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5 Things That Will Happen When You Eat Oatmeal

5 Things That Will Happen When You Eat Oatmeal

Oatmeal is easy to love. It’s a warm, filling whole grain that is easy to prepare and packs a nutritious punch. You may be wondering, what’s the difference between rolled or steel cut oats? Rolled oats have simply been steamed and rolled-over to flatten before packaging. Steel cut oats, on the other hand, are just oats chopped up into smaller pieces with a sharp blade. Both maintain their whole grain status, so choose the one you like best because they’re both healthful choices!

In fact, a few things will happen if you start eating oatmeal everyday. For example:

1. You’ll manage (or maybe lose!) weight

Oatmeal fills you up so you can make the most of your morning without distracting hunger pangs (or reaching for a donut in the break room). A study comparing a breakfast of oatmeal to cornflakes found that oatmeal leaves the stomach more slowly, keeping hunger at bay longer. In fact, those who ate an oatmeal breakfast consumed less at their next meal for overall fewer calories, especially if they were already overweight. It’s believed that oatmeal’s beta-glucan content attributes to these satiating effects.

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2. Your heart will be healthier

You have probably heard that oatmeal is a heart healthy food — it says so on the packaging — but there is hard science to back that up. Oats offer cholesterol-lowering properties associated with better overall cardiovascular health. Adding just 2 ounces of dry oats (or 1 cup cooked) to a “typical American diet” can offer a beneficial impact on cholesterol levels.

Oatmeal can also help with glycemic control, aka keeping blood sugar levels stable, which is highly relevant for people with diabetes since they’re at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease. As a whole grain food, oatmeal has 26 grams of carbohydrates in a one-cup serving, a great breakfast choice for someone with our without diabetes.

3. Your gut will thank you

An important way to support your gastrointestinal (GI) health is to include prebiotics in your diet. Prebiotics are types of fiber that human intestines can’t digest but that feed the good bacteria in your gut. The beta-glucan found in oatmeal is a great way to keep your friendly gut bacteria happy and healthy.

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In addition to its prebiotic properties, the fiber in oatmeal helps to keep you regular. Cooked oatmeal contains a total of 4 grams of dietary fiber per cup, which adds bulk to the contents of your gut and helps you (ahem) eliminate waste so you don’t feel bloated.

4. You’ll get a nutrient boost

We already touched on oatmeal’s carb content, but what about protein and fat? Oatmeal is low in fat (only 2 grams per cup) and virtually saturated fat free. Surprisingly, one cup of oatmeal has 5 grams of protein! It’s also packed with micronutrients, including copper, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, selenium and zinc as well as antioxidants. And one cup of oatmeal will only set you back 143 calories (before you add toppings).

Enjoying oatmeal in the morning will set you up to make great choices throughout the day.

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5. You’ll never have a boring breakfast again

Your body thrives on a variety of foods, and oatmeal is the perfect blank canvas to mix-up your breakfast routine with different toppings. You may like to prepare oatmeal each morning, but you can also make a large pot for the week ahead and portion out a serving to reheat each day. (I recommend adding a bit more milk or water before microwaving for a minute.)

Ideas to flavor your new morning regimen:

  • Throw in some fruit slices (fresh, frozen or canned works great!) are always a good idea (try apples, strawberries, kiwi)
  • Stir in a spoonful of pumpkin puree and sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon
  • Top oats with a drizzle of honey and a few nuts or seeds
  • Add chopped dried mango and coconut flakes for tropical oatmeal
  • Use applesauce to sweeten, then toss in a few raisins
  • Soak rolled oats overnight in milk, top with peanut butter and banana in the morning and enjoy chilled or reheated

Oatmeal is truly a delicious and nutritious breakfast or snack option you should feel good about. So, try to incorporate it into your meals and reap the benefits of this “whole”-some food!

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Kelda Reimers, Dietetic Intern at the University of Maryland, College Park contributed to this piece.

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How to Keep Yourself Awake at Work Without Caffeine

How to Keep Yourself Awake at Work Without Caffeine

Keeping yourself awake at work can be a real challenge when you’re bored, exhausted or sleep-deprived.

But before you reach for that can of Red Bull, bottle of Mountain Dew, or pot of coffee, try these healthy remedies to stimulate your 5 different senses and help you stay awake at work:

Sight – Visual Stimulation

The first thing you do when you wake up is opening your eyes, so your visual stimulation is very important to keeping your energy level high.

1. Maximize your exposure to light.

Your body’s internal rhythm is regulated by the amount of light you receive. The greater your exposure, the more alert you will feel.

Open the shades and let in the sunlight. Step outside or look out the window. Turn on all the artificial lights in your office or around your work space.

