If there was one carb you had to eat for the rest of your life that would improve your health and help you to lose weight, it would be oatmeal. The list of nutritional benefits that come from a bowl of oats goes on-and-on, and there's a lot of healthy things that happen to your body when you eat oatmeal.
Plus, oatmeal is an incredibly versatile ingredient! Along with being the star player in our list of overnight oat recipes, you can also use it as a way to boost the nutrients in all kinds of recipes—like cookies, pancakes, and even smoothies!
Curious about what those specific nutritional benefits are? Here's the exact science behind what happens to your body when you eat oatmeal, and for more healthy eating tips, check out our list of 21 Best Healthy Cooking Hacks of All Time.
You'll feel full thanks to fiber.
If you're looking for a boost of fiber in the morning, oatmeal is a great place to start. Given that fiber helps you to lose weight, eating a 1/2 cup of old-fashioned oats gives you 4 grams of dietary fiber! Plus, eating foods high in fiber helps with your overall digestion and satiety levels, which means a bowl of oatmeal will leave you feeling full.
You can even increase the fiber in your bowl by adding 1/4 cup of pumpkin puree (2 grams of dietary fiber), 2 teaspoons of chia seeds (2 grams) and 1/2 cup of raspberries (4 grams). That boosts your bowl to 12 grams of fiber for one breakfast.
Not getting enough fiber in your diet? Here's What Happens When You Don't Eat Enough Fiber.
You won't be consuming a ton of sugar.
Unless, of course, you're consuming one of these packets of unhealthiest oatmeals. Many of the instant oatmeals you find on grocery shelves are packed with sugar, but you can easily avoid it by making your own bowl from scratch. Cook 1/2 cup of oats with 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk, and instead of adding brown sugar, 1 teaspoon of maple syrup will do. That brings your bowl of oatmeal down to just 5 grams of sugar! Even if you add in extra fruit on top, the sugar count will still be lower than some of those instant oatmeals—and a lot more satiating.
You can actually live longer.
Oats are actually the best breakfast food for longevity. One study published by the Nutritional Journal proved that consuming oats on the regular can help with all kinds of health concerns related to life expectancy including decreasing "bad" LDL cholesterol, weight gain, heart disease, and autoimmune diseases.
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You'll get a boost of nutrients.
Along with having a dense amount of fiber, oatmeal is packed with nutritional goodness. They're a healthy complex carb (which are the best kind of carbs to have for weight loss), have a surprising amount of protein (5 grams per 1/2 cup), and contain high levels of iron, calcium, magnesium, as well as vitamins A and B6
You could lose weight.
With so many nutritional benefits and being low in sugar, of course oatmeal is considered one of the best weight loss foods! If you swap out your usual bowl of sugary cereal with a bowl of hearty oats, you'll see a major difference in your digestion and overall health. Weight loss included!