Oatmeal can be far more than just your breakfast cereal, it can help you make it through your day no matter what you're up to.
Why oatmeal works the magic?
Oatmeal contains soluble fiber, meaning that it attracts fluid and stays in your stomach longer than insoluble fiber (like vegetables). Soluble fiber is thought to reduce blood cholesterol by binding with digestive acids made from cholesterol and sending them out of your body. When this happens, your liver has to pull cholesterol from your blood to make more digestive acids, and your bad cholesterol levels drop.
Over 40 studies show that eating oatmeal may help lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease. According to Quaker Inc., all it takes is 3/4 cup of oatmeal each day to help lower cholesterol.
In January 1997, the Food and Drug Administration announced that oatmeal could carry a label claiming it may reduce the risk of heart disease when combined with a low-fat diet.
But that’s not it! The soluble fiber in oatmeal absorbs a considerable amount of water which significantly slows down your digestive process. This result is that you'll feel full longer, i.e. oatmeal can help you control your weight.
According to recent studies, a diet that includes oatmeal may help reduce high blood pressure. The reduction is linked to the increase in soluble fiber provided by oatmeal. Oats contain more soluble fiber than whole wheat, rice or corn.
Oatmeal contains a wide array of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants and is a good source of protein, complex carbohydrates and iron.
A Penn State study also showed that oatmeal sustains your blood sugar levels longer than many other foods, which keeps your insulin levels stable and ensures you won’t be ravenous for the few hours that follow. That’s good, because spikes in the production of insulin slow your metabolism and send a signal to the body that it’s time to start storing fat. Since oatmeal breaks down slowly in the stomach, it causes less of a spike in insulin levels than foods like bagels. Include it in a smoothie or as your breakfast. (A U.S. Navy study showed that simply eating breakfast raised metabolism by 10 percent.) Actually, new research suggests that eating oatmeal may reduce the risk for type 2 diabetes. In fact, the American Diabetes Association already recommends that people with diabetes eat grains like oats. The soluble fiber in these foods help to control blood glucose levels.
Also, the fiber and other nutrients found in oatmeal may actually reduce the risk for certain cancers
Which oatmeal shall you use...
With the exception of certain flavored varieties, the oats found in your grocery store are 100% natural. If you look at the ingredients on a canister of rolled oats, you will usually see only one ingredient... rolled oats. Oatmeal is quick and convenient. Every type of oatmeal can be prepared in a microwave oven. Even when cooked on the stovetop, both old-fashioned and quick oats can usually be made in less than 10 minutes. And what about instant oatmeal… a hot breakfast in under a minute... incredible!
I recommend instant oatmeal for its convenience. But I want you to buy the unsweetened, unflavored variety and use milk and berries to enhance the taste. Preflavored oatmeal often comes loaded with sugar calories. Oatmeal can be absolutely delicious! Whether instant, cooked on the stove or baked in the oven, the combination of flavors you can fit into a serving of oatmeal is limited only by the imagination.
One final tip on oatmeal
Another cool fact about oatmeal: Preliminary studies indicate that oatmeal raises the levels of free testosterone in your body, enhancing your body’s ability to build muscle and burn fat and boosting your sex drive.