Oats are one of the healthiest grains available on earth, and due to this, regularly consuming oatmeal is a sure-shot way of achieving an all-around improvement in your health.
From various cardiovascular health-promoting antioxidants to an incredible range of vitamins and minerals, oatmeal is a superfood that can help you to lose weight as well as aid in the prevention of heart disease whilst providing various other health benefits!
A low carbohydrate fiber-rich food makes oatmeal a powerhouse of a meal that can elevate any morning, ensuring a steady boost of energy that is slowly released throughout the day.
In this blog post, we will be covering all of the nutritional information and health benefits associated with consuming oatmeal, and why this breakfast dish can make you a healthier and happier person!
What is Oatmeal?
Oatmeal is a popular meal most regularly consumed during breakfast hours, made out of oats and either water or milk. The simple and main ingredient of oats is actually what makes this meal such a superfood, as oats are a whole grain that is full of antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, and essential minerals. Oats also contain a special kind of antioxidant called avenanthramides which help to protect you against heart disease.
This high fiber content makes oatmeal a wholesome powerhouse of breakfast, as it will ensure that you are kept fulfilled and satisfied throughout the day, without experiencing a harsh sugar rush and dip associated with most other breakfast foods and cereals. It is important to note here that instant oatmeal packs often have hidden ingredients to sweeten the flavor of oatmeal, increasing your sugar and sodium intake, which will reduce the health benefits that your body will receive after consuming it.
As a result of this, try to stick to homemade oatmeal where you are aware of all the ingredients put into it. Simple oatmeal consists of rolled oats, a liquid (usually water or milk), and wholesome and healthy toppings like fruit, nuts, and seeds.
Oatmeal Nutrition Facts and Information
According to the USDA and other information sources, the recommended serving size for oatmeal is half a cup of dry rolled oats or approximately 45 grams of dry oats. Establishing accurate nutritional information for oatmeal will heavily depend on the number of oats used, as well as whether you choose to add milk, sugar, or any other additives too.
You should always consider any other ingredients that you have added to your whole grain oats before noting down the nutritional information of your oat-based meal, otherwise, you risk unknowingly slipping out of any diet restrictions you are in or choose to follow. This is especially important if you follow a lower carb diet as rolled oats do have a lot of carbohydrates and calories.
100 grams of raw dry oats is 339 calories. As a result, for 1 serving size of oatmeal at half a cup of oats (45 grams), the calorific value can range anywhere between 140-200 calories depending on the amount of milk, sugar, fruit, and other additives being used. Half of a cup of oats and milk/water will make 1 cup of oatmeal which is the recommended portion size.
In terms of dry weight, carbs make up 66% of dry oats, with 11% of the total carbs being dietary fiber.
Oatmeal is an excellent source of protein averaging around 15% proteins in terms of dry weight. One cup of cooked oatmeal can range between 5 and 6 grams of protein!
Oatmeal is an excellent source of fiber, containing both soluble and insoluble fibers that will help to lower cholesterol and manage your blood sugar levels.
Oats are rich in beta-glucan, which is a soluble fiber that is known to reduce the risk of cardiovascular and other diseases.
The high beta-glucan content of oats is responsible for many of the health benefits of eating oats as there are 4 to 5 grams of fiber in just one cup of cooked oatmeal.
There is a very low content of saturated fat in oatmeal, which makes all of the existing fats, healthy fats. One cup of cooked oatmeal contains 3-4 grams of fat, and these fats in oatmeal are mostly polyunsaturated and monounsaturated.
There are no sugars present in oatmeal unless they have been added.
Health Benefits of Oatmeal
There are several health advantages to regularly consuming oatmeal. These health benefits include the following:
Helpful for weight loss:
Whole grain oats are a rich source of soluble fibers, which makes oatmeal a great meal choice for those trying to lose weight. The high fiber content will slowly release energy throughout the day, keeping you satisfied and feeling full. In turn, this will prevent you from feeling hungry, limiting how much you snack during the day.
Good for your cholesterol:
Oatmeal is also great for reducing your cholesterol levels, so you may be recommended to eat oats if you have high blood pressure or high cholesterol. The science behind this relates to the soluble fiber found in oatmeal nutrition, which is called beta-glucan.
This works by preventing bile acids from being reabsorbed into the terminal ileum so that they are excreted instead. As a result, your body is forced to produce what is known as a de novo synthesis of bile acids, which has been found to lower LDL cholesterol levels.
Rich in antioxidants:
Oats are rich in various antioxidants, including phytic acid, avenanthramides, and phenolic compounds. Antioxidants are essential for maintaining the wellbeing of your body, from helping to lower blood sugar levels to keeping your skin looking refreshed and youthful.
