Monday, August 25, 2008

Why Oatmeal Rules!

As I write this, I am shoveling a huge spoonful of oatmeal into my mouth (those of you familiar with my Breakfast With Mike videos know what this looks like—and it’s not a pretty sight!).

This consumption of rolled oats is a common sight and occurrence in my household—I eat a bowl of oatmeal just about every single day. Why? Besides tasting pretty good, a daily helping of oatmeal may someday save your life.

It’s true. Eating 3g of soluble fiber daily from oatmeal (about one small serving) may reduce the risk of heart disease, and can help lower LDL (that’s the bad stuff) cholesterol. Chew on that next time you’re considering bacon and eggs for breakfast—which, last I heard, is the antithesis of heart healthy.

What actually is oatmeal? Oatmeal is rolled oats, which are made from oat groats, which come from oat grain and have been rolled to cook quickly and make them easier to eat. The oats have a thick bran layer that is removed through steaming to soften them. The end result is the oatmeal most of us eat. It is a whole grain that is loaded with fiber and protein. Now, if you omit the steaming process and just chop up the oat groats (leaving bits of the bran layer), what remains are steel-cut oats. You may have seen these in the grocery aisle alongside regular oatmeal. Steel-cut oatmeal has more fiber and protein than regular oatmeal—having never tried these, I cannot offer a comparison as to what type tastes better.

Besides being heart healthy and a tasty way to help lower your bad cholesterol, oatmeal is also an excellent source of thiamine and iron, as well as niacin, riboflavin, folic acid, Vitamin A, and calcium. And if all those great nutritional benefits aren’t enough, oatmeal possesses antioxidant compounds unique to oats called avenanthramides—these help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, as well as help lower LDL cholesterol.

As a vegetarian, I am always searching for vegetable protein sources—a serving of oatmeal has 8gs of protein, and that’s a good thing!

Oatmeal also is an excellent source of fiber: 6gs. I can’t think of many food choices better for you than whole grain fiber. Here are some of the amazing health benefits of a diet high in whole grains, like oatmeal:

• Lower the risk of type 2 diabetes
• Enhance immune response to infection
• Cardiovascular benefits for postmenopausal women
• Prevents heart failure
• Protection against breast cancer

All that’s left for you to do now is eat some, everyday. I eat mine pretty plain, with just a touch of fake sugar to sweeten it a bit. I also opt for the instant oatmeal—just boil water and pour, even easy for a simpleton like myself. You may also enjoy oatmeal with honey, chopped up bananas or peaches or apples and cinnamon. Blueberries, raspberries or blackberries also taste great with oatmeal, and increase the antioxidants!

If you can’t even choke down a bowl, but still would like to enjoy the healthy benefits of oatmeal, here are a few other options:

Fiber One
South Beach Diet Bars

Now do you see why Oatmeal Rules!

Is it any wonder why I eat a bowl of oatmeal just about every day? Is there any conceivable reason why you shouldn’t do the same?

Until next time…



john b said...

Hello fellow oatmeal eater! I have a bowl almost every morning. Good stuff!

Lux said...

Elaine, Lux's mom here: I like oatmeal, too - I get the instant kind at the health food store!

Anonymous said...

I eat it uncooked most frequently. Either sprinkled on something else, or as it is with dried or fresh fruit in it, plus nuts and seeds, milk or fruit juice poured over. And I'm fond of oatcakes too, though they aren't so easy to find everywhere.

Kathy said...

I do loves me my oatmeal. Always makes me feel satisfied and full. I know slow-cooked is probably better than instant, but if I had to spend a lot of time making it, it wouldn't get done at all! I'm lazy that way.

Natural said...

gosh, i hate oatmeal, i would almost rather eat sand. i heard it's good for you. i even tried it a few times, just can't bring myself to swallow.

Debbie said...

I love my oatmeal with a sprinkle of stevia on it!

I sneak it into many other recipes as well, much to the chagrin of my family!

Lisa Newton said...

I love oatmeal with a touch of maple syrup. Maple Oatmeal Rules.............:)

Urban Panther said...

Growing up, we would always know it was winter when my dad switched from cold cereal to hot oatmeal. I do have a couple of comments. First of all the poor egg. Nothing wrong with an egg. It's the butter it's fried in and the bacon. I have an egg every morning, pretty much always have, and my cholesterol levels are perfect. Why fake sugar? I am more of a purist. Isn't it better to eat pure food (in small quantities) than chemically produced foods? I was using real oatmeal, then decided to try instant oatmeal for convenience. I literally spat it out it was so salty. Do you find that? Okay, done my analysis. Off to drink some pure, sugar free, milk free espresso *smile*

Koen & Claire said...

I love oatmeal too! It's one of the few things that keeps those hunger pangs away until lunchtime for me, I can't resist a teaspoon of unrefined sugar ontop though! said...

Oatmeal is yummy, and is even better with raisins.

For breakfast, I also like to eat bran cereal, a banana, blueberries, and strawberries. Since I don't drink milk, I use orange juice instead. (I saw a lactose intolerant friend do this in college.)

My wife thinks it is gross to eat cereal in orange juice. What is the big deal?

livelife365 said...

John B.--hello to you, FOE (fellow Oatmeal Eater) is good stuff and it lowered my LDL.

Lux's mom, Elaine--good about Lux? Any catoatmeal?

A.--never have tried it uncooked--will look into that.

Kathy--I go with the instant too, and there IS something about oatmeal that makes you want to sit back and rub your contented belly.

Natural--it is an acquired taste for some, that's why I included the links for other options: the FiberOne bars aren't bad--try 'em!

