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Amazing Benefits Of Oats (+5 Refreshing Recipes)

Amazing Benefits Of Oats (+5 Refreshing Recipes)

When most people think of oats, they may first picture something less than appetizing: instant oatmeal, flavorless granola, or bland “diet” food. If this all you think of, you are definitely doing it wrong. With the right recipe, oats are not only delicious and easy to prepare, but they also provide incredible health benefits. Check out five proven health benefits of oats that will convince you to give this classic ingredient another chance.

1. Oats lower your levels of bad cholesterol.

Oats have about a 5% concentration of beta-glucans, a naturally occurring type of dietary fiber. Scientific studies about foods with high beta-glucans have shown that they keep your intestines from absorbing too much LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, promote healthy liver function, and turn your gut bacteria into fatty acids that contribute to a healthy cholesterol level. Most people don’t know that steel-cut oats are the best kind of oats to eat to get these LDL cholesterol-lowering effects.

2. Oats reduce heart attacks, strokes, and hypertension.

Oats contain a high amount of magnesium, an important mineral in hundreds of processes in the body. Magnesium can lower instances of heart attack and stroke by promoting normal blood flow and a healthy blood pressure level. A 2002 study indicates that eating whole oat cereals every day reduces both systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels and improves the body’s insulin response in just six weeks.

3. Oats provide a healthy, plant-based source of protein.

Compared to other grains, oats provide the healthiest balance of proteins, fatty acids, and amino acids. In fact, just one half-cup serving of oats can provide almost 15% of your daily protein needs. Oats are a wonderful way to be sure you get enough protein, particularly for vegetarians and vegans. With 2015 research indicating that red meat causes cancer, oats are the perfect protein alternative for anyone who wants to be healthier.

4. Oats can help you lose weight.

Did you know that oats have more fiber than any other grain? The high soluble fiber content of oats aids in the digestion process and helps you feel more full. A recent study on satiety—the feeling of being full—reveals that oats, specifically in the form of oatmeal, make people feel significantly fuller than other types of foods. This longer-lasting feeling of fullness helps dieters consume fewer calories overall. And the best part? You get all the other health benefits of oats, too!

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5. Oats lower the risk for certain types of cancer.

Several studies have connected diets high in natural fiber with lower rates of colorectal cancer. Researchers have found that people who regularly eat fiber-rich foods have a lower rate of developing colorectal tumors. Though science has not yet definitively proven that fibrous foods prevent colorectal cancer, it is clear that foods like oats contribute to a healthier colon. Because they help with weight maintenance and loss, high-fiber foods like oats lower the risk of cancers that are associated with obesity.

Easy Ways to Incorporate the Benefits of Oats into Your Diet

Now that you know the proven health benefits of oats, you may be wondering how you can add them into your diet. With the five recipes below, you can easily add a healthy serving of oats into your daily routine. Adjust the ingredient amounts as necessary, or make extra to share with friends and family.

Oat bran muffins

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    Required ingredients: oat bran, brown sugar, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, eggs, applesauce, vegetable oil

    These muffins are effortless to make, and the applesauce adds a hint of natural sweetness. Blend all of the ingredients together and bake in a muffin pan for 15 minutes. Mix in cinnamon or nutmeg, or add them to the top right before baking, for a spiced twist.

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    Sunshine morning muesli

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      Required ingredients: rolled oats, oat bran, dried fruit and nuts of your choice, cinnamon, yogurt, milk

      For those who may not like to bake, here’s an easy and healthful recipe for breakfast. Mix together the yogurt, oats, oat bran, dried fruits, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Place in the fridge overnight. Before eating, pour a small amount of milk over your bowl, and add any nuts or seeds you like.

      Healthy banana cookies

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        Required ingredients: rolled oats, bananas, dates, vegetable oil, vanilla extract

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        This recipe takes less than an hour, and the cookies are a healthy alternative to a sugar-rich dessert. While the oven is heating, mash the bananas with the other ingredients. Use a spoon to place drops on a cookie sheet, and bake for 20 minutes.

        Light oat bread

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          Required ingredients: water, margarine or butter, salt, flour, rolled oats, brown sugar, active dry yeast

          If you have a bread machine, this recipe is a breeze. Simply add the ingredients to your machine’s bread pan according to the manufacturer’s recommended instructions. Cook the bread on the light setting, and enjoy!

          Slow cooker oats

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          Slow Cooker Oats pic
            Required ingredients:

            steel oats, water, peeled and chopped apples, raisins, butter, cinnamon, brown sugar, vanilla extract

            This is an incredibly easy recipe, so it’s great for people on the go. Just throw all the ingredients into the slow cooker and cook on low for six to eight hours. For extra nutrition, add your favorite fruit right before eating. The steel-cut oats make this recipe especially heart-healthy.

            Craving more healthy recipes? Add some oats to these five smoothie recipes for an extra health boost!

            Photo credits: Steel cut oats, banana oat bars, banana oat blueberry biscuits, breakfast porridge, no knead oat bread! via Flickr

            Featured photo credit: Vladislav Nosik via shutterstock.com

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            Last Updated on July 8, 2020

            18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

            18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

            The act of writing in a journal often seems daunting or unnecessary to many people. Even authors who work on novels might shun the idea of daily diaries. What purpose does jotting down words on a regular basis do if not contributing to the next novel, play or song? I know from experience many benefits of journaling that I wish to share.

            1. Understand Yourself Better

            Though many people and even writers avoid keeping journals, I vow to do it more often. Not only do I desire to take up daily journaling but also I plan to do it with pen to paper.

