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The fact that oatmeal is healthy is undisputed – it is one of the healthiest foods. They are low in gluten and contain many important vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants. EAT SMARTER explains how healthy oatmeal is and what effect it has on health and weight loss.
That is why oatmeal is healthy
Oat, also known as Avena sativa, is a low-gluten whole grain product and is mostly consumed in the form of oat flakes. There are three types of cereals: oatmeal or large-leaf flakes, tender or small-leaf flakes and melted flakes. They are generally whole grain and always contain the outer layers and the seedling of the oat grain.
Oatmeal is mostly eaten as porridge (overnight oats or oatmeal) or muesli for breakfast or as a healthy ingredient for many baked goods.
Oatmeal is also healthy because of its nutrient balance. They contain extra fiber, minerals (especially magnesium, phosphorus, iron and zinc) and valuable vitamins – of all cereals, oats even have the highest vitamin B1 and B6 content and provide a lot of vegetable iron. For cereals, the flakes also contain quite a lot of protein and little fat, so that the composition of oatmeal is healthy.
By the way: For people suffering from celiac disease (gluten intolerance), there are special non-contaminated, gluten-free oats, which must be marked with the note “Oat” and the symbol of the crossed-out era.
Infographic of oatmeal
Would you like to learn more about the individual points in the following infographic? Then you will find further points below the graphic.
- … Score with proteins: About 12 g of protein are in 100 g of oatmeal – which makes them interesting not least for veggies. So that the body can use these proteins optimally, the best way to eat oatmeal is with milk products.
- … provide valuable nutrients: Oatmeal is a nerve food because it contains considerable amounts of vitamins from the B group plus about 140 mg of magnesium per 100 g. Incidentally, this, together with the high protein content, also makes them ideal for athletes.
- … Strengthen the bones: In combination with around 470 mg of phosphorus, the magnesium in oatmeal also ensures that bones become firmer and are better protected against breakage. This mineral mix is also good for good teeth.
- … lower blood lipid levels: At 7 g (per 100 g), oatmeal contains a relatively large amount of fat. However, it mainly consists of valuable and healthy unsaturated fatty acids, which help, among other things, to bring an excessively high cholesterol level back into balance.
- ... offer lots of fiber: At around 10%, oatmeal contains a good portion of fiber. This is not only beneficial for digestion: A large part of them are so-called beta-glucans, and these soluble fibers can lower cholesterol levels. They are also said to be able to prevent some forms of cancer.
- … are perfect light food: Those who recover from the flu or another illness will get fit faster with oatmeal: they not only provide important nutrients, but are also particularly digestible.
- … calm the stomach: Oatmeal cooked in water or low-fat milk is balm for an irritated stomach. This is due to the healing mucus substances that are released when oatmeal is heated and which lie on the mucous membrane like a protective film.
- … can contain gluten: If you can’t tolerate gluten, you have to be careful with oatmeal: conventionally produced oatmeal contains more or less large traces of e.g. Rye or wheat. In the case of celiac disease or gluten intolerance, only use oatmeal that has an “Oats” seal with a crossed-out ear (= gluten-free) on the packaging.
|Nutritional values of oatmeal per 100 grams|
|Dietary fiber||10 g|
Oatmeal is a whole grain product with a very good nutrient balance: it contains plenty of dietary fiber as well as minerals, vitamins and proteins.
1. Dietary fiber makes oatmeal healthy
Oatmeal keeps you full for a long time thanks to the many fibers. The soluble dietary fiber beta-glucan in particular has it all: it lowers blood sugar and cholesterol levels, has a positive effect on the insulin reaction, ensures a longer feeling of satiety and the growth of good intestinal bacteria.
Beta-glucan produces a gel film and slows gastric emptying. This leads to a longer lasting feeling of satiety: less is eaten and fewer kilocalories are consumed.
It also slows down the breakdown of nutrients and thus the rise in blood sugar levels. The German Nutrition Society (DGE) therefore recommends eating 30 grams of oats a day.