Debbie--have to try it with stevia...I have been adding ground flax.

Lisa--yummy, whatever gets those rolled oats down. And visit Iowa Avenue!

Urban Panther--I agree with you that the egg has gotten a bad shake of late, but I can't take a chance with them; and being a vegetarian, bacon is right out. As for my choice of fake sugars: I use Splenda. I just don't like real sugar...odd, huh? As for the sodium content in instant oatmeal--under 100mg, which for me, watching my blood pressure, is not bad. Any other questions? *smile* By the way, love your site...

Koen & Amp--go oatmeal! It does curb those hunger pangs...

Karen & Gerard Zemek said...

I like the instant with the raisins in it. I also read on the peanbut butter blog that a glob of peanut butter in it tastes good too! I'm going to try that next time. I just eat it in the winter, not the summer.

Polly said...

In Britain we have several versions of oats. We have several sized of rolled oats but when cooked as you describe we call it porridge. We also have oatbran which is like a fine porridge. Lastly we can purchase fine, medium or coarse oatmeal - this is crushed oats - it takes slightly longer to cook than rolled oats.
We make all of these in a variety of ways - most people prefer to mix milk and water to cook the oats in - a few prefer the oats cooked in water. Many stir in golden syrup or honey whilst others like to sprinkle sugar on the top and surround it with cold milk making a porridge island. In Scotland it is customary to sprinkle their porridge with salt. I may have missed out one or two variations but my favourite is by Mornflake their rolled oats are exceptionally creamy ... I could just go and eat another bowl now. :)

Eric S. said...

Never really got the oatmeal bug. I do eat it, but have to dress it up some with flavor. I don't suppose oatmeal cookies count?

AmyMeacham said...

I eat oatbran every morning with oatmeal mixed in with a teaspoon of cinnamon and a tablespoon of Miller's bran. Colon blow, indeed!


I love your picture with the oatmeal! I have been eating oatmeal since I was a kid and think I will have a bowl in the morning.

McM said...

Also, it's good to know that oatmeal is also very helpful for those who have problems with their digestive system - I'm talking about IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) especially. Oatmeal can do wonders down there, too!

Stan J said...

Maybe I'm crazy but I actually like oatmeal, I did even as a kid. My kids like it too. Maybe we will live forever?

Faisal Admar said...

i love oatmeal too and it has been long since i ate it last... just too many tempting foods around! guess i must start to eat oatmeal again :)

p/s: by the way mike, are you vegetarian?

Mike Foster said...

Paul--eating oatmeal with orange juice may not be a taste that most of us would embrace, but I have read that the addition of citrus to oatmeal actually enhances the antioxidants in the oatmeal. Way to go, man!

Gerard--peanut butter, hmm? Why not? Will have to give that a taste

Polly--Wow, looks like you have the oatmeal market covered! So many wonderful selections, and it is great to see such oatmeal enthusiasm

Eric--If you want oatmeal cookies to count, I won't tell anyone


Heidi the healthnutwannabeemom--I try to look as goofy as possible in my photos--glad I accomplished my goal

MCM--Yes, so true. Whole grains--FIBER!!--work wonders for digestive struggles

Stan--That's one healthy family! Congrats!

Faisal--so many tasty foods, so little time, huh? And, yes, I am a vegetarian. How about you?

Jennifer said...

I, too, love oatmeal. But even with bananas, apples, currants, pecans, and a dash of vanilla soymilk (takes about 8 minutes; I make a bunch and microwave the leftovers for subsequent breakfasts), I am consistently starving an hour later.

For a while I ate steel-cut oats and amaranth, but I'm strange that way. Lots of grainy protein, though ...

Alexander Morentin said...

I eat oatmeal a few times a week and love it.
I cook it on the stove at very low heat. Only takes 10 minutes.
Usually put sliced bananas, berries, or sliced apples to make it sweeter.

BTW: I am a vegetarian too.
Peace :)

Lux said...

I've pretty much never turned down anything offered to me, including a bit of lettuce! Oatmeal might be worth a try. :)

kRiZ cPEc said...

ar well, not ready to have a bowl of oatmeal every day yet.

Jackie said...

Thanks for visit, in reply to your comment Mike, boiled chard has 3.2g protein and 3.6g fiber per cup / 175g.

You can't go wrong with oatmeal. I always think of the strength the Scottish Highlanders had and they just about lived on the stuff. Sean Connery has it daily.

Mike Foster said...

Jennifer--The grainier the better; I am a big fan of vegetable protein. As for your hunger pangs? Not sure, but the good news is oatmeal is low in calories, another bowl!

Alexander--seems like most of us vegetarians are oatmeal eaters. Why? See above: love that veggie protein.

Lux--why not have a taste, huh? You never know...

Kriz--to each his own...thanks for the visit.

Jackie--thanks for the info, I will have to try that recipe. And if it's good enough for James Bond, it's good enough for me!


WOW Gold said...

I like oatmeal too . This is pretty nice stuff.

Anonymous said...

I love oatmeal! It's so good in the morning time and to now hear how good it is for one's health, I'm even happier that I eat it each day!

I'm so glad I found your blog on It's really great! Thanks!

Jackie said...

I love oats and eat the ones that take a while to cook as I hear eating instant oats is about as nutritious as cardboard.

The one thing I cannot work out is what is the difference between rolled oats and oat flakes. Do you happen to know ?

By the way been enjoying your veggie meal viseos. Watching via YouTube where I have marked them as favorites etc. Will move on to the others shortly.

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