The Benefits of Eating Oatmeal Daily – It’s Healthy and So Versatile.
Oats are not only one of the best choices that you can have for breakfast, but are so versatile that they can be used in many other different recipes that you can eat at anytime of the day. They are an inexpensive healthy grain that is chocked full of nutrients that are all essential for our well-being. The benefits of eating oatmeal daily range from a healthy heart and lowering blood sugar to helping you achieve your weight loss goals.
As a child I was often told by my parents that oatmeal was the best breakfast you could have, but I still reached for those lovely sweet tasting cereals such as rice krispies or sugar puffs whenever I got the chance.
However as I got older I realised that oats are not only a healthier but also a cheaper option that can be quite tasty. They are also a great breakfast to fill you up and give you more energy throughout the day.
Types of Oats
All types of oats are full of nutrition and start off as whole unbroken grain kernels known as oat groats.
These are then processed to make the types of oats we find on our supermarket shelves, the different types have varying levels of processing and obviously the less processed they are the healthier they are for us.
Steel Cut Oats
The least processed is Steel cut oats which are basically whole groats just cut into pieces and can be quite chewy. They take the longest time to cook and as well as being used to make traditional porridge are also good for making meatloaf and providing the texture in stuffing.
These are known as whole oats or ‘old fashioned oats’ and have just been steamed and pressed flat, they absorb more liquid and have a nice texture. These are probably the most versatile variety of oats as not only make a great warm breakfast but can also be used for making all types of healthy bars, muffins as well as a cold breakfast option.
Both steel and rolled oats have the highest fibre content due to the minimum amount of processing that has taken place.
These take very little time to cook but are highly processed and also tend to have a lot mushier consistency. They often can often have many preservatives added to them as well including extra sugar and salt.
So if you are constantly short on time and want to use this type instead then make sure you read the label before buying them.
Oats are loaded with fibre and carbohydrates as well as being a decent source of protein and have the added benefits of being gluten free.
Half a cup of rolled oats has only 150 calories but has:
6g of protein
27g of carbohydrates
4g of fibre
Also they are a good source of vitamins particularly vitamin B1 and minerals especially calcium, iron, manganese, phosphorous and magnesium.
They are a high soluble fibre, which is slow to release into bloodstream, therefore not only don’t you get the sugar spike and subsequent crash that you do from sugary cereals but as they take longer to digest will keep you full all the way till lunchtime. Research has also shown that they contain a compound that can reduce your appetite throughout the day.
Being a whole grain they are good for helping to lower blood pressure, cholesterol levels and maintaining a healthy heart and can also reduce blood sugar. They help stimulate the growth of good bacteria within our digestive systems and have been shown to lower the risk of colon cancer.
Ways to use
Everyone knows oats make a great warm breakfast that fills your stomach and you can make this more exciting by adding chia seeds or fruit.
I always use rolled oats as they can be used to make so many other yummy things such as healthy flapjacks, peanut butter balls or yummy easy to make banana bars and you can see each of these recipes and some of my other favourites in the nutrition section on my website.
They are perfect if you are always short on time in the morning as you can prepare them the night before by making overnight oats. Or why not just add them to your smoothies to make them more substantial. You can have a quick look at some of my favourites on the Quick and Healthy Smoothies post.
I always have plenty of oats in the house as not only are they really good for my health, but leave me feeling fuller and are a perfect ingredient for many healthy yet yummy recipes for when I fancy something that is handy and sweet.
You can also stick them in the grinder to make oat flour which can be used to make bread, cakes, muffins or just as a substitute it in other recipes that use flour.
I hope you are including oats in your daily diet and try some of my favourite recipes if you haven’t already. If you have any other quick and easy recipes including oats that you’d like to share please do as I’d love to try them and I’m sure others would too…