Healthy Living

41 Reasons to Start Your Day With Oatmeal

41 Reasons to Start Your Day With Oatmeal

Oatmeal can help lower your weight and your risk of chronic disease.
Reduce your risk of disease and slim down by starting your day with this easy breakfast food.

They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but even knowing that many of us are starting things off on the wrong foot morning after morning. We grab high-calorie breakfast sandwiches, sugary pastries, and enormous coffees that are more dessert than a drink, leaving us hungry again before the clock strikes noon.

While the never-ending supply of unhealthy breakfast foods may beckon you from their shelves in the supermarket, inexpensive and easy-to-prepare oatmeal can set you up for a better morning and a healthier life. This popular grain is so much more than just another cereal, it’s a powerhouse food for both weight watchers and the health-conscious alike. Oatmeal has been linked to lower rates of asthma, heart disease, and colon cancer, but it’s pretty unlikely you could say the same about your average bagel.

It’s time we take control of our morning meal. 

Weight Loss
With 150 calories, 4 grams of protein, and 3 grams of fiber per one-cup serving, oatmeal is an easy way to fill up without filling out your waistline. Oatmeal is also a low-glycemic food, preventing insulin spikes that can trigger hunger pangs and food cravings.
Reduced Heart Disease Risk
A healthier heart starts with the right foods. Fortunately, each cup of oatmeal you eat packs 15 percent of your magnesium RDA, as well as plenty of heart-healthy fiber, reducing your risk of heart arrhythmia and cardiovascular disease each time you dig in.

Make your cardiovascular health a priority with the 42 Foods For a Healthier Heart

Stronger Bones
Think dairy is the only way to meet your calcium requirements? Think again! Oatmeal is a great source of calcium, packing 18 percent of your RDA per cup. Unlike dairy sources of calcium, which studies have linked to increased rates of bone demineralization, oatmeal’s bioavailable calcium is an easy way to improve your bone strength.
Improved Blood Oxygenation
Oxygen in your blood keeps every vital organ in your body working as it should, both preventing tissue decay and increasing your ability to heal from injury. Fortunately, enjoying sufficient iron in your regular diet can help reduce your risk of iron deficiency anemia and low blood oxygen levels. Even better, you don’t have to turn to red meat to add iron to your diet; oatmeal packs 77 percent of your RDA per cup.

Get healthier in no time by discovering the 45 Protein Sources You Should Be Eating — But Aren’t!

Lower Blood Pressure
A single elevated blood pressure reading may not seem like a big deal, but over time, high blood pressure can increase your risk of heart attack, stroke, and other chronic diseases. Those who start their day with a bowl of oatmeal are well on their way to better health, however, thanks to oatmeal’s blood pressure-lowering potassium and healthy fiber
Reduced Anemia Risk
Dizziness, weakness, and fatigue you just can’t shake are all part and parcel of an anemia diagnosis. The good news is that adding oatmeal to your diet can help. Every cup of cooked oatmeal packs more than 2 milligrams of iron per cup, reducing your anemia risk and keeping you feeling strong and healthy all day.
Decreased Anxiety
Anxiety can affect every aspect of your life, from the personal to the professional, but the right foods may be able to get you back on track. Potassium-rich foods, like oatmeal, may help keep that nagging anxiety at bay. In fact, researchers at the University of Cambridge found that patients who had higher serum potassium concentrations before surgery reported less anxiety than their low-potassium counterparts.
Improved Electrolyte Balance
Skip those sugary electrolyte replacement drinks and opt for some oatmeal instead. Oatmeal packs 164 milligrams of magnesium per cup when prepared, making it easy to improve your energy, fight arrhythmia, and reduce your risk of post-workout fatigue.
Reduced Constipation
A sluggish digestive tract can make anyone feel less-than-well, but oatmeal can help keep things moving at a steady clip. With 4 grams of fiber per cup, you can kiss constipation goodbye if you’re enjoying oatmeal on a regular basis.
Lower Cholesterol
Make high cholesterol a thing of the past by adding some oatmeal to your regular meal plan. Oatmeal is a rich source of soluble fiber, consumption of which researchers at Tulane University have linked to lower levels of LDL cholesterol.
Improved Energy
If you’re feeling wiped out by your usual activities, an iron deficiency could be to blame. Luckily, oatmeal just so happens to be a vegan-friendly and highly bioavailable source of iron, making those energy lulls disappear as fast as they came
Reduced Breast Cancer Risk
1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime, as will close to 1 in 1,000 men. While these statistics can be scary, diet may play a role in reducing your risk. Researchers at the University of Hawaii Cancer Center have discovered a potential link between vitamin B6 intake and a reduced risk of invasive breast cancer, so if you have a family history of the disease, it might be worth making B6-rich oatmeal part of your regular routine.
Decreased Stroke Risk
Lowering your stroke risk starts with the right food. The potassium in oatmeal can help lower your chances of developing heart arrhythmia while keeping your electrolytes stable, decreasing your stroke risk every time you dig in.
Healthier Eyes
Worsening vision doesn’t have to be a foregone conclusion just because you’re getting older. Research suggests that foods rich in B6, like oatmeal, can help stave off macular degeneration, keeping those eyes healthy and bright well into your golden years. 
Decreased Asthma Risk
Don’t let wheezing and breathing difficulties keep you from the active life you want to lead. Research from the University of Tampere reveals that early introduction of oats in a child’s diet is linked to lower rates of asthma, so if you’re eager to keep those lungs healthy and clear, oatmeal might just be your best bet for breakfast.
Reduced Colon Cancer Risk
Chronic constipation has been linked to an increased risk of colon cancer, but oatmeal may be able to turn things around. Thanks to its high fiber content — 4 grams per cup — oatmeal is an easy way to fight minor digestive issues as well as the big ones.
Increased Metabolism
Problem: our metabolisms tend to slow as we get older. Solution: adding some oatmeal to your diet. Not only can the fiber in oatmeal help perk up a sluggish digestive tract, the manganese found in the mighty oat plays a crucial role in the metabolism of protein and carbohydrates, helping you digest effectively while keeping the excess pounds off.

