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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 January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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