2. Exercise your eyes (or give them a break).

Roll your eyes up and down, side to side and diagonally. Rotate them clockwise and then counterclockwise. Squeeze them shut and then open them wide. Do this several times.

Reading and sitting in front of a computer screen for long periods can lead to eye fatigue.

Take regular breaks with deliberate blinking and looking out into the distance.

3. Take note of your environment.

Learn to enjoy people-watching. Observe their activities, speech, body language and interactions with others. Notice the details of building, trees and other objects around you, including their color, shape and size.

By doing this, you’re not only relaxing your eye muscles but also calming your mind.

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Hearing – Auditory Stimulation

What you hear or listen to have direct effect on your brain. This is why we feel so annoyed and sometimes angry when we hear construction noise when we’re working.

4. Engage in conversation.

Talk to a friend or colleague. Trade funny stories. Discuss your business venture, a creative idea, the latest political scandal, or any other topic that interests you.

Practice mindful listening to what you and the other person are saying. Tune into the tone, volume and content of the conversation.

Learn how to practice better listening from this guide:

Why Listen to Reply Instead of Understand Is the Key to Failure

5. Listen to upbeat music.

Try hip hop, rock or jazz to keep you alert. Instrumental, non-distracting music works best.

Sing, whistle, and hum along if you can. Plug in the earphones if you must.

Smell – Olfactory Stimulation

If you’re feeling sleepy and suddenly smell the coffee, you’ll probably feel more energetic. This is why smell is an influential stimulation.

6. Work your nose.

Aroma therapists recommend essential oils of peppermint (to boost energy), rosemary (to build awareness), eucalyptus (to increase oxygen), cedarwood  (to activate your mind), and cinnamon (to improve your reaction time).

If you don’t have essential oils on hand, you can use lotions or burning candles that provide the same scents.

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Citrus like lemons, limes, grapefruits and oranges are also natural olfactory stimulants. Get a whiff of these citrus scents to stay awake.

Taste – Gustatory Stimulation

If you want an energetic day at work, you can’t let your tongue feeling plain and flavorless.

7. Have a good breakfast.

Start off with the most important meal of the day.

Think fresh, light and healthy: bran cereals, wholegrain breads, fruits, and yogurt.

Nix the heavy stuff like sausages, greasy eggs or pancakes.

Need some breakfasts inspirations? Check out these ideas:

20 Healthy Breakfast Choices That Will Save You Time

8. Drink lots of water.

Keep a glass or bottle of H2O near you and sip from it throughout the day. Dehydration can leave you feeling tired, sluggish and sleepy.

So make sure you drink enough water throughout the day. Not sure how much to drink? This can help you:

How Much Water Should You Drink Each Day (and How Much Is Too Much for You)

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Think that you’ve been drinking too little water? Try these friendly reminders:

3 Best Apps To Help You Drink Much More Water

9. Eat energy-boosting snacks.

Nuts and fruits (like bananas, apples and strawberries) are sure bets. Pairings with staying power include baby carrots with a low-fat cream cheese dip; celery sticks with peanut butter; red peppers with hummus; and plain yogurt with granola.

Avoid carb-filled, sugary snacks that make you crash and leave you feeling tired.

Here you can find some healthy snack ideas:

25 Healthy Snack Recipes To Make Your Workday More Productive

Touch – Tactile Stimulation

Last but not least, your sense of touch will make you physically feel more energetic and less stressful.

10. Splash cold water on your face.

Do this in the morning, during bathroom breaks and in the afternoon. Being exposed to cold water pushes your body to adjust and regulate its internal temperature, which in turn keeps you alert.

This works the same as you take a cold shower to increase mood and alertness. Take a look at this article to learn more about it:

5 Surprising Benefits of Cold Showers

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11. Use acupressure.

Apply pressure to, massage, or tap on the stimulation points of your body. These include the top of your head, the back of your neck, the back of your hand (between the thumb and index finger), just below the knee and your earlobes.

Watch this video to learn about the acupressure points you can try:

12. Get moving.

Move away from your chair and stand, walk, run or climb the stairs. Feel the earth under your feet. Stretch and twist. Do jumping jacks, lunges, push-ups and back bends.

And if you need to move more discreetly, wiggle your feet, bounce your knee up and down, scrunch your toes, or cross your legs.

You can also try some simple stretches and exercises at your desk:

Unlike addictive caffeine fixes, these remedies activate your senses, engage your attention, amp up your energy and prevent morning grogginess and afternoon slumps without the side effects or health risks.

Pick a few ways from this list of suggestions and practice them consistently. And when you do this consistently, you’ll soon see the positive results — a more energetic and productive you at work.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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