A bowl of oatmeal provides a healthy start to your day.
Oatmeal does not have any magical properties as a breakfast food. But it can serve as a healthy and filling breakfast when you’re trying to lose weight. Oatmeal has a number of health benefits. It’s high in fiber, since it’s a whole grain, and it can keep you feel full for longer, a benefit when you’re trying to stick to your diet. A bowl of oatmeal is relatively low in calories as long as you resist the urge to load it with sugar.
All oatmeal contains whole grains, complex carbohydrates that break down slowly and keep your blood sugar stable. All types of oatmeal start as oat groats, which are hulled and toasted oat grains that still contain the bran. Manufacturers make steel-cut oats by chopping the groats into fairly large pieces. Rolled oats are made by steaming the groat and then running them through rollers to create flakes. Quick-cooking oats have smaller flakes. Instant oats are precooked and dehydrated; they often contain added sugar and flavoring. Instant oatmeal breaks down more quickly and is more quickly absorbed than other types of oatmeal, which can raise your blood sugar levels. Choose plain oatmeal for the best nutritional value and the fewest calories.
One of the biggest benefits of eating oatmeal for breakfast comes from its high-fiber content. Like other whole grains, oatmeal contains fiber, the indigestible part of a plant that passes through your intestines unabsorbed. While fiber isn’t absorbed, it does provide a number of health benefits, including possibly lowering your cholesterol levels and stabilizing your blood sugar as well as keeping you feeling full longer. A serving of oatmeal each morning also helps promote regular bowel movements and prevents constipation. Oatmeal contains around 4 grams of fiber per cooked cup, regardless of which type of oatmeal you choose. Women need between 21 to 25 grams of fiber a day, compared with 30 to 38 grams a day for men, according to MayoClinic.com.
Oatmeal may keep you full for longer than many other breakfast foods. An Australian study published in the September 1995 “European “Journal of Clinical Nutrition” compared satiety levels after eating different foods. When compared to breakfast foods such as donuts, croissants, eggs, high-bran cereals and whole-grain bread, oatmeal had the highest satiety index, twice as high as white bread and 25 percent higher than eggs and high-brain cereals.
Oatmeal consists mainly of carbohydrates, with 28 per 1-cup serving. Oatmeal also provides around 5 grams of protein to your diet along with 3.5 grams of fat, mostly unsaturated. Adding heaping tablespoons of brown sugar to your oatmeal will negate much of its health value. To sweeten oatmeal, add fresh berries with antioxidant benefits such as blueberries, raspberries or strawberries. If you need a little sweeter taste even after adding the berries, use just a small amount of refined sugar. Berries will also add more fiber to your breakfast. A 1-cup serving of plain oatmeal contains 166 calories.
by Suzanne Robin, Demand Media