All of that excitement about oat bran wasn't unfounded. The high fiber content of oats that comes from the bran is important for our health. It helps to regulate cholesterol, keeps us full, and keeps our digestive system moving smoothly. Let's look at some of the benefits of oatmeal in more detail.
- Heart Health: It isn't just the soluble fiber in oatmeal that has been linked to lower cholesterol, oatmeal is a good source of potassium which is known to lower blood pressure.
- Reduces Diabetes Risk: Oatmeal contains slowly digesting sugars, offering blood sugar stability that is beneficial for type 2 diabetics and those with insulin resistance.
- Weight Management: Oatmeal contains a compound called beta-glucan which has been found to increase feelings of satiety. Also, because oatmeal is high in soluble fiber, it takes a long time to digest, helping you feel fuller longer.
- Endurance: When eaten 45 minutes to an hour before moderate exercise, oatmeal enhances energy and performance. As a great carbohydrate and protein source, oatmeal provides sustained energy for athletes.
- Sleep: Even though we think of oatmeal as a breakfast foods, it might just be a better food to eat at night. Oatmeal contains melatonin and complex carbs that help tryptophan get to the brain to help you sleep. Can't sleep? Try a bowl of oatmeal!
If you want to maximize the benefits of oatmeal, try using oats that are more minimally processed like whole oat groats and steel cut oats. The more refined the grain is (think quick oats), the more easily the sugars in it are absorbed into the system and the less benefit you'll get from it.