Health Benefits of Oatmeal: Who Knew?
by William M. Healy, M.D.
In a recent Everyday Health article reviewed by Registered Dietitian Kelly Kennedy, scientific evidence reveals that a single bowl of oatmeal may help lower your cholesterol, encourage weight loss, and keep your gut healthy. Oatmeal is a healthy breakfast filled with complex carbohydrates that includes plenty of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and pairs well with a variety of great toppings. It is also a food that is naturally gluten-free when not manufactured in a facility where cross-contamination of gluten may be an issue.
- Oatmeal is a great source of fiber. Just one bowl contains 4 grams of fiber. According to a 2019 study published in The Lancet, consuming whole grains and other sources of fiber has been shown to be protective against cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and breast, colon, and rectal cancers.
- Oatmeal pairs well with fabulous healthy toppings. Additions including almonds (my favorite), walnuts, pecans, nut butter, or chia seeds, are a great source of protein, unsaturated fats and more fiber. Fruit toppings such as strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries add additional nutrients and fiber.
- Oatmeal helps your digestive system. Oats provide insoluble fiber, which promotes regularity, according to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, but also soluble fiber, which have prebiotic properties that provide your gut with healthy bacteria.
- Oatmeal helps lower cholesterol. Oats contain a soluble fiber called beta-glucan, which has been shown to decrease cholesterol that may be building up in arterial walls and lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. The American Heart Association (AHA) notes that high LDL cholesterol increases a person’s risk of heart disease.
- Oatmeal may help reduce belly fat. The AHA says oatmeal may help reduce the fat in your midsection that hugs your organs, raising your risk of heart disease and stroke. Also, a 2016 study of people with type 2 Diabetes, published in the journal Nutrients, found that oats helped reduce blood sugar, blood lipids, and weight better than a control group that ate a healthy diet but no oats.
- Oats may help energize you and boost your immunity. Oatmeal provides B vitamins, minerals (manganese, iron, magnesium, and zinc), which energizes the body and gets more oxygen into your lungs. Zinc is also a nutrient necessary for immune function.
- Oats are filled with antioxidants help protect against disease. Just one bowl of oatmeal is filled with antioxidants, including one specific antioxidant called avenanthramide, which is showing promise as a cancer fighter.
Oatmeal may be just what the doctor ordered to launching your effort toward better health in the new year. While, for some, the thought of oatmeal is just plain boring, with just the right healthy toppings, oatmeal can be downright “drool-worthy.” Check out www.modernhoney.com/the-oatmeal-love-bar and #oatmeal on Instagram for some great ideas.
William M. Healy, M.D. is a physician who specializes in Internal Medicine and Geriatrics located in Getzville. To make an appointment with Dr. Healy call 716-204-5933. Learn more at www.MDVIP.com/WilliamHealyMD.