Oatmeal is a healthy and favorite breakfast for many. It is nutrient-dense, affordable, endlessly customizable, and a good option if you are trying to lose weight. In fact, because of these benefits, different diets have been created around oatmeal.
But is oatmeal healthy? Is oatmeal good for weight loss? This and more is what we are going to look at in the coming sections.
What are oats and oatmeal?
The oat (Avena sativa), is a cereal grain cultivated for its seed. Oats are used for human consumption as oatmeal and livestock feed. The oat grains are dehusked by impact and are then heated and cooled to stabilize the oat groats (seed inside the husk)
According to Wikipedia, oatmeal is a coarse flour made of hulled oat grains (groats) that have either been milled (ground) or steel-cut. The term “oatmeal” is used in the U.S. and parts of Canada to mean oat porridge from either ground, steel-cut, or rolled oats.
What is the nutritional value of oats?
According to NutritionData, 100 grams of raw oats are
- 389 Calories
- 8% Water
- 16.9 grams of protein
- 66.3 grams of carbs
- 10.6 grams of fiber
- 6.9 grams of fat
- Vitamins and minerals include;
- Manganese: Important for development, growth, and metabolism
- Phosphorus: Important for bone health and tissue maintenance
- Copper: Which very important for heart health
- Vitamin B1 (thiamine)
- Iron: An essential component of blood production.
Is oatmeal good for weight loss?
If you are looking to lose weight, look no further than oatmeal. No matter how you may use it, whether oats recipes or oats porridge, this whole-grain cereal can boost your weight loss efforts in several ways.
To begin with, oats are low-calorie and low-fat foods. This means that having oatmeal as a food choice is one way of reducing fats and calories in your diet, hence helping weight loss.
Oats are high in beta-glucan; a type of soluble fiber that dissolves in water to form a thick, gel-like solution that slows digestion. This increases the feeling of fullness and eventually reducing food intake hence weight loss.
Whole oats are rich in antioxidants and plant compounds called polyphenols. Most especially a unique type of antioxidants called avenanthramides. Polyphenols promote weight loss by reducing calorie intake, stimulating fat breakdown, and promoting the growth of good gut bacteria.
Lastly, regardless of any healthy lifestyle or diet plan, regular body exercise is an important factor when it comes to weight loss. You will ably lose weight when you burn more calories than you consume.
Here is our list of 20 high fiber foods to add to your diet.
Other health benefits of oatmeal
Apart from weight loss, oatmeal has several other health benefits, these include;
1. Skin health
Oats are used in many skincare products. You will find colloidal oatmeal on the ingredient lists of most skincare products. In 2003, the FDA approved colloidal oatmeal as a skin-protective substance. Besides the FDA approval, oats have long been used in the treatment of itch and irritation in various skin conditions.
Did you know that there are facial exercises you can do to reduce face fat and have clear skin? learn more from the article here.
2. Blood sugar control
Oats can lower blood sugar levels in obese people and those with type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is a disease characterized by elevated blood sugars due to decreased sensitivity to the hormone insulin.
All this is possible because of the fiber beta-glucan which forms a thick gel, delaying the emptying of the stomach and absorption of glucose into the blood.
3. Lowers cholesterol levels
High blood cholesterol is one of the major causes of heart disease. Research shows that beta-glucan fiber can reduce both total and LDL cholesterol levels. Beta-glucan binds bile salts (made of cholesterol) during digestion such that they are not recirculated in the body.
4. Promote a healthy digestive system
The fiber in oatmeal keeps the bowel movements soft and regular. This prevents a of number digestive complications including constipation and diarrhea.
5. Prevents Hypertension
The hypertension benefits of oatmeal are attributed to the fiber content therein. Fiber lowers cholesterol levels in the blood and blood vessels. With low levels of cholesterol, blood can be circulated easily to all body parts without resistance.
6. Colorectal cancer
I think we all agree that oatmeal is a food source of fiber. Fiber is like a broom to the digestive tract. Although the body does not break down fiber, it keeps the stool moving and along the way, it sweeps out all cancer-causing compounds in your colon.
7. Childhood asthma
Asthma is common in kids and it’s as a result of inflammation of the airways to the person’s lungs. Research shows that feeding oats to infants before the age of 6 months can lower the risk of childhood asthma.
Can oatmeal lead to weight gain?
Although oatmeal is one of the best options for weight loss, this doesn’t mean oatmeal cannot do any harm to you. If not used appropriately, It can turn from slimming food to a blood sugar-spiking food that can harm your waistline.
The following ways of using oatmeal can lead to unwanted weight gain
1. Adding too much sugar
Adding a lot of sugar can increase your blood sugar level. If you crave sweet stuff, add fresh fruits instead of sugar which is associated with weight gain.
2. Highly processed oatmeal
Although packaged and flavored oatmeal is convenient and time-saving, it may contain chemicals and sugar that leads to weight gain. Instead, buy unflavoured oats and add your own toppings.
3. Eating too much
Eating too much of anything is not good. You end up gaining weight if you eat more calories than what the body can burn. Serve yourself using a small bowl, so that you eat less.
4. Using too many toppings
Too many toppings can sabotage your weight loss efforts. Toppings add up to your overall calories. Make sure you don’t go overboard. Add very little toppings just to add flavor.
5. Choosing wrong toppings
Adding for example a spoonful of Nutella or Choco chips will do more damage than good. You need the right kind of topping. Instead of chocolate and Choco chip add cacao powder.
Oats and oatmeal are nutrient-dense and can be an effective way of reducing the excess pounds if used appropriately. By keeping you full for longer, you can reduce food intake which will eventually help weight loss.
However, oatmeal alone will not make you lose weight. Having a healthy, balanced diet with a number of whole foods coupled with regular body exercise will help you lose weight and keep it off for good.
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