Is oatmeal healthy? The pros and cons of this popular breakfast food are debated by nutrition experts. Some say that oatmeal is a nutritious way to start the day, while others believe that it can be high in sugar and calories.
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Whether you’re looking to start your day with a hearty bowl of oats or simply want to add some whole grains to your diet, you may be wondering if oatmeal is a healthy choice. After all, it is a fairly simple food made from whole grains, and it does have some impressive health benefits. However, there are also some potential drawbacks to consider.
Here’s a look at the pros and cons of oatmeal to help you decide if it’s the right choice for you.
Whole grains like oats are linked to various health benefits, including improved heart health and stronger immunity. Oats are also a good source of fiber, which can promote gut health and regularity. Additionally, oats contain vitamins and minerals like iron and magnesium.
One cup (80 grams) of dry oats contains (1): 7 grams of protein 4 grams of fiber 66% of the Daily Value (DV) for manganese 26% of the DV for phosphorus 51% of the DV for magnesium 34% of the DV for zinc 8% of the DV for iron Some types of oats also provide small amounts of other nutrients, such as calcium, potassium and vitamin B1 (thiamin).
The Pros of Eating Oatmeal
When it comes to breakfast foods, oatmeal is about as wholesome as it gets. It’s packed with fiber, protein, and minerals, and it’s relatively low in calories. Oatmeal can also be a good choice for people with diabetes, because it has a low glycemic index and can help regulate blood sugar levels.
There are a few different types of oatmeal to choose from: quick-cooking, old-fashioned (also called rolled oats), steel-cut, and instant. All types of oatmeal are healthy, but some are more processed than others. Quick-cooking oats are the most processed; they’re cut into smaller pieces and steamed before being rolled flat. Old-fashioned oats are less processed; they’re simply steamed and then rolled flat. Steel-cut oats are the least processed; they’re chopped into small pieces but not steamed or rolled flat. Instant oats are pre-cooked and then dried, so they cook more quickly than other types of oatmeal.
No matter which type of oatmeal you choose, you’ll get a hearty breakfast that will keep you full until lunchtime. Oats contain beta-glucan, a type of soluble fiber that slows down digestion and makes you feel fuller for longer. And because oats have a low glycemic index, they don’t cause dramatic spikes in blood sugar levels like some other breakfast foods can.
In addition to being filling and low in calories, oatmeal is also packed with nutrients that your body needs. Just one cup of cooked oats contains:
4 grams of fiber
7 grams of protein
15% of the Daily Value (DV) for manganese
26% DV for phosphorus
24% DV for magnesium
51% DV for selenium
The Cons of Eating Oatmeal
There are a few potential cons to eating oatmeal, particularly if you are eating too much of it or if you have certain medical conditions.
-Oats contain phytic acid, which can bind to minerals like iron and zinc and prevent their absorption. This isn’t a concern if you’re eating a balanced diet, but if you’re not getting enough other nutrients, it could be problematic.
-Oats also contain avenin, a protein that can cause digestive problems in some people who are sensitive to it. If you have celiac disease or another condition that affects your ability to digest gluten, you may need to avoid avenin as well.
-Finally, some people find that oats can cause bloating and gas. If this is a problem for you, try soaking your oats overnight or cooking them with less water to reduce the issue.
The Bottom Line
Oatmeal is a very nutritious food and can be a part of a healthy diet. However, some people may want to avoid it if they are sensitive to gluten or have other medical conditions.