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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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Last Updated on March 25, 2020

How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

When it comes to living long, genes aren’t everything. Research has revealed a number of simple lifestyle changes you can make that could help to extend your life, and some of them may surprise you.

So, how to live longer? Here are 21 ways to help you live a long life

1. Exercise

It’s no secret that physical activity is good for you. Exercise helps you maintain a healthy body weight and lowers your blood pressure, both of which contribute to heart health and a reduced risk of heart disease–the top worldwide cause of death.

2. Drink in Moderation

I know you’re probably picturing a glass of red wine right now, but recent research suggests that indulging in one to three glasses of any type of alcohol every day may help to increase longevity.[1] Studies have found that heavy drinkers as well as abstainers seem to have a higher risk of early mortality than moderate drinkers.

3. Reduce Stress in Your Life

Stress causes your body to release a hormone called cortisol. At high levels, this hormone can increase blood pressure and cause storage of abdominal fat, both of which can lead to an increased risk of heart disease.

4. Watch Less Television

A 2008 study found that people who watch six hours of television per day will likely die an average of 4.8 years earlier than those who don’t.[2] It also found that, after the age of 25, every hour of television watched decreases life expectancy by 22 minutes.

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Television promotes inactivity and disengagement from the world, both of which can shorten your lifespan.

5. Eat Less Red Meat

Red meat consumption is linked to an increased risk of heart disease and cancer.[3] Swapping out your steaks for healthy proteins, like fish, may help to increase longevity.

If you can’t stand the idea of a steak-free life, reducing your consumption to less than two to three servings a week can still incur health benefits.

6. Don’t Smoke

This isn’t exactly a revelation. As you probably well know, smoking significantly increases your risk of cancer.

7. Socialize

Studies suggest that having social relationships promotes longevity.[4] Although scientists are unsure of the reasons behind this, they speculate that socializing leads to increased self esteem as well as peer pressure to maintain health.

8. Eat Foods Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids decrease the risk of heart disease[5] and perhaps even Alzheimer’s disease.[6] Salmon and walnuts are two of the best sources of Omega-3s.

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9. Be Optimistic

Studies suggest that optimists are at a lower risk for heart disease and, generally, live longer than pessimists.[7] Researchers speculate that optimists have a healthier approach to life in general–exercising more, socializing, and actively seeking out medical advice. Thus, their risk of early mortality is lower.

10. Own a Pet

Having a furry-friend leads to decreased stress, increased immunity, and a lessened risk of heart disease.[8] Depending on the type of pet, they can also motivate you to be more active.

11. Drink Coffee

Studies have found a link between coffee consumption and longer life.[9] Although the reasons for this aren’t entirely clear, coffee’s high levels of antioxidants may play a role. Remember, though, drowning your cup of joe in sugar and whipped cream could counter whatever health benefits it may hold.

12. Eat Less

Japan has the longest average lifespan in the world, and the longest lived of the Japanese–the natives of the Ryukyu Islands–stop eating when they’re 80% full. Limiting your calorie intake means lower overall stress on the body.

13. Meditate

Meditation leads to stress reduction and lowered blood pressure.[10] Research suggests that it could also increase the activity of an enzyme associated with longevity.[11]

Taking as little as 15 minutes a day to find your zen can have significant health benefits, and may even extend your life.

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How to meditate? Here’re 8 Meditation Techniques for Complete Beginners

14. Maintain a Healthy Weight

Being overweight puts stress on your cardiovascular system, increasing your risk of heart disease.[12] It may also increase the risk of cancer.[13] Maintaining a healthy weight is important for heart health and living a long and healthy life.

15. Laugh Often

Laughter reduces the levels of stress hormones, like cortisol, in your body. High levels of these hormones can weaken your immune system.

16. Don’t Spend Too Much Time in the Sun

Too much time in the sun can lead to an increased risk of skin cancer. However, sun exposure is an excellent way to increase levels of vitamin D, so soaking up a few rays–perhaps for around 15 minutes a day–can be healthy. The key is moderation.

17. Cook Your Own Food

When you eat at restaurants, you surrender control over your diet. Even salads tend to have a large number of additives, from sugar to saturated fats. Eating at home will enable you to monitor your food intake and ensure a healthy diet.

Take a look at these 14 Healthy Easy Recipes for People on the Go and start to cook your own food.

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18. Eat Mushrooms

Mushrooms are a central ingredient in Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s GOMBS disease fighting diet. They boost the immune system and may even reduce the risk of cancer.[14]

19. Floss

Flossing helps to stave off gum disease, which is linked to an increased risk of cancer.[15]

20. Eat Foods Rich in Antioxidants

Antioxidants fight against the harmful effects of free-radicals, toxins which can cause cell damage and an increased risk of disease when they accumulate in the body. Berries, green tea and broccoli are three excellent sources of antioxidants.

Find out more antiosidants-rich foods here: 13 Delicious Antioxidant Foods That Are Great for Your Health

21. Have Sex

Getting down and dirty two to three times a week can have significant health benefits. Sex burns calories, decreases stress, improves sleep, and may even protect against heart disease.[16] It’s an easy and effective way to get exercise–so love long and prosper!

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Featured photo credit: Sweethearts/Patrick via flickr.com

Reference

[1] Wiley Online Library: Late‐Life Alcohol Consumption and 20‐Year Mortality
[2] BMJ Journals: Television viewing time and reduced life expectancy: a life table analysis
[3] Arch Intern Med.: Red Meat Consumption and Mortality
[4] PLOS Medicine: Social Relationships and Mortality Risk: A Meta-analytic Review
[5] JAMA: Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acid Intake and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in Women
[6] NCBI: Effects of Omega‐3 Fatty Acids on Cognitive Function with Aging, Dementia, and Neurological Diseases: Summary
[7] Mayo Clinic Proc: Prediction of all-cause mortality by the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory Optimism-Pessimism Scale scores: study of a college sample during a 40-year follow-up period.
[8] Med Hypotheses.: Pet ownership protects against the risks and consequences of coronary heart disease.
[9] The New England Journal of Medicine: Association of Coffee Drinking with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality
[10] American Journal of Hypertension: Blood Pressure Response to Transcendental Meditation: A Meta-analysis
[11] Science Direct: Intensive meditation training, immune cell telomerase activity, and psychological mediators
[12] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
[13] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
[14] African Journal of Biotechnology: Anti-cancer effect of polysaccharides isolated from higher basidiomycetes mushrooms
[15] Science Direct: Periodontal disease, tooth loss, and cancer risk in male health professionals: a prospective cohort study
[16] AHA Journals: Sexual Activity and Cardiovascular Disease

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