One of the healthiest, most underrated superfoods out there? Oats. Ask any dietitian or doctor and they’ll tell you that you should be absolutely be eating more of them. They’re incredibly versatile, affordable and shelf-stable as well as nutritious. You can serve oatmeal sweet or savory; hot or cold (pardon, “overnight”). Stir in cinnamon, nut butter or berries, or put an egg on it. Bake oats into bars or make homemade granola. However you eat them, here are all the healthy benefits you’ll be reaping when you eat oats, according to Cara Harbstreet, M.S., RD, LD, of Street Smart Nutrition.
1. Digestive Health
Oats are a super source of fiber and can help support a healthy digestive system. They contain both soluble and insoluble fiber, and they’re one of the most convenient ways to boost your intake of fiber (a shortfall nutrient most Americans don’t consume enough of).
2. Heart Health
Three grams of soluble fiber from oats, when part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, can reduce blood cholesterol which may help reduce the risk for heart disease. A serving of good ol’ Quaker Old-Fashioned Oats provides about 2 grams, so add another small daily serving — like a granola bar or yogurt topping — to do your cardiovascular system a serious favor.
Oats keep you fuller, longer. They’re considered a whole grain — another food group most Americans don’t eat enough of — and can be incorporated into hot, cold, sweet or savory dishes for any time of day. They pair well with other nourishing foods, such as fruits, vegetables, dairy products and plant- and animal-based protein sources, enhancing your overall diet quality. Oats are also super hearty and filling, so you won’t be tempted to stop by the vending machine for candy 20 minutes after you eat them. Finally, thanks to their mild flavor and ease of cooking, all varieties of oats provide a culinary blank canvas for creating nourishing and delicious meals and snacks.
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