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The #1 Best Oatmeal For a Healthy Gut, Says Dietitian

Steel cut may take a little longer to cook than other types of oatmeal, but it's worth it.
FACT CHECKED BY Olivia Tarantino

Oatmeal is delicious, comforting, and full of health benefits. "It's not only quick and easy to cook," says Laura Burak, MS, RD, author of Slimdown with Smoothies, and founder of Laura Burak Nutrition, "but oatmeal has nutritional superpowers as well."

Oats have been known to reduce inflammation, keep you fuller for a longer period of time, and help you have a healthy gut. And according to Burak, the absolute best type of oatmeal for your gut is steel-cut.

What's the difference?

steel cut oats rolled oats groats
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Oatmeal lovers have a few options to choose from when it comes time to select their favorite oats, and the differences usually come down to the method of processing.

Rolled Oats

Rolled oats start out as the whole grain oat and undergo a process of pressing and steaming. Common types of rolled oats that you buy include old-fashioned oats and instant oatmeal.

These types of oats have a speedier cook time, which is one of the main reasons they're so appealing to customers.

Steel Cut Oats

Steel-cut oats are the least processed of the bunch. These are formed by cutting whole grain oats into thicker pieces instead of rolling and steaming them. They do take longer to cook and absorb less water, but because steel-cut oats are less processed, they hold more of their original nutrients.

"Steel-cut oats are full of nutrients," says Burak, "and while they may take longer to cook because less of the whole grain is removed, their health benefits totally worth it."

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The health benefits of steel-cut oats

Steel cut oats
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According to Burak, steel-cut oats are beneficial to your gut health because they act as prebiotics and contain soluble and insoluble fiber, which are both good for your gut.

"Steel-cut oats have prebiotic benefits because they become the food that feeds the probiotics (aka 'good' protective bacteria) in your gut," says Burak, "which is necessary for a healthy microbiome."

While you need prebiotics and probiotics, your gut health will suffer without a proper amount of fiber in your daily diet, which steel-cut oats can help with.

"Fiber keeps everything flowing nicely through your pipes, or digestive tract, and is essential for overall health," says Burak, "so make a bowl of plain oats with natural sources of sugar like fruit, nuts, or seeds and enjoy a complete meal full of fiber, protein, and heart-healthy fats."

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