How does oatmeal rate in keeping you alive and healthy? What does it contain?
We eat food to keep us alive and healthy. The better a food is at keeping us alive and healthy, the more valuable it is. Oatmeal nutritional and health benefits stem from its unique makeup. These give oatmeal a place in the list of superfoods. So, what does it contain and what are the benefits associated with oatmeal?
Oats are some of the most nutrient rich grains on earth. They are mainly made up of carbohydrates at 56%. They also contain 17% protein, 11% fiber and 7% fat. This makes oats an important source of these main food groups. Other oatmeal constituents make it even more important and place it in the superfoods league. Vitamins B1, B2, niacin, B6, folate and vitamin E are found in oatmeal in sizeable quantities. Important minerals in oats include phosphorous, potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc.
Vitamins and minerals are important in the general maintenance of wellbeing and balance. A good helping of vitamin rich food protects against diseases and helps in regaining health. Vitamin E is one of the factors that have been recognized as working to help rid the body of free radicals. This keeps the body healthier and helps fight cancer amongst other conditions. The B vitamins are important in various processes including metabolism, maintenance and proper functioning of the nervous system as well as absorption of calcium and other nutrients.
Potassium works together with sodium to help in the fluid balance in the bloodstream. Sufficient potassium intake is important in the maintenance of proper blood pressure. The substantial potassium quantities in oatmeal helps protect against hypertension.
Carbohydrates in oats are easily but slowly assimilated into the bloodstream. The result is that a meal of oats keeps you full for longer. This is good news for weightwatchers. The carbohydrates also require less insulin to metabolize. Oatmeal reduces the amount of insulin required to maintain sugar balance in the bloodstream. These qualities make oatmeal especially fit for diabetics.
Soluble and insoluble fiber in oatmeal help lower bad cholesterol level and clean the digestive system. The soluble fiber, also known as beta-glucan lowers the bad cholesterol levels by frustrating its synthesis within the body. The insoluble fiber helps clean the intestines, thus protecting against colon cancer.
Fatty acids in the fats in oatmeal play an important role in regulation of cholesterol synthesis in the body. It is worth noting that in spite of the relatively high fat quantities in oats, these fats pose no threat to health.
Oatmeal contains several phytochemicals, which are compounds that have no nutritional value but play a role in the health promoting effects of plant food sources. Some of these compounds in oats interfere with the absorption of cholesterol in the intestines. This has the effect of keeping cholesterol levels in the blood low. Other compounds help in the proper functioning of the nervous system.
Oatmeal is also helpful in such health conditions as digestive disturbances, diabetes, hypertension, arteriosclerosis, nervous system complaints such as nervousness, insomnia, depression and nervous fatigue. It is also indicated for people with gluten intolerance.
Can oats qualify as a superfood? The answer is definitely: yes. Oatmeal nutritional and health benefits are without doubt and taking its products daily is recommended.