In addition, the fiber releases the peptide hormone YY (PYY), which gives the body a greater feeling of satiety. This satiety hormone has been proven to reduce the intake of fewer calories, thereby reducing the risk of being overweight.
Since the grain is rich in fiber, it can have a positive effect on health and keeps you full for a long time – this reduces the risk of being overweight.
2. Oatmeal can lower cholesterol
A major cause of heart disease is high cholesterol. Various studies show that the beta-glucan fiber found in oatmeal can effectively lower cholesterol and LDL levels.
On the one hand, this is due to the fact that beta-glucan excretes more bile containing cholesterol, which means that less cholesterol circulates in the blood. In order for this effect to occur, around three grams of the fiber must be consumed (is in two portions of 40 grams of oatmeal).
The positive effect for the cholesterol level can also be due to the fact that beta-glucan slows the absorption of fat and cholesterol by binding the digestible mass with water and thus forming a viscous solution.
An investigation also showed that the antioxidants in oatmeal in combination with vitamin C can prevent LDL oxidation. LDL oxidation can cause inflammation in the arteries, damage tissues and increase the risk of heart attack or stroke.
An elevated cholesterol level can lead to heart disease. Because dietary beta-glucan can lower cholesterol and LDL cholesterol, oatmeal can help prevent heart disease.
3. Oatmeal healthy in type 2 diabetes
Patients with type 2 diabetes have a significantly elevated blood sugar level. Oatmeal can lower blood sugar levels, especially in overweight or type 2 diabetes patients.
Oatmeal can also improve insulin sensitivity. The small flakes also owe this property to the fiber beta-glucan: the stomach is emptied more slowly and less glucose is absorbed by the blood.
Dr. Jens Aberle, specialist in internal medicine and diabetology and specialist in the treatment of obesity, also emphasizes the risks associated with being overweight: “In the long term, being overweight can lead to joint diseases and diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, heart attacks and strokes.
New findings also show that those who are extremely overweight also have an increased risk of certain tumor diseases. ”
Beta-glucan empties the stomach more slowly so that less glucose gets into the blood – this lowers the blood sugar level. Therefore, oatmeal is healthy for people who have type 2 diabetes.
4. Oatmeal for constipation
It is not for nothing that oatmeal soup is a tried and true home remedy for gastrointestinal problems. Older people in particular are often plagued by digestive problems, especially constipation.
Laxatives are usually administered here. While these help, they can lead to weight loss and poor quality of life.
The outer shell of the oats – for example, very concentrated in oat bran – was found to be very effective against constipation in the elderly. The general condition of the test subjects improved when a soup or dessert with oats was eaten daily.
59 percent of the patients were even able to do without laxatives after the twelve weeks of the study, while the comparison group needed eight percent more of the drug.
Oatmeal can help relieve constipation and relieve discomfort. Therefore, oatmeal is healthy, especially for older people.
5. Oatmeal contains many antioxidants
There are many antioxidants and polyphenols in oats, including avenanthramides. This antioxidant can lower blood pressure through higher nitric oxide production. The nitrogen oxide gas molecule widens the blood vessels and improves blood flow.
Avenanthramides can also counteract inflammation and itching. Generally, antioxidants are good for protecting the body from free radicals, premature tissue aging, and even cancer.
The cytokines in oats regulate cell growth, which can also prevent inflammation in arteries and thus prevent arteriosclerosis.
Oatmeal contains avenanthramides. These antioxidants, found in oatmeal, can lower blood pressure.
6. Oatmeal for asthma in children
Asthma is a typical chronic illness in children, in which the respiratory tract becomes inflamed. This can lead to recurrent coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath.
Some researchers believe that infants who eat solid foods early are at higher risk of developing asthma.
However, other studies have shown that this does not apply to all foods. In this way, the risk for children of developing asthma could be reduced if they were given oatmeal before the sixth month.
Asthma in children is a common chronic illness. Oatmeal can counteract asthma.