Is Oatmeal Good for a Diet?

Ahh, oatmeal. What better way to start off your day then some nice home cooked oats, organic Garden Of life coconut oil, cinnamon, some nut butter of choice, pumpkin seeds, and some fruit?

That’s how I enjoy my oatmeal from time to time. I loved oatmeal as a kid and whenever I eat some it warms me up and brings me back to a time of childhood full of love and comfort from my mom and grandmother on a cold snowy day.

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The question today is, is oatmeal good for a diet? Well, it depends on how you approach this question; are you referring to a “diet” in the sense of a structure to follow to loose weight, or, are you referring to a “diet” in the sense of its actual definition?

Also, are we referring to “oatmeal” in the terms of boxed processed oatmeal that you find in the cereal isle of a grocery store that you throw in the microwave with some water, or, are we referring to “oatmeal” in the terms of organic, gluten-free dry oats that we cook on the stove-top with love and our own ingredients?

Since I do not believe in fad-diets or consuming processed foods, I am going to explore the question “is oatmeal good for a diet”, from the perspective of the actual definition of the words “diet” and “oatmeal” based on whole, organic, gluten-free dry oats.

This will ensure a open-minded and neutral view on the two questions that will allow you to make an educated decision on whether or not you think oatmeal is indeed good for your diet, and your health.

Let’s dive in!

What is a Diet?

First of all, we must define the word diet. According to the dictionary, the word diet literally means “the kinds of foods that a person, animal, or community habitually eats.”

The ever so popular “fad-diets” everyone thinks of when they hear the word “diet” is not what I believe in to be the most effective way for one to obtain true health, weight-loss and a maintained healthy weight, sustainable energy, etc. Thefreedictionary.com defines a fad-diet as “a reducing diet that enjoys temporary popularity.”

It is literally a structure to follow to reduce certain foods, usually made popular by a celebrity or doctor with a large following, rather than examining if the food being consumed in any amount is beneficial to our health and our goals.

When you change the way you view food and diets, you change your focus from results to making effective and sustainable changes towards meeting your goals with your health for the long haul.

What are Oats?

is oatmeal good for a diet?2

Oats are scientifically known as Avena sativa, a hardy cereal grain grown form its seed that are able to thrive in poor soil conditions, in which other crops are unable to.

They draw their ancestry from the wild red oat plant originating in Asia. They gain their distinctive flavor from the roasting process after being harvested and cleaned. They retain a great source of their fiber and micronutrients due to their bran and germ not being stripped away while being processed.

Additional processing is used to create breakfast cereals, baked goods and stuffings, which may strip away the beneficial parts of the grain, including the fiber.

You can buy oats in bulk at health food stores or packaged and labeled as organic, gluten-free, non-gmo oats.

I recommend staying away from the fancy boxed and individually packaged “oatmeal” marketed towards children and parents looking for “healthy” alternatives to the common boxed cereals. Oat meal can be a great whole-food, unless its processed beyond repair and filled with sugar, salt, and nasty artificial preservatives, colorings, flavorings and dyes.

When buying oats, always read the information on the ingredient list to make sure you really have 100% oats. Don’t fall for the lovely decorations on the outside of the box or the clever marketing trickery used to sell a product. For the most part, these described products are not whole-food and are health declining, while oats have many health benefits to them.

Benefits of Oats:

– High in soluble fiber keeping you fuller longer, energized longer and stabilizes blood sugars, which is very beneficial to type-2 diabetics and the prevention of type-2 diabetes

– Rich in ligans and avenanthramides, antioxidant compounds unique to oats, which help prevent free radicals from damaging LDL cholesterol reducing the risk for cardiovascular disease

– Rich in magnesium, which is an important mineral that acts as a co-factor for over 300 enzymes, including ones involved with the body’s use of glucose and insulin secretion

– Release of appetite-regulating hormones due to a property of fluids called viscosity, in which are generated by oat B-glucan and is described as the slimy feel of oatmeal

– May reduce the risk of childhood asthma by 50%

– Reduces high blood pressure and heart attacks

– Enhanced immune response to bacterial infections thanks to beta-glucans

– Rich in protein suitable for vegetarians and vegans, well-tolerated wheat alternative for those with celiac disease, and fairly inexpensive, especially when you buy them in bulk

Final Thoughts:

To me, a healthy diet consists of a variety of whole-foods that agree with your particular bodies needs and goals, balance with work and home life, regular physical activity, adequate water consumption, healthy relationships, and finding a passion that consumes you and brings joy to your life.

That being said, organic, gluten-free, dry oats fall into the whole-food category and I believe are healthy for your diet when eaten in a balanced state.

They are very versatile, have many health benefits, and don’t spike your blood-sugar rapidly- leading to sustainable energy and a good mental focus throughout the day.

If your body agrees with oats, then I say that oatmeal is healthy for your diet. Just listen to what your body is telling you, though, you know best!

Easy, Quick and Simple Oat Ideas:

1) Cook oats with water or nut-milk, then add nuts, coconut oil, fruits, nut butter and/or cinnamon for an oatmeal breakfast (so many creative varieties to keep you satisfied)

2) Add a serving of oats to a smoothie for added fiber, micronutrients, protein, and sustainable energy

3) Mill dry oats down into gluten-free flour for baking bread, muffins, or vegetarian burgers

4) Oatmeal cookies, a favorite for the family

5) Home-made granola, a great snack or breakfast cereal that you control what and how much goes into your food

Sources:

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=54

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/29/oatmeal-healthy-eat-it_n_6042640.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oat

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2951311/

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/food-matters/2014/06/25/why-oatmeal-keeps-you-full/

 

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