We know that oatmeal is a good heart-healthy breakfast, is full of fiber (which is good weight management), and can even help you live longer. But did you also know that oatmeal can actually have a few surprising effects on your gut? Not only is oatmeal a filling breakfast and an excellent complex carbohydrate to have in your diet, but it can also help in keeping your gut healthy!
We had a few experts back up this claim by giving us the low-down of how oatmeal can help your gut health, and what that gut health boost can do for your body overall. Here are some of the surprising effects oatmeal has on your gut, and for even more healthy tips, be sure to check out our list of The 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now.
Oatmeal feeds your gut bacteria.
"Oats are a prebiotic, which feed the good probiotic bacteria in your gut," says Amy Goodson, MS, RD, CSSD, LD, author of The Sports Nutrition Playbook, and owner of RD Career Jumpstart. "Think of prebiotics as 'probiotic boosters.' Oats specifically contain beta-glucan fiber, which has been linked to healthy gut bacteria. Plus, oats help slow down digestion which can help with controlling your appetite and helping to prevent overeating."
Oatmeal creates a healthy gut, which decreases disease risk..
"Oatmeal is great for promoting gut health as it contains both soluble and insoluble fiber which can help strengthen your gut, bind soluble fiber, and bulk up your stool," says Ricci-Lee Hotz, MS, RDN at A Taste of Health and Expert at Testing.com. "In addition, the fiber in oatmeal can act as a prebiotic which is a good fuel source for healthy bacteria in your gut leading to a healthy gut environment, which can help minimize risks of digestive symptoms and potentially decrease the risk of inflammation and chronic disease."
You'll have a healthier GI tract.
"Oatmeal actually contains healthy prebiotics that essentially feed the probiotics (or good bacteria) in your gut," says Megan Byrd, RD from The Oregon Dietitian. "By eating oatmeal regularly, you continually fuel the healthy bacteria in your gut, leading to better digestion, less bloating and GI upset, and a healthier GI tract in general!"
Cold oats have resistant starch, reducing inflammation.
"When you consume your oatmeal cold as overnight oats—the oats are actually very rich in a prebiotic called resistant starch, that is particularly beneficial at feeding your good gut bacteria, and stimulating the production of a valuable by-product known as short-chain fatty acids which have a wealth of benefits to your body, including reducing inflammation," says Kara Landau, RD and Founder at Uplift Food. "Make sure you enjoy your oats raw like this to reap the full benefit, as resistant starch is broken down when you cook your oats into hot oatmeal!"
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