.
Compared to any other whole grain, oats are the far richest with soluble fiber. But, oats are also rich in insoluble fibers. Unlike soluble, insoluble fibers are acting as a small pushing brooms that are moving through our bowels. On their way, they are sweeping out every corner of the intestines. This action removes toxins from the body which decreases the risk of some cancers.
Oatmeal is at the top of the list for healthy breakfast. It is rich in fiber, increases nutrient absorption, and is beneficial for digestion. But, if you are not accustomed to fiber rich food be aware of some problems. The fiber in large amounts can cause abdominal bloating, gas, cramping and diarrhea. It could be considerably uncomfortable, but, once you become accustomed to fiber rich food, it will go away. So, don’t worry.
As with every food, you should be moderate and well balanced.
Oatmeal for beginners
While the health benefits of oats are incredible, oatmeal, to be honest, could be quite tasteless. Therefore, if you want to reach for a full healthy taste, you can try this quick and perfect wake-me-up breakfast recipe:
SPICED OATMEAL WITH ALMONDS
- 1 cup oats
- 2 cups rice milk
- ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground or finely chopped fresh ginger
- 1 banana, sliced
- 1 tablespoon chopped almonds
- 2 teaspoons flaxseed
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil
- Honey on top, for sweetening
- In a saucepan, bring the oats, rice milk, cardamom, cinnamon, and ginger to a boil. Simmer for 4 to 5 minutes.
- Add the banana, almonds, and one teaspoon of coconut oil.
- Simmer for an additional 4 to 5 minutes, until the fruit and the milk, are absorbed.
- Remove from the heat and top with the flaxseed.
- Add the honey to sweeten as desired and serve.
You can substitute rice milk with almond or cow’s milk (or 1:1 ratio of water and milk) or even better with freshly squeezed orange juice.
Bananas can be substitute with some other fruits like peaches, figs, mangoes, raisins, or prunes.
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