Oats have been around for centuries and are a staple in the diets of many people around the world. There are many reasons why oats and oatmeal are so popular, but one of the main reasons is because they offer a wealth of health benefits.
In this article, we will discuss 9 health benefits of eating oats and oatmeal. So if you’re looking for a nutritious breakfast or snack option, look no further than oats!
What Are Oats and Oatmeal?
Before we dive into the health benefits of oats, let’s first take a look at what they are. Oats are a type of cereal grain that is harvested from oat grass. They can be eaten whole, rolled, or steel-cut.
Oatmeal, on the other hand, is made by grinding oats into a fine powder. This powder can then be used to make porridge or added to baked goods.
Oats are a nutrient-dense food, meaning they offer a lot of health benefits despite being relatively low in calories. They are also a good source of fiber, which can promote digestive health and help you feel full after eating.
Health Benefits of Eating Oats and Oatmeal
Now that we know a little bit more about oats, let’s take a look at some of the health benefits they offer.
#1 – Oats Are Incredibly Nutritious
The nutrient composition of oats is well-balanced. They are a good source of carbs and fiber, including the powerful fiber beta-glucan. They are also relatively high in protein and contain a good amount of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
This makes oats an incredibly nutritious food that can be enjoyed as part of a healthy diet.
Half a cup (78 grams) of dry oats contains:
- Manganese: 63.91% of the daily value (DV)
- Phosphorus: 13.3% of the DV
- Magnesium: 13.3% of the DV
- Copper: 17.6% of the DV
- Iron: 9.4% of the DV
- Zinc: 13.4% of the DV
- Folate: 3.24% of the DV
- Vitamin B1 (thiamin): 15.5% of the DV
- Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid): 9.07% of the DV
- Smaller amounts of calcium, potassium, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), and vitamin B3 (niacin)
Oats have 51 grams of carbs, 13 grams of protein, 5 grams of fat, and 8 grams of fiber in 1 cup. This same serving has only 303 calories.
#2 – Rich in Antioxidants
Oats contain Avenanthramides, a type of antioxidant that’s unique to oats and oat bran. These antioxidants can help reduce blood pressure and protect LDL cholesterol from damage.
Avenanthramides are believed to work by increasing the production of nitric oxide in your body. This helps relax and widen your blood vessels, improving blood flow and lowering blood pressure.
What’s more, a test-tube study found that Avenanthramides may help protect LDL cholesterol from oxidative damage.
This is important because oxidized LDL cholesterol is one of the main drivers of heart disease.
In fact, studies show that eating oats and oatmeal can help reduce LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol levels.
#3 – Contain a Powerful Soluble Fiber Called Beta-glucan
Beta-glucan is a type of soluble fiber found in oats and oatmeal.
This fiber has numerous health benefits, including improved blood sugar control and cholesterol levels.
What’s more, beta-glucan may also enhance immune function by increasing the activity of natural killer cells and white blood cells.
A test-tube study found that beta-glucan from oats increased the activity of natural killer cells by up to 33%.
Furthermore, eating beta-glucan has been shown to increase levels of infection-fighting antibodies in the blood.
These effects may help reduce your risk of developing infections, such as colds and the flu.
#4 – Can Lower Cholesterol Levels
High cholesterol is a risk factor for heart disease, the leading cause of death worldwide.
Fortunately, oats can help fight high cholesterol.
In fact, studies show that eating just one bowl of oatmeal a day can lower LDL (bad) cholesterol by up to 23%.
This effect is largely due to the soluble fiber content in oats.
Soluble fiber binds to cholesterol in the gut and prevents its absorption into the bloodstream.
#5 – Can Improve Blood Sugar Control
If you have diabetes, oats can be a helpful part of your diet.
That’s because they’re high in fiber, which slows down the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream.
This can help keep blood sugar levels stable and reduce your risk of developing diabetes-related complications.
However, a randomized clinical trial in 2016 saw no improvement in insulin sensitivity, so further research is needed.
These effects are mainly attributed to beta-glucan’s ability to form a thick gel that delays the emptying of the stomach and absorption of glucose into the blood.
#6 – May Help You Lose Weight
If you’re trying to lose weight, oats may be a helpful addition to your diet.
That’s because they’re high in fiber, which can help you feel full and satisfied after eating.
What’s more, beta-glucan has been shown to increase satiety hormones like GLP-I and peptide YY, which can help promote weight loss.
In one study, obese adults who ate beta-glucan from oats for 12 weeks lost nearly five times more weight than those who didn’t eat fiber.
Additionally, they also experienced a greater reduction in waist circumference.
#7 – May Help with Skin Care
Oats can also be beneficial for your skin.
That’s because they contain Avenanthramides, which are compounds that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Some studies suggest that these compounds can help protect the skin from damage caused by the sun and other environmental factors.
What’s more, Avenanthramides have also been shown to improve the appearance of skin by reducing redness and itching.
If you have sensitive skin, oats can be a great natural remedy to help soothe irritation.
To use, simply add a cup of oats to your bathtub or make an oatmeal paste to apply directly to the skin.
#8 – May Decrease the Risk of Childhood Asthma
Some evidence suggests that consuming oats may help decrease the risk of childhood asthma.
A study of over 200,000 Danish children found that those who ate the most oats had a lower risk of developing asthma than those who ate the least.
While more research is needed, these findings suggest that oats may play a role in preventing this condition.
#9 – May Help Relieve Constipation
Oats are a good source of fiber, which is important for regular bowel movements.
In fact, one study showed that eating 50 grams of oats each day increased stool frequency and improved overall constipation symptoms in adults.
If you’re struggling with constipation, adding oats to your diet may be a simple and effective way to improve your symptoms.
Oats are whole grain that is packed with nutrients and offer a variety of health benefits.
If you’re looking to add more healthy grains to your diet, oats are a great option.
Try adding them to yogurt, oatmeal, or baked goods for a nutritious boost. You can also find oats in many granola bars and breakfast cereals.
Oats and oatmeal are a powerhouse breakfast food that can provide your body with lasting energy throughout the day. They’re also low in calories and high in fiber, making them a great choice if you’re looking to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.
In addition to all of these health benefits, oats and oatmeal are also gluten-free and vegan-friendly. So why not add some oats or oatmeal to your next breakfast? You may be surprised at how good they taste!