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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 September 16, 2019

            How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

            How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

            You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

            We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

            The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

            Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

            1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

            Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

            For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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            • (1) Research
            • (2) Deciding the topic
            • (3) Creating the outline
            • (4) Drafting the content
            • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
            • (6) Revision
            • (7) etc.

            Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

            2. Change Your Environment

            Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

            One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

            3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

            Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

            Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

            My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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            Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

            4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

            If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

            Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

            I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

            5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

            I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

            Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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            As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

            6. Get a Buddy

            Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

            I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

            7. Tell Others About Your Goals

            This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

            For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

            8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

            What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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            9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

            If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

            Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

            10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

            Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

            Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

            11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

            At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

            Reality check:

            I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

            More About Procrastination

            Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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