"What's the best breakfast?" people often ask me. Expecting that I might say eggs or whole wheat toast, I say this, "Oatmeal. It's not just for breakfast anymore."

According to Quaker Oats, the average American eats 15 bowls of oatmeal each year. Quaker Man might think that’s ok, but I think that it’s awful! When I consider oatmeal’s potential for lowering body weight, blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels, I get on my soap box and scream.

I might shout, “Oatmeal is high in fiber and essential nutrients! It has impressive health benefits! Oatmeal deserves its place, not only in your morning routine, but at any time during the day!”

That's right. Any time of day.

While some folks turn their noses up at the thought of eating oatmeal for lunch or dinner, it’s a great idea!

How many times have you struggled to dream up an idea for dinner? Why not serve oatmeal? Oatmeal can be quick to prepare, delicious, and satisfying. It can lower your blood sugar and blood pressure almost immediately. And it can help to clean out your arteries and slim you down overnight!

Add to it what you will -- berries, bananas, a handful or nuts or seeds, or even something savory like green onions, cilantro, sliced avocado, or spinach. Think of oatmeal as your grain, as in rice or quinoa.

SAVORY VEGAN OATMEAL WITH MUSHROOMS, KALE AND AVOCADO Recipe from savorykitchen.comClick for recipe. Courtesy crowdedkitchen.com

You’ll get quite the opposite result with chicken breast and mashed potatoes. These can add pounds to your middle and drive your numbers in the wrong direction.

Here are some convincing reasons why you should eat oatmeal for breakfast, lunch, AND dinner--

A Fiber Powerhouse. One of the most significant benefits of oatmeal is its high fiber content.  Beta-glucan is a unique kind of fiber that gives oatmeal its power to do good things in the body. Eating fiber is good for your digestion. It keeps you from getting constipated. It also helps the good bacteria in your gut. Oatmeal can also help improve fatty liver. Be sure to drink more water as you include more fiber in your diet.

A Nutrient-Rich Bowl. Oatmeal contains the perfect combination of amino acids for mucle building and maintenance. It boasts the right amount of essential fatty acids for bolstering brain health. And oatmeal has vitamin E, B vitamins, iron, magnesium, and zinc. These nutrients are critical for making energy and supporting the immune system.

Here are the nutrition facts for a cup of steel cuts cooked oatmeal. You'll see that oats are high in fiber, low in fat. Click on the picture to enlarge. Courtesy of MyNet Diary.
Nutrition facts for steel cut oats
Aids in Weight Loss. If shedding those extra pounds is on your agenda, oatmeal can be your secret weapon. Oatmeal's fiber keeps you full and prevents snacking. In a study, people who ate 200 calories of oatmeal every day for 30 days lost 4 pounds. The weight loss lasted for a year as they continued to eat oatmeal.

Blood Sugar Success. People with diabetes have been using oatmeal to lower blood sugar for a hundred years. Before the discovery of insulin in 1921, doctors used to prescribe an oatmeal diet to lower blood sugar. Oatmeal's soluble fiber slows carbohydrate absorption and stabilizes blood sugar levels.

Heart-Healthy Goodness. Taking care of your heart is essential for well-being. It can play a vital role in maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system. Studies show that beta-glucan lowers LDL cholesterol. LDL levels less than 80 mg/dL reduce the risk for heart attack and stroke. Oatmeal's potassium content also assists in maintaining normal blood pressure levels.

Which Oats are Best? When it comes to oatmeal and other grains, choose the grainiest ones you can find. Steel cut oats are best. They have more fiber and nutrients than rolled oats do. 

Rolled oats should be your second choice for oats if steel cut are not available, and quick oats should be your last. Of course, quick oats beat out Cheerios every time.

To save time, soak your oats during the day while you're at the office or overnight while you sleep. 
See the recipe below for Overnight Oats.

Because steel cut oats have more fiber, they need more time to cook or soak. To reduce the calorie content, use water for cooking and soaking. For extra benefit, sprinkle some cinnamon on top of your oatmeal. Research has shown that cinnamon accelerates weight loss and reduces blood sugar levels. Also, add berries or another kind of fruit to boost the fiber and antioxidant value. 

Oatmeal. It's not just for breakfast anymore.

Here's the recipe for Overnight Oats that I promised...

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Mar;68(1):18-23. doi: 10.1007/s11130-013-0336-2. PMID: 23371785.
Li X, Cai X, Ma X, Jing L, Gu J, Bao L, Li J, Xu M, Zhang Z, Li Y. Short- and Long-Term Effects of
Wholegrain Oat Intake on Weight Management and Glucolipid Metabolism in Overweight
Type-2 Diabetics: A Randomized Control Trial. Nutrients. 2016 Sep 7;8(9):549. doi: 10.3390/
nu8090549. PMID: 27618090; PMCID: PMC5037534.
Keenan JM, Pins JJ, Frazel C, Moran A, Turnquist L. Oat ingestion reduces systolic and diastolic
blood pressure in patients with mild or borderline hypertension: a pilot trial. J Fam Pract. 2002
Apr;51(4):369. PMID: 11978262.
Mousavi SM, Rahmani J, Kord-Varkaneh H, Sheikhi A, Larijani B, Esmaillzadeh A. Cinnamon
supplementation positively affects obesity: A systematic review and dose-response metaanalysis
of randomized controlled trials. Clin Nutr. 2020 Jan;39(1):123-133. doi: 10.1016/j.
clnu.2019.02.017. Epub 2019 Feb 15. PMID: 30799194.


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