In our ever growing quest to find healthy options for shedding a few pounds, an old breakfast food might just be the newest weight loss trick.
Since the late 1800’s, oatmeal has been a commercialized food in America. Prior to that, oatmeal dates back thousands of years as a popular food staple of the British Isles.
In the last couple of years, oatmeal has gained traction as a solid weight loss option. And, it’s partly due to popular outlets like Dr. Oz endorsing the following amazing benefits of oatmeal:
1. Full of Fiber
Oatmeal is an excellent source of fiber. Specifically, it contains the soluble fiber beta-glucan which dissolves in water and forms a gel-like solution in the gut. Beta-glucan is known to have the following health benefits:
- Lowers bad cholesterol levels
- Reduces blood sugar levels
- Increases good bacteria growth
- Makes you feel full, so you don’t eat a lot
2. Fills You Up
As mentioned, high-fiber foods fill you up. They allow you to go for longer periods throughout the day without feeling like you are starving.
Additionally, it means you won’t find yourself snacking on foods in-between meals. Oatmeal is considered a natural way to control your appetite. (1)
3. Promotes the Release of PYY
PYY, also known as peptide YY, is a hormone produced in the gut and released by cells in the colon and small intestine. It’s considered one of a handful of satiety hormones that can help you feel less hungry.
4. Slow to Digest
Oatmeal is a complex-carb with a healthy dose of fiber. The combination of the two means that it takes the stomach longer to digest them.
This prolonged digestive period goes a long way to reducing and maintaining healthy blood sugar levels. (4)
Excessive levels of sugar in the body can lead to unwanted fat storage and an increase in bodyweight. Due to its ability to lower blood sugar levels, oatmeal is considered an ideal food choice for people with Type 2 diabetes and for those who are already overweight. (5)
5. Can Relieve Constipation
Multiple studies have discovered that oat bran, which is found in oatmeal, can aid in treating constipation for older adults. (6)
Constipation can become a barrier to your weight loss efforts as it negatively affects your digestion, causes inflammation in the intestines, and reabsorbs wastes. (7)
It also disrupts your regular bowel movements. Since oatmeal is high in fiber, it can aid in relieving constipation, get you back on track with healthy bowel movements and lower your daily weight by a few pounds. (8)
6. Plenty of Vitamins and Minerals
When dieting, it’s easy for people to miss out on essential vitamins and minerals. However, it’s very important to maintain an optimal vitamin and mineral intake so that your body can function at a high level during a caloric deficit period.
Additionally, a lack of these nutrients can negatively affect your weight loss efforts. For example, a lack of magnesium can decrease your energy level, not enough B vitamins can slow down your metabolism, and a lack of iron can have a detrimental impact on muscular health.
Fortunately, in just a ½ cup of oatmeal, you can get all of these vitamins and minerals:
- Vitamin B1 and B5
7. Easy to Customize
One of the great things about oatmeal is that you can customize it to your tastes. For example, cut up some bananas and put them on top. Or, you can eat your oatmeal with some egg whites.
Oatmeal is like a blank canvas that you can creatively express yourself based on your taste buds or cravings. Another option would be to throw some of your dried oatmeal into a fruit smoothie or protein shake.
Now, you are getting a full dosage of healthy carbs and protein anytime during the day. And, let’s be honest here, if we were eating the same thing over and over then the odds of us maintaining a diet would be very slim.
8. Perfect for Calorie Counters
If you are on a strict diet, where you have to count every single calorie, then oatmeal is a perfect choice. Most commercial oatmeal brands are low in calories, with an estimated 150 calories per serving.
Despite being so calorically low, oatmeal is still packed with all of those much needed vitamins and minerals. No matter what meal of the day, or how strict your diet is, oatmeal will meet just about any caloric restrictions.
Additional Health Benefits
In addition to weight loss, and other benefits listed above, oatmeal has the following additional health benefits:
- Is high in antioxidants (9)
- Can help to lower blood pressure
- Improves blood flow (10)
- Is anti-inflammatory (11)
- A fantastic at-home remedy to relieve itching (12)
- Helps to improve insulin sensitivity (13)
- Has been used to treat eczema symptoms (14)
- Decreases the risk of childhood asthma (15)
Oatmeal is a Weight Loss Superfood
After learning about all of these health benefits, it’s hard to view oatmeal as anything less than a superfood for weight loss and health. Not only can you control your appetite, while consuming less calories, but oatmeal basically transforms your body into a well-oiled machine.
If you are trying to lose weight, then we highly recommend you include oatmeal into your diet. Start your day off with a bowl of hot oatmeal and you will definitely make it to lunch without munching on those cookies or chips hiding in the back of your cupboards.