By John Parrillo
Oatmeal may not be the most exciting breakfast food, but new nutritional data on this cereal reveals that we should make it a meal that starts most of our days. Although oats have been around since ancient times, we know more about this clean carb than ever. In fact, it is very unique among other cereal crops. It contains more protein than corn, rice, and wheat, and is loaded with minerals such as manganese, selenium, magnesium, zinc, and copper. Read on for more reasons why you should make oatmeal a staple in your diet.
The β-Glucan Fiber Factor
Oatmeal is high in a fiber called β-glucan, which has outstanding functional and nutritional properties. β-glucans are considered to be the major active component of oats because of its cholesterol-lowering and antidiabetic effects. The β-glucans stimulate the immune system, and thereby have beneficial effect in fighting infections (bacterial, viral, fungal and parasitic). The β-glucans have been demonstrated to be anti-cytotoxic, antimutagenic and anti-tumorogenic, making them promising candidate in the prevention of cancer. (1)
Oats are a rich source of several classes of phytonutrients. These include:
• Alkylresorcinols: a very powerful class of phytonutrients that prevent fat accumulation, have anti-cancer abilities, and function as antioxidants.
• Benzoxazinoids: compounds that exert anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and anti-microbial activities.
• Avenanthramides: a group of antioxidants found almost solely in oats. They may help lower blood pressure levels by increasing the production of nitric oxide, helps dilate blood vessels and leads to better blood flow. In addition, avenanthramides have anti-inflammatory effects.
• Flavonoids: powerful antioxidants that reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, asthma, and stroke. They may also play a special role in protecting the brain.
• Lignans: Rich in the omega-3 fatty acid ALA, lignans improve digestive health, lower blood pressure and bad cholesterol, reduce the risk of cancer and may benefit people with diabetes.
• Phytosterols: These compounds reduce cholesterol levels with decreased risk of coronary heart diseases, and exert anti- inflammatory activities.
It’s no wonder, then, that regular consumption of oatmeal of has been linked to a reduced risk of some major lifestyle diseases, and nutritional scientists have suggested that its complex mixture of phytochemicals works in synergy to generate beneficial health effects.
Across the board scientifically, oatmeal eaters tend to have lower body weights, waist circumferences, and body mass indices. One reason is that oats have a satiating effect on the body – which helps prevent overindulging on fat-producing foods. (2)
Blood Sugar and Insulin Control
A study of men and women found that eating oatmeal and other whole grains such as wheat and rye was significantly associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes. There have been many studies like this, showing conclusively that oatmeal is an excellent way to keep blood sugar and insulin in check. (3)
We read a lot about the importance of healthy bacteria in our gut. It strengthens the body’s overall immune defenses and keeps us healthy – and is involved in weight management. Lately, oatmeal has been shown to have a beneficial effect on healthy bacteria (probiotics) in the gut. In one study, a total of ten healthy subjects ingested 60 grams of oatmeal daily for 1 week. Their probiotic-associated characteristics were assessed before and after the study. At the end of the study, the participants had a healthier and higher population of healthy bacteria in their guts. (4) The main reason, based on other corroborating studies, is the presence of β-glucans in oats. It shows oatmeal should have a significant impact on gut bacterial changes and in turn on human health. (5)
Jazz Up Your Oatmeal, Parrillo-Style
If you like your oatmeal plain, that’s fine. But if you want to change it up a bit, there are endless possibilities you can add to your oats that make them more delicious and even more nutritious each morning. Here are some idea to kick up your oatmeal a notch or two.
Add in CapTri® C8 MCT. Our MCT oil, especially the butter-flavored version, is an excellent addition to oatmeal. It provides additional calories, more energy for training, and fat-burning properties.
Protein-ize Your Oatmeal. Stir in any of our protein powders to “soup up” your oatmeal. Oatmeal is the perfect vehicle for additional protein consumption.
Flavor Oatmeal with “Milk”: The Parrillo Nutrition Program does not recommend milk or dairy of any kind because it tends to be fat-forming and bloat-producing. But if you’re a milk lover, not to worry. Mix up some of our All-Protein Powder™ – Milk flavor, and pour it over your oatmeal. It’s great-tasting that way, plus supplies 30 extra grams of protein to start your day.
Spice It Up. Add spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, apple pie spice, or pumpkin pie spice, all of which give oatmeal a tasty flavor. Cinnamon, in particular, is good because it helps control blood sugar.
There you have it: Fall in love with oatmeal again because it’s an amazing carb with amazing health benefits.
1. Menon, B., et al. 2016. Oats-From Farm to Fork. Advances in Food and Nutrition Research 77: 1-55.
2. Fulgoni, V.L., et al. Oatmeal Consumption is Associated with Better Diet Quality and Lower Body Mass Index in Adults: the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), 2001-2010. Nutrition Research 35: 1052-1059.
3. Kyrø C., et al. 2018. Higher Whole-Grain Intake Is Associated with Lower Risk of Type 2 Diabetes among Middle-Aged Men and Women: The Danish Diet, Cancer, and Health Cohort. The Journal of Nutrition 148: 1434-1444.
4. Valeur, J., et al. 2016. Oatmeal Porridge: Impact on Microflora-Associated Characteristics in Healthy Subjects. British Journal of Nutrition 115: 62-67.
5. Jayachandran, M., et al. 2018. A Critical Review on the Impacts of β-glucans on Gut Microbiota and Human Health. The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry 61: 101-110.