Oatmeal is often touted as a healthy way to start your day. Have you ever wondered why?
A recent review of 16 studies looking at how oatmeal affected glucose levels, insulin response and cholesterol was completed and found that with just a single meal of oatmeal, glucose peaks can be decreased by up to 81% and insulin peaks can decrease by up to 83%.
Oatmeal was also shown to decrease total cholesterol up to nearly 13% and LDL-C ("the bad cholesterol") by up to nearly 16%. Oatmeal contains a soluble fiber called beta-glucan. This fiber dissolves in, but is not absorbed by our small intestine. It moves into the large intestine and is digested and fermented by the bacteria in the large intestine (acts like a pre-biotic). This fiber also slows the transit time of food through the bowel which makes us feel full and satisfied with our meal longer. This slow transit also allows our body more time to process the glucose, fats and other nutrients. Oatmeal (100g = 1 packed down cup) contains about 17g protein and 11g fiber as well as 44% of the daily needed dose of Magnesium (177mg) (https://www.nutritionvalue.org/Oats_nutritional_value.html)
More often than not, oatmeal is our primary breakfast for busy school days. When the kids were young, we stocked up on the oatmeal packets from a box so they (or mom) could just throw them in a mug and microwave. Nowadays, we store old fashioned oats and steel cut oats in bulk and in 5 minutes (for regular oats) or 10 minutes (for steel cut oats) have a hearty start to the day. They can be thrown in a pot and boiled in enough water to cover them with about 1 inch of water. We use generous cinnamon and throw in blueberries or raisins to our liking. 1/2 to 1 tbsp of chia seeds are also often added (richest plant Omega-3 and a complete protein). Applesauce will sweeten it up but, if we are out of applesauce, we'll use Stevia or brown sugar. Almond or cashew milk will make it a creamy porridge.
Feel free to top off with almonds, walnuts or coconut slices!