Oats are a healthy breakfast choice that contains a variety of nutrients. They are rich in protein, vitamins and minerals.
They also have a good amount of soluble fiber, which can help reduce cholesterol levels. This helps you fight off heart disease and other chronic diseases.
1. It Lowers Blood Pressure
One of the most significant benefits of oatmeal is that it can help lower blood pressure. It contains a special fiber called beta-glucan, which can lower both systolic and diastolic pressure.
High blood pressure is a serious health problem that can lead to heart disease, stroke, and kidney failure. It occurs when the force of your blood pushing against your arteries is too high, causing them to narrow over time.
The good news is that you can get your blood pressure in check without taking medication by making healthy lifestyle changes. Eating the right foods is an easy way to reduce your risk of developing high blood pressure.
2. It Lowers Cholesterol
Oatmeal has long been touted as a heart-healthy breakfast food, thanks to its high content of soluble fiber and cholesterol-lowering beta-glucans. The glucans help increase the body’s ability to eliminate cholesterol-rich bile from the blood, which can reduce your levels of LDL (â€œbadâ€) cholesterol.
However, be careful to choose oats that haven’t been processed too much. Some processed oats are filled with sugar and other ingredients that may not be beneficial for your health.
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3. It Lowers Blood Sugar
The high fiber content of oats helps stabilize blood sugar levels, making it a great choice for diabetics. Oatmeal can also help reduce the risk of heart disease, which is another common concern for people with diabetes.
In one study, participants who ate oatmeal for breakfast had lower post-meal glucose levels than those who ate ready-to-eat cereals or corn flakes.
However, you should be aware that oats are a source of carbohydrates and can cause your blood sugar to spike if they are eaten in excess or combined with other foods. To help prevent this, choose oats that are unprocessed and contain only whole grains like steel-cut oats.
4. It Fights Cancer
Whole grains, including oats, are loaded with fiber and plant compounds that may help curb your cancer risk. They also make you feel full longer, keep your cholesterol and blood sugar stable, and improve your heart health.
To assess the relationship between oats intake and cancer risk, a review of epidemiological studies was conducted. Seven studies were identified: two each on prostate and colorectal cancer, and one each on pancreatic, breast and endometrial cancer.
5. It Fights Heart Disease
The soluble fiber found in oatmeal helps lower cholesterol, lowering your risk of heart disease. This type of fiber is called beta-glucan, and it acts like a Roto-Rooter to get rid of cholesterol thatâ€™s clogging your arteries.
It also promotes healthy bowel function, which can prevent constipation. In fact, a study published in the Journal of Functional Foods found that people who increased their dietary fiber intake to three grams daily for eight weeks improved their stool consistency and frequency.
Oats have other benefits too, lowering your cholesterol and triglycerides levels while increasing your HDL (good) cholesterol. It also contains antioxidants that fight inflammation, and avenanthramides that improve blood flow.
6. It Fights Diabetes
Oatmeal is an excellent source of soluble fiber called beta-glucan, which helps keep blood sugar levels stable and can also improve insulin sensitivity. Its low glycemic index prevents spikes in blood sugar, making it an ideal option for those with diabetes.
Oatmeal is also an excellent source of protein. Pair it with a dollop of plain Greek yogurt or stir in nut butter to increase the amount of protein in your breakfast.
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7. It Strengthens Your Immune System
If you’re looking for a way to boost your immune system, start by adding more oatmeal to your diet. It’s packed with several immunomodulating nutrients, including zinc and selenium.
It also helps fight infections by supporting the activity of macrophages, which are the cells that destroy pathogens. It also contains beta-glucans, which are a type of fiber that fuels these cells and makes them work faster to attack bacteria.