When I used to stay the night with my grandparents as a child, I use to admire the extravagant breakfasts my Grandfather used to make for himself. Without fail, they always involved a hot bowl of oatmeal topped with a colorful spread of fruit. Yeah, he was making beautiful “oatmeal bowls” before they became so “in-style”. He made his bowls of oatmeal look so appetizing that I’d beg him to make me my own bowl. Since then, a hot bowl of oatmeal topped with fruit has become a comforting thing that takes me back in time. Not only can eating oats be comforting, but it can also be healthy. Oats are a satiating heart-healthy food packed with whole grains and soluble fiber thus. With all of these benefits in mind, it’s easy to see why it’d be important to incorporate them into your diet.
Oats are arguably an important and versatile staple in the cabinets of many people. They are also coincidentally the January Grain of January as deemed by the Whole Grains Council. Due to the processing nature of oats, their bran and germ usually remain intact. Because the bran and germ of an oat stay intact, it meets the requirements of being called a whole grain (The Whole Grains Council). This is important because whole-grains are an essential part of a balanced diet. Choosemyplate.gov recommends that at least half of your daily intake of grains should be whole. This means that eating a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast puts you well on your way to meeting Choose My Plate recommendations.
The fact that oats are generally whole-grain isn’t the only benefit to consuming them. If I have learned anything in my Medical Nutrition Therapy classes, it’s that oats are a great source of soluble fiber. Soluble fiber inhibits cholesterol and bile absorption in the small intestine. This inhibited absorption reduces cholesterol synthesis in the liver. That means that oats are a heart-healthy food as they can help manage low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels. Oats also contain a variety of polyphenols which can have anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory impacts on the body (The Whole Grain Council). Some other benefits of consuming Oats are that they keep you feeling full for longer and they may help lower blood pressure (The Whole Grain Council).
Have I convinced you to add this wonderful whole grain to your diet yet? Do you want to try something other than a bowl of oatmeal? Like I mentioned previously, oats are extremely versatile and can be used in a variety of recipes. My personal favorite way to incorporate oats is to make them into energy bites. They make a fun and portable snack that I can enjoy while I am out and about. The Whole Grain Council’s website has a ton of other fun ways that you can incorporate this amazing whole grain into your diet!
Oats – January Grain of the Month. The Whole Grains Council. https://wholegrainscouncil.org/whole-grains-101/easy-ways-enjoy-whole-grains/grain-month-calendar/oats-%E2%80%93-january-grain-month. Accessed January 13, 2018.