Oats are incredibly healthy, gluten-free whole grains that pack a lot of essential vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, and fiber.
Nutritionists recommend oats and oatmeal for weight loss and healthy digestion. Moreover, studies have found oats to have many health benefits, such as lowering blood sugar levels, reducing the risk of heart disease, preventing constipation, and providing your body with its fair share of antioxidants.
Fun Fact: Oats are used primarily as food for livestock, with only about 5% of the world’s crop being consumed by humans.
Table of Contents
- Oats & Oatmeal Benefits
- 1. Oats are good for the heart
- 2. Oats help you maintain a nutritious diet
- 3. Oats help reduce blood pressure
- 4. Oatmeal helps you keep a low BMI
- 5. Oats help reduce cholesterol
- 6. Keep Your Blood Sugar Under Control
- 7. Oatmeal helps prevent constipation
- 8. Ground oats are great for your skin
- 9. Helps prevent acid reflux
- 10. Decreases the symptoms of asthma in children
Oats & Oatmeal Benefits
So, what are the main benefits of oats and oatmeal as part of a healthy diet? Let’s look at some evidence-based facts.
1. Oats are good for the heart
Eating oats and oatmeal regularly can help you maintain a rich and nutritious diet. Oats are a type of whole grain that is high in fiber, B vitamins, zinc, and minerals such as phosphorus and magnesium (1).
Specialists recommend we eat more whole grains, as studies have confirmed they lead to a stronger heart and a longer and healthier life (2).
A study published by the Harvard School of Public Health in 2015 analyzed the connection between whole grain consumption and the risk of mortality in more than 100,000 people (3). For every daily serving of whole grains, the risk of death from heart disease decreased by up to 9 percent, regardless of other diet and lifestyle factors.
Summary:Because oats are considered whole grains, consuming them can lead to a stronger heart, decrease the risk of heart disease, and live a longer, healthier life.
2. Oats help you maintain a nutritious diet
Starting your day off with oatmeal for breakfast will make you feel full for longer and help you consume more nutrients per day.
A 2015 study published in the Journal of Nutrition Research showed that regular oatmeal consumers would lead a generally healthier lifestyle than those who would not eat oatmeal regularly (4). In general, they would eat more fiber, protein, and vitamins in a day, and were also less inclined to drink alcohol or smoke.
What is more, you don’t just eat oatmeal. You usually pair it with some fruits and milk, thus adding even more vitamins to your diet.
But let’s not forget that oats are highly nutritious by themselves. They have a rich and well-balanced nutrient composition of carbs, fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants (5).
From 78 grams of oats, you get 191% of the Manganese RDI, 41% of the Phosphorus RDI, 20% of the Zinc and Iron RDI, and 39% of the Vitamin B1 RDI, among other things. Add 5 grams of fat, 8 grams of fiber, 51 grams of carbs, and 13 grams of protein, packed in only 303 calories (6). Simply lovely!
Summary:Studies have found that oat-eaters in general lead a healthier lifestyle and have an overall better diet quality than those who don’t.
3. Oats help reduce blood pressure
Oats are rich in antioxidants (7). One alkaloid group worth mentioning is the avenanthramides, found mainly in oats. They have strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and might help you prevent severe conditions such as coronary heart disease or colon cancer (8).
Avenanthramides can help keep your blood vessels healthy, and your blood flow at the right levels. This can promote a healthy blood pressure level and may even reduce high blood pressure.
So, make oatmeal part of your diet to keep an overall good blood pressure level.
Summary:Oats are one of the only foods that contain avenanthramides, which are a type of chemical that has been shown to promote healthy blood vessels and blood flow which can help lead to optimal blood pressure.
4. Oatmeal helps you keep a low BMI
Research has shown that oatmeal eaters are more likely to have a low body mass index and slimmer waists (9).
Many nutritionists offer oatmeal as an option for diets geared towards weight loss. However, one can’t help but wonder – do oats help you lose weight?
Well, there is no secret sauce to losing kilograms. You can eat oatmeal and still struggle with your weight if everything else in your diet and lifestyle is wrong.
So, oats are not the magic bullet to weight loss. However, they can help you lose those extra kilograms if you pair them with a generally healthy diet and active lifestyle.
Oatmeal helps you feel full for longer (10). Therefore, you won’t feel the need to have little, unhealthy snacks between meals. It is not just a feeling. It is backed by science. Research has shown that the beta-glucan fiber in oats encourages satiety and can suppress appetite (11).
Summary:Studies have found that those who eat oatmeal often have a lower body mass index (BMI) and slimmer waist.
5. Oats help reduce cholesterol
Oats are rich in beta-glucan, which is a type of soluble fiber that dissolves partially in the water, forming a gel-like solution in your guts, helping prevent constipation and providing your body with a plethora of health benefits.
