Over the upcoming weeks, I will be highlighting the nutritional benefits of each of the 8 ingredient in my OatMEAL Chia Cups. This week, I’m starting with the biggest, the boldest; one of the namesakes for my cups – OATS. Most people have eaten and love oatmeal, whether in a big heaping bowl or in cookies. Beyond the comforting taste, there are also so many health benefits that you get from a daily dose of oatmeal.
Oatmeal is hands down one of the most well-known super-foods. This long-running breakfast staple is high in fiber and rich in nutrients and has been shown to help lower cholesterol levels, aid in digestion and improve metabolism – just to name a few of its benefits. On top of that, oatmeal is a naturally gluten-free grain (when not processed or contaminated), which makes oatmeal a go-to grain for most people with a gluten allergy or sensitivity. (Certified gluten-free oats are available and are what I use at home and in my OatMEAL Chia Cups; many people with gluten sensitives, as opposed to gluten allergies, find regular oats to be fine.)
Nutritionally, oatmeal is a great source of carbs, fiber and protein. For every 100 calories of oats you get 3g of fiber and 5g of protein. Not many other foods can hold up to that claim.
NUTRITION POWERHOUSE: Oats are also loaded with important vitamins, minerals and antioxidant plant compounds. Half a cup (78 grams) of dry oats contains (1):
Manganese: 191% of the RDI.
Phosphorus: 41% of the RDI.
Magnesium: 34% of the RDI.
Copper: 24% of the RDI.
Iron: 20% of the RDI.
Zinc: 20% of the RDI.
Folate: 11% of the RDI.
Vitamin B1 (thiamin): 39% of the RDI.
Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid): 10% of the RDI.
Smaller amounts of calcium, potassium, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) and vitamin B3 (niacin).
FIBER: Oats are often boasted for their fiber content. It’s true, oats do carry a good quantity of fiber, but it’s not just the quantity, but the quality of oatmeal’s fiber that’s mucho amazing. Oatmeal carries beta-glucan fiber. Benefits of this specific fiber include:
- Reduced LDL and total cholesterol levels.
- Reduced blood sugar and insulin response.
- Increased feeling of fullness.
- Increased growth of good bacteria in the digestive tract.
ANTIOXIDANTS → REDUCE INFLAMMATION: As I’ve alluded to, oatmeal is also rich in antioxidants. Oatmeal is most notably known for having two very special antioxidants: Polyphenols and Avenanthramides. The polyphenols in oatmeal have also recently been shown to exhibit anti-inflammatory, anti-proliferative, and anti-itching activity, which may provide additional protection against coronary heart disease, colon cancer, and skin irritation. Avenanthramides are powerful antioxidant found almost only solely in oats! Studies have shown that avenanthramides significantly reduce the inflammatory response, which can protect against a host of diseases.
CONTROL BLOOD SUGAR: Due to the high fiber content, oatmeal makes it onto the list of low glycemic foods. The lower a food’s glycemic index, the slower blood sugar rises after eating that food. Oatmeal is a perfect food for preventing type 2 diabetes and keeping your blood sugar in check.
WEIGHT LOSS: Everyone’s favorite topic – weight loss. Oatmeal is extremely filling and may aid in weight loss, but it don’t hold any super secret weight loss magic. Oatmeal simply keeps you feeling full longer, and therefore helps you to eat fewer calories. Oatmeal can also help with constipation and removing waste will decrease bloat and make you feel thinner.
LACTOGENIC – Lacto what? If you’re a nursing mom you know what this means: Lactogenic is something that boosts your milk supply. Oatmeal is one of the top foods for naturally boosting milk supply. When I was nursing Lyla I started making my OatMEAL Chia Cups so I had a quick and convenient way to get my oats in with one hand. I ate two every morning and was able to lose all the baby weight without losing my milk supply.
SKINCARE (MY FAVORITE ECZEMA REMEDY!!!): Aside from eating oatmeal, oatmeal is often used in beauty products and home skin remedies. It sounds silly to spread breakfast on your body, but oatmeal will leave your skin glowing and feeling soft/smooth! Oats have a very soothing property and have been used to reduce eczema and skin inflammation. My oldest daughter, Scarlett, had severe eczema as a baby. Her back was so raw that people asked if she was a burn victim. It was really sad and hard to get her eczema under control. The natural regimen that worked to help banish her eczema for good (other than a few minor flare-ups years later), was a warm oatmeal bath followed by a thick layer of vaseline and a layer of 100% cotton clothing. I used to grind the oatmeal in the food processor to prep for the bath, but I realized that step was unnecessary. The easiest way to make an excellent and soothing oatmeal bath is to just put a cup of oatmeal in a knee-high stocking, and put the stocking over the faucet as you run the warm bath water into the tub. Squeeze the oatmeal as the water runs through and you will feel the sticky goodness (a technical term, of course) running into the bath water. I’ve used this remedy when I’ve had a rash and it worked well to ease some of the itchy discomfort.
Ground oatmeal (1 tablespoon)
Milk (1 tablespoon)
How to make it:
Place the banana in a mixing bowl and mash it into a pulp. Add the oatmeal and milk and mix until well combined.
– Protect your hair from the mixture by pulling it back before you apply it to your face.
– Wear something you wouldn’t mind getting messy.
– Make sure to use a ripe banana. If you have oily skin, go for skim milk or use whole milk if you have dry skin.
As you can see, there’s a zillion reasons to eat (and wear!) your oats. To switch up your basic boring bowl of oatmeal, but still get a full serving of oats, try ordering a batch of my OatMEAL Chia Cups; or make this recipe for some tasty Vegan Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies.