The Surprising Health Benefits of Oatmeal

The Surprising Health Benefits of Oatmeal

Some foods pack a powerful punch when it comes to boosting your immune system and health. It turns out that scientifically, good old-fashioned oatmeal is one of them.

Oats are rich in fiber that helps lower cholesterol, high-quality protein, and are chock full of essential minerals and antioxidants to keep you healthy. They are among the healthiest grains on earth, say experts.

According to Eat This, Not That!, oatmeal contains a type of fiber called beta-glucans that our bodies do not manufacture. These beta-glucans support immune health by stimulating white blood cells to ward off disease. A 2003 study showed that beta-glucans taken from oats helped stave off staph infections, pneumonia, as well as heart valve and bone infections. The experts at Eat This, Not That! recommend consuming steel cut oats which have much more fiber than the rolled, quick-cooking variety.

Fiber also helps fill you up faster, so having a cup of oatmeal that has only 150 calories per cup, can satisfy your hunger for a longer period of time, and may help you lose weight.

Oatmeal contains arginine, an important amino acid. Arginine helps regulate blood flow and heal injuries. But it also boosts the immune system by encouraging the production of T cells that fight disease, especially cancer. Arginine makes our T cells more effective.

Zinc, as we know, has a potent effect on the immune system, and oatmeal supplies 21% of the daily recommended intake of this important mineral, says Eat This, Not That! Low levels of zinc have been linked to an increased risk of pneumonia and other infections both in kids and seniors.

Oats are rich in antioxidants, according to Healthline. They contain plant compounds called polyphenols that can help reduce blood pressure. In addition, oats are one of the few foods that contain avenanthramides that have an anti-inflammatory and anti-itching effect.

Since heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide, it is important to keep cholesterol levels in check. Consuming oatmeal is one proven method of lowering cholesterol. Thanks to the beta-glucan fiber, oatmeal not only reduces total cholesterol levels but also lowers the LDL cholesterol.

There is good news for people who have type 2 diabetes or may be at risk for the disease. Oats may help lower blood sugar levels, says Healthline, especially for those who are overweight, and may improve insulin resistance.

The iron in oatmeal helps your immune system fight invading bacteria. According to Eat This, Not That!  1 cup of oats contains 19% of the recommended daily amount of iron which also plays a key role in many bodily functions. It is particularly important for those who do not eat meat to help ensure they get enough iron in their daily diet.

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