Diet-Friendly Breakfast: Oatmeal Nutrition Facts and Health BenefitsBy Rob Poulos...
For decades, we’ve chowed down on it for breakfast. It’s even been integrated into our favorite cookies and bars, advertised as a healthy way to lower your cholesterol levels. And now, nutritionists are recommending it as a great way to watch your weight.
Of course, we’re talking about oatmeal, the meal that does every heart (and body) right.
Though most people compare oatmeal to glue, not all oatmeal is bland–and in fact you can make it tasty with just a few simple additions. With less than 160 calories per serving and a whopping 4 grams of dietary fiber, it’s also a great way to watch your weight while reducing your risk of colon cancer and high blood pressure. Here’s how.
Oatmeal Nutrition Facts: Why It’s Good
Most people opt for cereal or scrambled eggs for breakfast, but don’t forget the healthiest breakfast of all–a bowl of warm, smooth oatmeal.
Clocking in at 150 calories per half cup, it isn’t the lowest calorie breakfast around. But, from a nutritional standpoint, few breakfast foods come close. Here’s why: Along with monounsaturated fat (the good type of fat), oatmeal also contains no cholesterol, plenty of dietary and soluble fiber, and 10 percent of your daily recommendation of iron. This means you’ll have stronger bones, muscles, and a happier tummy–both soluble and dietary fiber work to improve the health of your digestive system.
For dieters, here’s the real reason to get excited about fiber: Fiber helps people eat fewer calories throughout the day, according to research. It’s an all-natural appetite suppressant, without the nasty side effects of appetite-suppressing drugs, such as ephedrine.
Oatmeal’s Health Benefits
For 150 calories per serving, oatmeal contains innumerable benefits–and the benefits get even sweeter.
As well as acting as a natural appetite suppressant, fiber is also great for your blood cholesterol. According to recent research, people who ate oatmeal regularly lowered their LDL, or bad, cholesterol levels. It also may lower your risk of heart disease, one of the most common–and deadliest–diseases in the United States.
It’s also great for reducing your risk of colon cancer, according to scientists.
Have high blood pressure? Oatmeal is a favorite among people with high blood pressure. Additional research shows that eating oatmeal could lower your blood pressure, equaling a lot of good for your heart.
How to Make Oatmeal Taste Great
While no one disputes the healthfulness of oatmeal, many of us skip it for breakfast simply because it tastes unpleasant–having the consistency and taste of glue, according to some consumers. So how can you make it taste better? Here are some ways to amp up its umami factor:
- Add berries. A dash of sweet berries can add the right amount of sweetness to an otherwise bland bowl of oatmeal; berries also provide an additional level of phytochemcials that may have a protective effect against cancer.
- Sugar and cinnamon always please. In minute amounts, sugar isn’t harmful–and with a dash of cinnamon can make a bowl of oatmeal taste like a warm, moist cinnamon roll. If you’d rather skip sugar, then there are always alternatives, such as Splenda, which contains fewer calories but still tastes just as sweet.
- Go with raw honey. If you don’t like sugar, adding a squirt of raw honey can amp up its sweetness while still being relatively healthy. Don’t be afraid to add other spices too to make it even more flavorful!