Eating for Your Health: Oats

Eating for Your Health:  Oats

Eating oatmeal is one of the things my husband and I have been doing to improve our diet.  His diabetes has gotten much worse it in the last few weeks and oats are one of the few starches that actually may help diabetes.  I knew that oats were recommended, but I really didn’t know why, so I Googled it, and it turns out that they have actually been shown to reduce the amount of insulin taken by those with Type 2 Diabetes.  And, that is certainly not the only health benefit of oats.  They may also reduce the risk of asthma in children, help control appetite, reduce bad cholesterol, control appetite and high blood pressure, and improve the immune system.

Oats by themselves are gluten-free for those that can’t tolerate gluten, but be careful.  Most oats are not considered gluten-free due to contamination during processing and packaging.  However, non-contaminated oats are available.  Just look for gluten-free on the label.

Oats are also a good source of fiber and protein and contain manganese, molybdenum, phosphorus, copper, biotin, vitamin B1, magnesium, chromium, and zinc.  

Many times we make our oatmeal unhealthy by adding a lot of fat and sugar to it.  So, here are some tips to give your oatmeal some flavor without making it unhealthy.

1.  Use sweetener sparingly or better yet, add fruit or spreadable fruit (like the oatmeal pictured above.  Even a little unsweetened dried fruit, which has a high natural sugar content, is going to be better for you than white sugar because of the fiber that comes with it.

2.  If it is butter you are craving, and you use salted butter, it is probably really the salt you are craving.  So, if salt is ok on your diet, add a pinch and leave the butter out.

3.  I you are used to topping it with a bit of cream, cook it in non-fat milk instead of water to add creaminess without fat.

 

Sources:  Whole Grains Council

                   The World’s Healthiest Foods

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