Turns Out, Oatmeal is Even Healthier For You Than We Thought
You've most likely heard by now that oatmeal is a powerhouse of a breakfast food. It can help with inflammation, suppress your appetite, and reduce cholesterol. And it doesn't hurt that it's also delicious and comforting during the colder months!
We talked with Laura Burak, MS, RD, author of Slimdown with Smoothies, founder of Laura Burak Nutrition, and member of our medical expert board, to learn even more about oatmeal's health benefits, and it turns out it's even healthier than we thought!
"Oatmeal is not only an easy and satisfying meal," says Burak, "but it contains a trio of amazing health benefits that not many other breakfast foods have."
Read on to learn the reasons why oatmeal is considered one of the healthiest breakfast foods to eat, and for more healthy eating tips, make sure to check out The 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now.
Oatmeal acts as a prebiotic
One of the coolest reasons that oatmeal is so healthy for you is that it actually acts as a prebiotic, which helps keep your gut microbiome in balance.
"Think of prebiotics as the food that feeds the healthy gut bacteria, otherwise known as probiotics," says Burak.
According to medical expert board members Tammy Lakatos Shames, RD, CDN, CFT, and Lyssie Lakatos, RD, CDN, CFT in a previous article, this happens because prebiotic fibers aren't digested by your body, but instead make their way to your colon.
Shames and Lakatos say that once the prebiotics are there, they become fermented and turn into the food that the probiotics consume. This process helps improve digestion, build stronger immunity, and prevent inflammation.
It has soluble fiber and insoluble fiber
Burak also loves that oatmeal is a source of fiber, which is a crucial part of any healthy diet.
"Fiber stabilizes your blood sugar, keeps you full, can help lower cholesterol, and keeps everything flowing nicely through your GI tract, which of course promotes regularity in the bathroom," says Burak.
More specifically, oatmeal contains both types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Each of these types of fiber serves a unique purpose, but they're both important to your health.
According to the Harvard School of Public Health, soluble fiber dissolves in water and can help you manage your glucose while lowering your cholesterol levels. Insoluble fiber does not dissolve but instead helps your digestive tract stay regular and helps the food you eat to move through your body without issue.
You can add even healthier ingredients to oatmeal
Oats on their own are healthy enough, but another benefit to them is that it's really easy to add other healthy ingredients.
"Doctor it up by making them either sweet or savory with healthy additions like fruit, nuts, seeds, and spices, and make sure to add some protein and healthy fats like nut butter, yogurt, or even eggs on the side to complete the meal and keep you full," says Burak.
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