            Some of the benefits I’ve found from my more active days include finding myself in the sense of understanding what matters to me and what I want out of life. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to find a spouse who is my best friend and advocate in raising children. I attribute this and much more to what I learned about myself in keeping journals for years.

            2. Keep Track of Small Changes

            I’ll admit that I never got very far with my guitar lessons, but in writing in a journal, I have seen the ability to track small changes like those that come when you practice anything.

            Those learning a musical instrument often fail to see the small improvements that come with regular practice. Writing won’t help you switch chords any faster, but it will help you to develop a better sense for language and grammar just by doing it.

            3. Become Aware of What Matters

            As you continue to write in a journal, following a stream-of-consciousness feel, you can look back on the topics that you chose to write about. Those issues and emotions that poured out of you will provide insight on to what matters most to you.

            You may not even realize that you’re job is depressing you or that you want to spend more time with your kids until you look over your thoughts that you weren’t really thinking about.

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            4. Boost Creativity

            The idea that the brain and its neural activity across hemispheres encourages learning also shows up in increased creativity. Just like with learning an instrument, your increased activity will inspire your thoughts to connect and reconnect in different ways.

            When I wrote in a journal, I often wrote poetry as well as just my thoughts as they came out. I started to hear poems more in my mind; so much so that I took to scrawling lines on napkins and finding metaphors in mundane activities.

            You really are what you do, so writing helps grow more than being a writer. Writing boosts the way you communicate and structure language, which really is a creative process.

            5. Represents Your Emotions in a Safe Environment

            A journal is as private as it gets. You can lock it in a safe or tuck it under a pillow and no one will accidentally share it on social media or have an opportunity to “leave a comment.”

            Write about your sorrow as much as your happiness and frustration and know that you don’t have to keep your emotions inside your body. You can put them on paper.

            6. Process Life Experiences

            When you take the time to look back over what you’ve written, be it a week or a year later, you will have the distance you need to more objectively interpret your raw feelings.

            Everything from losing a job to losing a loved one can emerge in a new light for a fresh perspective. Figuring out how the benefits of journaling affect your perspective on life will create connection and increase creativity.

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            7. Stress Relief

            In combining the exercise inherent in fine motor coordination that comes from the act of writing with the emotional release of self expression, those who maintain a journal relieve stress.

            Try it out. Go home and write about your day. Write about the traffic. Write about the coffee order the barista got wrong but you didn’t have time to change. See how you can physically purge some of that pent-up stress by putting it on paper.

            8. Provide Direction

            Though journaling is often conducted as an activity without much direction, it often provides direction.

            One of the biggest benefits of journaling is that your chaotic thoughts merge to show a direction in which to head. Asking the right questions is the only way to achieve the best solutions, so look to your journal to find your way toward your next goal.

            9. Solve Problems

            Just as in practicing math problems, we all get better at finding hidden solutions through the act of processing.

            Think of your next goal as X and solve your life problems by reading your journals as word problems. The benefit of journaling here is that you write, explore and process to recognize and then solve problems.

            When life is too in-your-face, you have to step back to see reality. Living in the moment allows us to write in the moment and use that expression to solve problems.

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            10. Find Relief From Fighting

            Solving your problems only comes after time to process, recognize and strategize. Just as in the benefit of journaling where relief comes from the act of writing, relief from fighting comes when you decide to “sit this one out” and communicate one-way.

            Fighting is only productive when the fighters care to communicate and find common ground. When the emotions are as high as the stress levels, writing will function as the best time out.

            11. Find Meaning in Life

            Journaling will show you why you are living, whether you are wallowing in things you wish to change or striving to make the changes. Your life will begin to take on new meaning and your own words will reveal the actions that got you where you are so that you can assess and pave a new path for your future.

            12. Allow Yourself to Focus

            Taking even a small amount of time out of every day will provide you with not only peace of mind but also increased focus. Taking a break to meditate in writing and journaling will sharpen your mental faculties.

            13. Sharpen Your Spirituality

            When we write, we allow all the energy and experiences to flow through us, which often provides further insight into our own spirituality. Even if your parents didn’t raise you to follow a specific religion, your thoughts will start to show you what you believe about the universe and your place in it.

            14. Let the Past Go

            I’ve mentioned a few examples where going back over your writing offers advice and direction, but the simply truth is that writing down our feelings can be the best way to let them go. We can choose to literally throw these pages away when they’re filled with negativity and hate.

            15. Allow Freedom

            Journaling is the perfect way to not only express yourself but to also experience the freedom of being who you are. Your books can stay private or you can publish them. Your freedom stems from your sense of self and your perception of your thoughts.

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            16. Enhance Your Career

            Again, the private act of pen-to-paper processing provides the benefits of journaling mentioned above, but you can also enhance your career when you take similar ideas and categorize, edit and publish them in an online blog.

            Your thoughts will often be personal and express emotions, but another benefit of journaling is uncovering fresh ideas about your work.

            17. Literally Explore Your Dreams

            All the benefits I’ve mentioned explore ideas, thoughts and emotions, which is also what our dreams and nightmares do. Through writing down your dreams from the previous night, you can enhance your creativity as well as connect some of the metaphorical dots from the rest of your journal.

            18. Catalog Your Life for Others

            No one wants to think about dying, but we all die. Leaving a journal will act as a way to reconnect with family and friends left behind. The ideas you wish to keep personal while you process the life you’re living will serve to rekindle and inspire those who loved you through the process.

            We consider our partners our life witnesses, but writing provides a tangible mark on the world.

            Now that you’ve learned all the benefits of journaling, it’s time to start writing a journal:

            Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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