How Oatmeal Does a Body Good

Many adults are familiar with various remedies to mitigate symptoms and shorten the duration of the common cold. A bowl of chicken soup, some extra sleep, and tea with honey can help people feel better when dealing with cold symptoms. Oatmeal is another popular cold remedy and can benefit the body even when it’s not battling a cold.

Oatmeal and gut health. Beta-glucan is a soluble fiber found in oatmeal that prevents constipation and promotes regular bowel movements. According to Amy Goodson, MS, RD, CSSD, LD, author of The Sports Nutrition Playbook, beta-glucan fiber has been linked to healthy gut bacteria. Healthy gut bacteria can reduce the likelihood individuals will experience issues with digestion after eating and can lower the risk for inflammation and chronic disease.

Oatmeal and cholesterol. Local physician William M. Healy, M.D. notes that the beta-glucan in oatmeal can help individuals lower their cholesterol. The soluble fiber in oatmeal reduces the absorption of cholesterol into the bloodstream, a property the Mayo Clinic reports can help individuals lower their levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or “bad,” cholesterol. It’s worth noting that many people add fiber-rich fruits and berries to their oatmeal, which can help lower cholesterol even further.

Oatmeal and blood sugar. Dr. Healy notes that the journal Nutrición Hospitilaria in 2015 found that eating foods that contained beta-glucans could help lower blood glucose levels in people with diabetes. That makes oatmeal an especially valuable dietary choice for individuals with diabetes, many of whom must also try to lower levels of LDL in their bodies.

Oatmeal and controlling weight. Dr. Healy tells his patients that a filling, healthy breakfast can help individuals avoid the kind of snacking that can contribute to unwanted weight gain. The fiber content in oatmeal helps people feel fuller longer, reducing the likelihood that they’ll reach for potentially unhealthy snacks throughout the day. That can make it easier to lose weight and keep the pounds off over the long haul.

Oatmeal and nutrients. Nutrition experts say oatmeal is among the most nutrient-dense breakfast foods a person can eat. The United States Department of Agriculture’s National Nutrient Database indicates that a one-half cup serving of oatmeal contains 13 grams of protein, 52 grams of carbohydrates, and eight grams total fiber. In addition, the USDA notes that oatmeal is a great source of beneficial minerals including magnesium and potassium.

Try this fun and easy recipe for Apple Cinnamon Overnight Oats to start your day!
Combine ½ cup oats, ½ cup nonfat milk or milk alternative and ¼ cup plain yogurt, and add ½ cup SnapDragon® apple, chopped. Top with ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of honey, and 1 teaspoon of chia seeds. Refrigerate overnight or for a few hours.

William M. Healy, M.D. specializes in Internal Medicine and Geriatrics. He is located at 2235 Millersport Highway, Suite 100, Getzville, NY 14068. Make an appointment by calling 716-204-5933. Learn more at