Phytic acid is naturally occurring in plant seeds and can help to protect your body against kidney stones as well as various types of cancers. Generally, one cup of dry oats contains around 2% of phytic acid, which may seem small but is actually an optimal amount as too much will impair your body's absorption of vitamins and minerals.
Excellent source of vitamins and minerals:
Oatmeal has a tremendous range of different vitamins and minerals. In fact, just one cup of dry oats contains many health benefits due to its vast supply of vitamins and minerals! One cup contains 24% of the average adult's recommended daily intake of copper, 20% of your iron and zinc, 34% of your magnesium, as well as an abundance of vitamin E and C.
Vitamin E is needed for the development of your body's natural defense against sickness and is also great for maintaining the health of your eyes and skin. The essential vitamin slows the aging process of your cells so that they can fight against any free radicals that have entered your body.
A free radical is a medical and scientific term for a molecule that attempts to weaken your body's cells to cause damage, which can lead to various diseases and cancers. Vitamin E helps to strengthen these cells to withstand the free radicals, keeping you healthy!
Digestive health and fibers:
Oats are established as a remarkable health food due to their help in the digestion process. Oatmeal actually passes quite slowly through the digestive system due to its high fiber content. Not only will this ensure that you feel full up and satisfied throughout the day, but it will also give the good bacteria in your gut time to absorb the key nutrients.
Oatmeal is fantastic for digestive health as the fibers allow your intestines to absorb excess water and nutrients. Absorbing these key nutrients means that your body can use them for cell repair, growth, and energy. In turn, this will also make going to the toilet an easier feat, so if you struggle with diarrhea or constipation, eating oatmeal can help to regulate your toilet troubles.
Blood Sugar Control:
Oatmeal will help to control blood sugar levels by regulating the hormone insulin. It is important to eat old-fashioned oats (just oats and water or milk) if you are trying to control your blood sugar levels, as the instant oatmeal found in stores is usually flavored with added sugar or maple syrup.
Oatmeal is a better breakfast or snack choice when compared to other popular breakfast foods, such as cereals, as oatmeal has a lower glycemic index. This means that consuming oatmeal will not cause your blood glucose (also known as blood sugar) levels to rise and fall significantly. For those who suffer from diabetes, it is essential that you try to eat foods with a lower glycemic index to avoid health issues. As a result of this, oatmeal is a great option for those with diabetes.
Furthermore, traditional oats have no added sugar but do contain a healthy amount of carbs so, therefore, they will be able to improve insulin sensitivity. This may reduce the need for an insulin shot for some people who have diabetes, though this also depends on other lifestyle and diet factors.
If you follow a gluten-free diet the good news is that oats are gluten-free! Oats have so many other benefits too, including being a great source of magnesium, zinc, copper, iron, and calcium. The oats will also keep you feeling full throughout the day, decreasing the need for snacking and aiding weight loss!
If you suffer from celiac disease, double check with the manufacturer about their facility to ensure that there are no trace gluten ingredients that could be on the equipment due to making other products that do contain gluten at the same facility.
Skin condition relief:
Oats are also excellent for providing relief from various skin conditions, most notably itchy or dry skin conditions. This is not achieved through eating oatmeal as such, but by having oats as the main ingredient in skin lotions and creams. These oat-rich creams and lotions can help to treat acne as the oats contain many anti-inflammatory properties which can help to exfoliate and clear up any spots and blemishes.
On the other hand, if you prefer a more holistic and natural approach to skincare, you can always try an oatmeal face mask. Simply mix up a batch of whole-grain oatmeal using a small amount of clean water to keep the mixture thick. Then, apply this to your face and leave it to sit for around 10 to 20 minutes.
This oatmeal mask will help to treat blemishes and moisturize any areas of dry skin. The mask is also great for sensitive skin as it contains all-natural ingredients and has a mild pH level!
In summary, oatmeal has a wide range of nutritious health benefits making it a food that can be enjoyed from those with diabetes and high blood cholesterol levels, to those who are gluten-free! Oatmeal is also incredibly versatile and can be customized with an array of toppings to suit the tastes of adults and children alike.
It contains the essential amino acids, nutrients, and vitamins needed to regulate your blood sugar levels, rejuvenate your cells, and provide a long-lasting boost of energy without the sugar crash. When not eating it, oatmeal is also great as part of your skincare routine.
An oatmeal or oat-based face mask can help to soothe damaged, dry or irritated skin by being a natural exfoliant and moisturizer. It will gently remove any dead skin cells and dirt trapped within the surface of your skin, and transfer soothing anti-inflammatories without disturbing your skin's natural pH balance.