8 Benefits of Oatmeal for Weight Management
Oats have been a common plant for thousands of years, but it wasn’t until approximately two thousand years ago that this grain was intentionally grown and harvested for human and livestock consumption. Brought to North America shortly after the colonization by Europeans, oats quickly became a popular crop for their nutritional value, and is also popular due to the wide variety of climates that it can thrive in. Today, one of the most common uses of oats in human consumption is oatmeal and below are eight benefits of adding oatmeal into your diet regularly.
8 Health Benefits of Oatmeal
1. Oatmeal Contains Avenanthramides Which May Regulate Blood Pressure
Almost one in three Americans suffer from high blood pressure, and if left untreated, hypertension can increase the risk of heart attack, heart disease, and stroke. Recent studies have shown that those who are suffering from high blood pressure have found relief when adding oatmeal into their daily diet, and many are able to cut back or reduce their blood pressure medication altogether.
It is believed that the substantial amount of fiber, potassium, and calcium in oatmeal help to lower blood pressure. Oats also contain avenanthramides which are beneficial antioxidants that have been shown to lower blood pressure through the production of nitric oxide. (1)
2. Oatmeal May Have Weight Management Benefits
Over two thirds of American adults and one third of American children are considered to be overweight or obese. Maintaining a weight that exceeds the recommended value for your age, height and weight can lead to a variety of different concerns, including high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, type two diabetes, and certain types of cancers. However, losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight can be difficult, as foods that are found at restaurants are often nutritionally deficient, full of sugars and unhealthy fats.
Oatmeal is a fantastic food to aid in any weight loss regimen. Oatmeal is a great source of fiber, which helps to keep you feeling full. (2) Instant oatmeal tends to be full of sugars, so making your own old fashioned oatmeal sweetened with honey and fruits will help keep you feeling full and can help avoid a sugar crash.
3. Oatmeal Can Help Reduce Cholesterol
There are two types of cholesterol—bad cholesterol, or LDL, and good cholesterol, also known as HDL. Bad cholesterol can play a role in clogging arteries, which can lead to heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. Heart disease is the leading cause of the death around the world, and one of the major risk factors is high blood cholesterol. Nearly one third of adults in the United States suffer from elevated levels of LDL.
Researchers are still unsure at this point, but there is evidence that the fiber in oatmeal can stop cholesterol from being absorbed in the digestive system and into the cardiovascular system. This is due to the beta-glucan fiber found in oats that has been shown to be effective in reducing LDL and total blood cholesterol levels. (4)
4. Oatmeal Helps Exfoliate Skin
Millions of American teenagers and adults suffer from regular pimples and blackheads, and there are many different products available over the counter that may help with acne, but are full of chemicals that can do further harm to the skin. Homemade oatmeal scrubs are an ideal way to help treat acne, as it does not contain harmful additives as it is all natural, have great exfoliating power, and can be customized with essential oils for the specific needs of your skin.
Finely ground oatmeal can be found in skin care products due to its anti-itch and anti-inflammatory properties. Simply incorporate it into your homemade facial mask scrubs for treatment of psoriasis and eczema. (5)
5. Oatmeal May Help Regulate Blood Sugar
With the rise in obesity, the number of children and adults who suffer from type two diabetes is on the rise as well. Type two diabetes is a condition in which the body does not properly regulate insulin levels and blood sugar levels can become too high as a result. Oatmeal is high in fiber and low in natural sugars, which can help the body to keep blood sugar levels in a safe range. (6)
Diabetes, if not treated correctly, can result in an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, kidney problems, and vision impairments, along with a host of other concerns. It is important to work closely with your doctor to ensure that this condition is being treated correctly to avoid any long term damage to your body.
6. Oatmeal Promotes Weight Loss and Keeps Your Digestive System Healthy
Oatmeal contains two types of fiber, soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber combines with water to create a gel within the intestines that slows down the digestion of food which allows various nutrients and vitamins to be fully absorbed. Insoluble fiber keeps the waste product in your bowels soft, as well as helping to clean out the intestines. This helps to keep your bowels moving regularly and removing toxins from your body.
When on any weight loss diet, it’s important to take satiety into account. Studies show that participants feel a greater degree of fullness with oatmeal as compared to similar carbohydrate-based foods. (7)
7. Oatmeal Contains Antioxidants That Combat Free Radical Damage
The immune system plays an incredibly important part throughout the body. The immune system is a network of organs, cells, and tissues that help to defend the body from the multitudes of germs and parasites that attack the body regularly. Oatmeal contains beta-glucan, which is a type of fiber that helps the white blood cells locate the source of infection and fight off bacteria. (8)
Oatmeal also contains antioxidants, which are important in the fight against different diseases. Antioxidants fight free radicals, which are unstable molecules that cause a variety of different ailments, including heart disease and many different types of cancers.
8. Oatmeal Is Great Fuel For Athletes
Athletes are constantly looking for a superfood to help keep them feeling healthy and their workouts effective. Oatmeal is a great source of protein which helps to build lean muscle. Oatmeal contains Vitamin B as well as magnesium, both of which help to build muscle as well as help prevent cramping after workouts.
9. Oats are Naturally Gluten-Free
For those with Celiac Disease, oats are an excellent option to replace other wheat-based alternatives. Also, those who find that they are sensitive to gluten may benefit from gluten-free oats as a solution for stomach problems and indigestion.
Oats have been around for thousands of years, and has been used in a variety of different dishes since its rise in popularity in North America four hundred years ago. This grain, while under-appreciated at times, can provide numerous health benefits. Adding oatmeal into your diet regularly will benefit your body in a variety of different ways, and is a delicious way to start your day.