Given the success of oatmeal (which is porridge made of oats) it is a no brainer inclusion into our daily diet (the best benefit of oatmeal is derived when it is had as a breakfast regularly). However there are different versions of story around how healthy oatmeal is and hence there are quite a number of people asking this question – “is Oatmeal Healthy”? Well, if you are after a quick one line answer then I would say “Yes, It surely is”. However, if you are after details as why oatmeal is healthy and what are the actual benefits then do read on. This article on Health Benefits Of Oatmeal Nutrition for Weight Loss will make an honest attempt to explore key health benefits of oatmeal (and oats), in a concise way and hopefully clear main uncertainties around it.
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Oats Nutrition Breakdown
Oatmeal is made from Oats. Oats in its basic form is a whole grain food with high amount of fiber and packed with good amount of protein. It fits the bill for one of the best breakfasts as it keeps you full for long enough to keep you away from those high calorie sugary snack. Taking oatmeal once a day promotes great health by building good body, help in excess weight loss, building immune system and cutting down risks of diseases or ill health. Its natural to ask what does oatmeal contain for it to contribute in so many ways? Well, oatmeal is made from oats which has some key ingredients which contribute to health. Below are the key components of oats which aid us in many ways
- Great Protein Source
- Good source of Anti-Oxidants
- High in soluble dietary fiber
- Good source insoluble dietary fiber
- Made up of best type of Carbohydrates, the complex carbohydrates
- Contains Phytonutrients and Beta Glucan
These above components bring in some key benefits which are essential for us to know. The below section will touch up on that in detail.
1. Great Protein Source
Oatmeal (oats) are one of the very good source of protein which is one of the most essential nutrients we need for healthy living. Quality of protein available in a food source is defined by the number and the amount of each essential amino acids (EAA) that get supplied by them. As most of our food items don't supply all the 9 EAAs in sufficient levels and hence they require us to eat other food items along with them to make up for the remaining EAAs. This is a critical problem for vegetarian as most of their diets provide an incomplete set of EAAs. On the contrary Oatmeal is a great food which provides all EAAs in suffiecient quantity and hence can be termed as a complete source of Protein.
To add to this, we humans need roughly 1 gram of protein per kg of our weight and hence it’s essential to have diets which are strong source of protein. Oats is once such diet as it is said to contain nearly 16 grams of protein for 100 grams of oats. If you are a vegetarian, you cannot get a better bargain than this from any of the wholegrain foods.
2. Good source of Anti-oxidants
Oatmeal are also very good source for wide variety of anti-oxidants which have numerous key benefits. For example, Selenium is one such anti-oxidant which is present in oats is said to reduce the risk of Asthma.
3. High in Soluble Dietary Fiber
Importance of soluble dietary fiber is immense for a healthy living. Below are some key benefits.
- Reduce bad cholesterol levels – Oatmeal contain good amount of soluble fiber which as they get digested will reduces absorption of cholesterol into blood stream and hence aids in reducing bad blood cholesterol (LDL) without affecting the good cholesterol (HDL). LDLs are one of the key contributors for cardiovascular diseases like heart attacks. If you are keen to know more on good and bad cholesterols here.
- Reduces High Blood Pressure (High BP) – In health studies conducted in recent past, it has been observed that high pressure has been associated with low soluble fiber and protein intake. Hence soluble fiber in oatmeal can add to necessary fiber requirement and subsequently reducing high blood pressure or hypertension possibilities.
- Promotes weight loss (indirectly) – The soluble fiber in oatmeal results in formation of gels. This gel formation ensures that the person feels fuller for a longer duration of time. This eliminating any need for an inter-meal snack which often tends to be a calorie rich. These snacks are one of the key reasons resulting in derailment of any weight loss plan being executed.
3. High in insoluble Dietary Fiber
Insoluble fiber also contributes heavily for healthy living and some of its key benefits are below.
- Promote Bowel movements and reduces risk of constipation – Insoluble fiber as it enters the digestive system do not dissolve by its nature. In turn as they are spongy they tend to absorb water which is many times its weight. This promotes healthy bowel movement and reduces the risk of constipation. Due to its high water retention power it enables easy movement of waste through the digestive system.
- Help keep optimal PH in intestines – Insoluble fiber also helps keep optimal PH levels in intestines which in turn help provide right ambience for healthy bacteria which are essential for our digestive system.
4. Made up of best type of Carbohydrates, the complex carbohydrates
One of the main reasons for weight gain is because our diet is loaded with a lot of refined products which provide a dose of simple carbohydrates. These simple carbohydrates tend to increase our blood sugar levels such that insulin will promote storing fat. The best way to avoid weight gain is by having more complex carbohydrates like oats. Hence having oatmeal as a regular part of your diet will have below benefits.
- Stabilize blood sugar levels – Unlike simple carbohydrates, complex carbohydrates present in oats tend to spread the raise in blood sugar levels over a longer period of time. This helps in keeping a tab on insulin levels which plays a pivotal role in both preventing diabetics and weight gain.
- Release energy at a steady pace – Due to the nature of carbohydrates, the digestion process is slow in nature and it takes time to release energy out of it. Scientific studies have been shown that regular consumption of oats alter metabolism positively to enhance performance when consumed 45 minutes to 1 hour before exercise.
Contains Phytonutrients & Beta Glucan
Oats also contain few special substances which add to the value of oatmeal as a food nutrient. Phytonutrients and Beta glucan are two such components.
- Phytonutrients (phytochemicals) in researches have shown to processes ability to reduce the risk of different types of hormone related cancer, primarily breast cancer. However there are researches which have shown similar results, albeit on a smaller scale for other hormone related cancers like prostate, endometrial and ovarian cancer.
- Beta Glucan present in oats is known as biological response modifiers (BRM) for their ability to enhance ability of our immune system. There are also some researches which strongly indicate positive influence in maintaining blood cholesterol levels.
Simply put, oatmeal is one of the best wholegrain food out there. It should be part of regular diet of every individual as it has numerous benefits and this article only mentions few of them. Unlike in Wheat and Rice, oats contain a good balance of essential fatty acids, which have been linked with longevity and general good health. All of these great benefits makes oats one of the best food item to be incorporated into your diet.