With the rising popularity of low-carbohydrate diets, you may be wondering whether whole-grain breakfasts, like oatmeal, are still a healthy option. Whole grains are fully intact with three distinct parts: the bran, endosperm, and germ. As a result, whole grains have more nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and fiber than their processed or refined counterparts.
The following nutrition information is provided by the USDA for 1/2 cup dry (39g) rolled oats with no sugar or salt added. This serving is equivalent to 1 cup of cooked oatmeal (cooked in water).
Oats provide almost 30 grams of complex carbohydrates in one cup cooked. With 4 grams of fiber and no added sugar, oats are a healthier choice than many processed breakfast cereals.
Plain oats have minimal fat with 2.5 grams per serving. The fats in oatmeal are mostly polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats with very little saturated fat.
Oats are a good source of protein, providing about 5 grams per serving. As with most plant foods, oatmeal does not offer the full range of essential amino acids required by the body. Nonetheless, oatmeal helps contribute to your daily protein requirements.
Oats are a good source of manganese, a component of antioxidant enzymes, important in facilitating bone development and helping to make and break down glucose. Oats are also a good source of iron, magnesium, zinc, and selenium.
Oatmeal is a useful health food that provides both internal and external health benefits.
Nutrition experts suggest replacing refined grains, like white bread, pasta, bagels, or other breakfast pastries with whole-grain foods to promote satiety and healthy weight management. Plain oatmeal is a great alternative to less nutritious grain-based breakfast foods (like muffins and cereal made with refined grains).
Colloidal oatmeal, made by boiling ground oats, is an effective way to soothe itchy skin, reduce psoriasis symptoms, and help treat atopic dermatitis. Colloidal oatmeal’s anti-inflammatory effects make it a soothing skin moisturizer. Additional skin benefits include U.V. protection and antifungal effects.
A review of 16 studies shows moderate benefits of oat consumption on type 2 diabetes management. A reduction in hemoglobin A1c values (a 3-month indicator of blood sugar levels) has been associated with oat intake, along with improvements in heart-health markers, a common co-morbidity.
Oats have more soluble fiber than most grains. Soluble fiber helps lower LDL cholesterol levels, particularly the type of fiber found in oatmeal, beta-glucan.
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