As one of the world's healthiest and most nutritious foods, there are many benefits of eating oatmeal. From adding important vitamins and minerals to your daily food intake to satisfying hunger and helping to curb your appetite, it can seem like oatmeal is a wonder food of sorts. Not only are there numerous health benefits of eating oatmeal, but individuals all around the world simply enjoy it. It's a delicious, comforting breakfast that you can customize to your tastes almost endlessly. Additionally, you can use it as a key ingredient in many recipes.
Many people know that oatmeal is a great option for breakfast, but precisely what are the benefits of eating oatmeal and what does it do for our bodies? Here at Powerful Nutrition, we're on an endless journey to provide people everywhere with information and facts surrounding diet, nutrition, and healthy living. That's why we dug into the facts surrounding oatmeal with a little more depth so that we can bring all the 4-1-1 right to you.
Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of eating oatmeal, all the ways it's good for the body, and how you can incorporate more of the delicious food into your diet.
What Are Oats and Oatmeal?
Oatmeal is a common food, and it's one that you probably see all the time. In the pantry, on the shelves at the grocery store, and at your favorite brunch spot down the street. But what exactly is oatmeal, and where does it come from?
There are several different types of oatmeal, which you may have heard of before. For instance, there are steel-cut oats, white oats, coarse oatmeal, Irish oatmeal, pinhead oats, and more. This naming convention generally refers to how the raw oats are processed and prepared before they make their way into the cooking pot or shelf package and land on your table. However, all oatmeal derives from the same place: the common oat, which is a species of cereal grain that's grown commercially throughout much of the world.
It's the same plant that farmers use for livestock feed but prepped for human needs and tastebuds. The scientific name for oats is Avena sativa, and the plant is part of the Poaceae family in the Plantae kingdom. Many believe that today's modern oats originated from the ancient Asian red oat, which was actually a wild weed not typically consumed by humans.
Scottish settlers brought the modern oat to North America in the early 1600s, where the crop grew in popularity as a major growing staple on farms until it reached its peak around 1920. Today, this food remains a stronghold in households all over the globe.
What Are the Benefits of Eating Oatmeal?
Oatmeal is the go-to for many individuals when it comes to breakfast. Whether you're grabbing a quick cup of pre-made high protein overnight oats on your way out the door in the morning or are whipping up your mother's famous oatmeal recipe for your own children on a lazy Saturday, you can't go wrong with this classic food. While it's sure to make your tummy smile, the rest of your body will thank you too. That's because there are many tangible health benefits of eating oatmeal.
Oats Provide Important Vitamins and Minerals
The nutrition facts of your specific meal will vary depending on the brand of oatmeal you're eating and what, if anything, you add to the oats during preparation. Many people enjoy fresh fruit, a spoonful of honey or brown sugar, or even some delicious chocolate chips as a topping. Some people prefer to make their oatmeal by boiling milk, while others think water is just fine. However, plain oatmeal by itself is an excellent source of crucial vitamins and minerals–toppings and additions can further increase the nutritional value.
One cup of plain, cooked oatmeal contains the following vitamins and minerals*:
- Potassium: 143 mg or 4% DV
- Vitamin A: 20% DV
- Calcium: 18% DV
- Iron: 77% DV
- Vitamin B6: 35% DV
- Magnesium: 15% DV
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your individual caloric needs.
While you may notice that oatmeal by itself doesn't contain a significant daily value of Vitamin C, for example, you can easily boost this DV by adding berries. To increase calcium intake or supplement vitamin D, make your oatmeal with whole milk. Looking to add more potassium to your diet? Slice up a banana and put it on top. There are tons of quick and easy ways to augment the nutritional value of an already nutrient-rich meal when eating oatmeal.
Other key nutrients in many oatmeals include manganese, phosphorus, copper, zinc, vitamin B1, vitamin B5, fiber, protein, and more.
Oats May Help Lower Cholesterol
The battle against "bad" cholesterol, or LDL cholesterol, is at the forefront of many American's diets. The good news is that a regular serving of plain oatmeal may help keep these levels in check. Recent studies suggest that the significant amount of antioxidants present in oatmeal may help fight free radicals in the body, protecting the heart and arteries against inflammation and damage and stopping the oxidation process of this "bad" cholesterol.
Additional Health Benefits of Eating Oatmeal
Other benefits of eating oatmeal include the ability to help stabilize and control blood sugar levels, curb excessive appetite and hunger, and more. Experts believe that eating plain oatmeal regularly may help improve insulin sensitivity and lower blood sugar in type 2 diabetics. This is because of the beta-glucan present in the food, which is thought to help delay the absorption of glucose into the blood.
Additionally, due to the protein and fiber content in the dish, oatmeal can help you feel fuller longer. This can help you cut down on snacking between meals, curb a sweet tooth, and eat smaller portions. Good news for anyone who is watching their waistline or simply looking to cut back on calories.
How to Incorporate Oats Into Your Diet
If you're looking for a healthy meal addition, convenient items such as pre-made high-protein instant oatmeal can help. Or, for those who are interested in cooking their own from scratch, the best high-protein oatmeal recipes can be a handy reference.
Quick grab-and-go options such as overnight oats provide a great way for busy and active individuals to get their oatmeal on their way out the door in the morning without the hassle of a bowl, microwaves or stove, and spoon. Still, others search for many ways to get oats into their diets. More convenient options for oat consumption include adding them to your mixed protein shakes or smoothies, using oats as a replacement ingredient where appropriate when cooking, adding them to items like pancakes, and more.
Shop Powerful Nutrition Today
Here at Powerful Nutrition, we make it easy for everyone to get the necessary daily nutrients with a variety of pre-made, high-protein foods that are convenient for those with an active lifestyle. Shop our complete product line today for items such as instant oatmeal, overnight oats, and more to increase your intake of oats and reap all the health benefits of eating oatmeal.