Beta-glucan is known to reduce LDL and total cholesterol levels while regulating your blood sugar and insulin (12). Research has shown that this type of fiber helps increase the secretion of cholesterol-rich bile.
Beta-glucan also suppresses your appetite and promotes the growth of good bacteria in the gut (13).
Therefore, thanks to this fiber, oats are a great solution to reducing cholesterol levels naturally.
Summary:Oats contain beta-glucan which is a type of fiber known to help lower cholesterol levels.
6. Keep Your Blood Sugar Under Control
Oats help improve insulin sensitivity and lower blood sugar levels (14). Research has shown significant results in overweight people or those with type 2 diabetes.
Remember the beta-glucan fiber we were talking about earlier? It also helps regulate your blood sugar levels (15). How? Well, it transforms into a thick gel-like compound in your stomach, delaying the emptying of your gut to help the absorption of glucose into your blood. Isn’t that clever?
Well done, oatmeal! And when you think that some people call oatmeal boring. How can it be boring when it has so many benefits for your health?
Summary:Beta-glucan in oats has also been shown to help regulate blood sugar levels because it helps slow the absorption of glucose into the bloodstream.
7. Oatmeal helps prevent constipation
Constipation is the silent disease of this century. Many people suffer from constipation but choose to shush about it for whatever reason.
Nevertheless, constipation is no joke, and it can lead to even greater issues if left untreated. Oats help naturally regulate your bowel movements (16).
Of course, there is always the solution of laxatives, but in the long term, they can affect the health of your gut.
So, to relieve constipation, you need a diet rich in fiber, and that’s exactly what oatmeal offers (17).
Several studies have shown that oats are excellent natural laxatives that can reduce constipation and regulate bowel movements.
Summary:Oats are high in fiber, which is great for preventing constipation and promoting regular bowel movements.
8. Ground oats are great for your skin
A lot of skincare products have finely ground oats in them, also known as “colloidal oatmeal”. The FDA approved them as skin-protective compounds in 2003.
Yes, oats do help in cases of itch, irritation, or dry skin (18). They are an excellent cure for various skin conditions, including eczema.
However, please note that we’re talking about finely ground oats applied to the skin, not eaten. Colloidal oats applied to the skin can treat various skin conditions and fight against inflammation (19).
Oats have been used for skincare for a long time now. They have been proven effective in the case of acne, skin inflammation, and various other irritations (20).
Moreover, people take oatmeal baths to soothe their skin and treat the symptoms of dry skin. So, why not try one soothing, moisturizing oatmeal bath yourself?
Summary:Oats have soothing skin-promoting effects that can help prevent inflammation, and relieve itchiness, acne, and other skin irritations.
9. Helps prevent acid reflux
The fiber in oatmeal presents great absorbing powers. It becomes a gel-like compound in the gut and can absorb the acid from foods.
Eating oatmeal often helps neutralize the unneeded acidity in your stomach, suppresses acid secretion, and blocks acid reflux.
Moreover, oatmeal is rich in Selenium, a compound known to coat the esophagus and protect it from uncomfortable acids (21).
Not to forget that oatmeal is a whole grain, rich in fiber, helping with your digestion and bowel movement (22). That is why oats have been a very popular breakfast choice for generations.
Simply put, oatmeal is filling, smooth on your esophagus, and good for your stomach. What more can you wish for?
Summary:Oats can help neutralize acidity and contain acid in the stomach, which can help prevent issues for people like acid reflux.
10. Decreases the symptoms of asthma in children
Asthma is a common chronic disease that some children struggle with. Its inflammatory nature makes the tubes that carry air to and from the child’s lungs get smaller, swell up, and fill with mucus. This will cause the children to cough, wheeze, and even be short of breath.
Asthma does run in families. However, in some cases, an early introduction of solid foods for children might help combat this issue. Therefore, an early introduction to oats is a great choice.
Some preliminary research studies have found that feeding oats to children 6 months and older could decrease the risk of childhood asthma and allergies(23).
More research is needed, of course. However, the early findings are encouraging.
Summary:Some research suggests offering solid foods, like oats, to children 6 months and older may help prevent issues like asthma and allergies.
So, oats and oatmeal can have many positive effects on your health and lifestyle. You can enjoy them in several ways without getting bored. You can combine oats with various fruits for a filling and tasty breakfast. Maybe add some Greek yogurt or cinnamon to make it whimsical.
What is more, oats are naturally gluten-free, so if you are dealing with a gluten intolerance, oatmeal is a great choice.
All in all, oats are some of the healthiest foods you can eat for breakfast. So, make them part of a healthy diet and active lifestyle, and you will live long and prosper!