Carbohydrates have received a bad reputation over the years. Low-carb diets became widely popular in the early 2000’s because they allowed people to indulge in their favorite animal products and still lose weight at the same time.
Much of the bad reputation given to carbohydrates is related to refined carbohydrates due to the low fiber content and negative impact on blood sugar levels.
However, all carbohydrates are not created equal. Studies have shown that complex carbohydrates can be good for your brain, helping it make serotonin which helps promote feelings of well-being and happiness while fighting depression.
Complex carbohydrates like oatmeal provide various health benefits many people might be unaware of. Five of the most powerful health benefits are listed below:
Number 1: Oatmeal is loaded with vitamins and minerals
As little as half a cup (78 grams) of dry oats contains almost twice your daily value of Manganese. Oatmeal also provides significant amounts of Magnesium, Phosphorus, Copper, Iron, Folate, Zinc, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Potassium and Folate. These are all key nutrients your body needs. Absorbing this nutrition naturally in oats is healthier and more effective than taking factory-made pill supplements which are usually harder for your body to absorb.
Oatmeal also contains Beta-Glucan Soluble Fiber which has been shown to reduce blood pressure, fight inflammation, promote healthy bacteria in the digestive tract, and lower “bad” cholesterol levels.
Number 2: Oatmeal Boasts Your Immune Response
Oats are among the healthiest grains on earth for supporting a strong immune system. The beta-glucan fiber in oatmeal helps to boost infection-fighting blood cells. Oatmeal also contains zinc and selenium which are important nutrients for fighting infection.
Studies have shown that children who had oatmeal as part of their regular diet from an early stage in life showed a lower risk of asthma. They also had a reduced onset of other allergic conditions among children.
Oatmeal has been linked to reducing cancer risk as well. Oats have natural anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties.
Number 3: Oatmeal Promotes Healthier Skin
It is very common to find oatmeal listed as a key ingredient in various skin products such as lotions and soaps. Oatmeal is effective at reducing inflammation and treating itchy, dry, or irritated skin. The starch from the oats creates a barrier that helps skin hold its moisture, while the rougher fibrous husk of the oats act as a gentle exfoliant.
Oatmeal also has rich anti-oxidant properties that help to heal the damage done to your skin by UV rays, sunburn and chemicals. In addition, oatmeal also helps to treat eczema and psoriasis.
Number 4: Oatmeal Improves Athletic Performance
Oatmeal remains one of the world's best performance meals. Even as the market is getting flooded with various protein powders, energy bars, and green juices… oatmeal remains one of the most powerful superfoods. For athletes, oatmeal is essential for competing at the highest level.
In addition to being packed with soluble fiber, vitamins and minerals, oatmeal is also a great source of protein and has a low glycemic index, which provides a sustained release of energy into your bloodstream. This is crucial for athletes.
Studies have shown oatmeal favorably alters metabolism and enhances performance when ingested 45 minutes to 1 hour before exercise of moderate intensity.
Number 5: Oatmeal Aids Better Digestion
One cup of oatmeal provides 4 grams of fiber. Like all high-fiber foods, oatmeal packs a combination of insoluble and soluble fiber. Insoluble fiber adds bulk to stool and helps food pass through the stomach and intestines faster and easier. Alternatively, the soluble fiber in oatmeal dissolves in water and forms a gel-like material. These two types of fiber work together to bulk up stool, soften it, and make it easier to pass.
Add cinnamon and ginger to your oatmeal for additional health benefits. Cinnamon has been proven to fight against bacterial, fungal, and viral elements in foods. It also helps to decrease swelling and relieve dangerous inflammation levels throughout your body.
Ginger can be one of your best friends when it comes to digestive health. It’s been shown to help with chronic indigestion (dyspepsia) by speeding up the natural process of emptying food from the stomach. In some cases, adding ginger to your meal can double gastric emptying. With this increased motility in the digestive system, heartburn and indigestion are less likely to occur. Ginger has also been shown to be an effective remedy for nausea.
The more efficient your digestion is, the more energy you will have. Generally, the quicker you can digest your food, the faster you will absorb the nutrition from the foods you eat.