For more ways to shed those unwanted pounds, turn to the 40 Ways to Jumpstart Your Metabolism!

Improved Fetal Health
The right foods can make all the difference in the health of your pregnancy. Expectant women eager to improve their own health and the health of their babies-to-be should make oatmeal a regular part of their meal plan; in addition to craving-crushing protein, cramp-fighting potassium, and plenty of healthy fiber, oatmeal is also a source of folate, which is essential for the health of both mom and baby.
Decreased PMS Symptoms
Cramps and irritability at that time of the month are a regular occurrence for many women, but they don’t have to be. Oatmeal’s B6 and potassium content can help fight cramps, while its wealth of healthy carbs can boost your mood.
Reduced Arrhythmia Risk
Feeling your heart skip a beat can be a good thing when you’re in love, and a scary one at pretty much any other time. The solution? Making oatmeal part of your diet. Magnesium-rich foods, like oatmeal, can help fight your risk of arrhythmia, keeping your heart healthy in the process.
Increased Strength
The path to stronger muscles starts on your plate. Oatmeal packs 6 grams of protein per cup as well as being low-glycemic, which may help you stave off hunger, reducing your body’s production of cortisol, a hormone that triggers fat storage and can impede muscle growth.
Improved Muscle Tone
Get the lean, toned body you’ve always wanted by making oatmeal part of your regular routine. In addition to its protein content, oatmeal is also loaded with 143 milligrams of potassium, a mineral linked to a lower risk of muscle wasting in older age and greater accumulation of muscle tissue for avid exercisers.
Less Acne
Enjoy a more beautiful complexion in no time by making oatmeal a staple in your healthy living plan. Oatmeal is a great source of magnesium, which research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has linked to a reduction in inflammatory acne.
Reduced Lung Cancer Risk
While quitting smoking and limiting your exposure to environmental pollutants are the best things you can do for your lung health, eating oatmeal is a close third. Not only has oatmeal consumption been linked to a reduction in asthma symptoms, researchers at the International Agency for Research on Cancer have linked B6, like that found in oatmeal, to lower rates of lung cancer.
Improved Hormonal Balance
Keep your hormones stable and your body healthy by starting your day with a bowl of oatmeal. The B6 and fiber found in oatmeal have both been linked to improved hormonal balance, potentially helping keep irritability, bloating, acne, and food cravings to a minimum.
Stable Blood Sugar
We’ve all had that feeling that the only thing standing between us and a total meltdown is the closest junk food. However, the solution may be simpler than you think. Adding a protein- and fiber-rich food, like oatmeal, to your regular meal plan can help keep the blood sugar spikes that contribute to your food cravings at bay, helping you say “not today” to that box of donuts in the break room. 
Improved Immune Health
With 70 percent of your immune system living in your gut, it’s only right you feed it the foods it needs for your healthy, protective belly bacteria to thrive. Researchers in Norway have found that oatmeal has a prebiotic effect, feeding the beneficial bacteria in your gut and encouraging their proliferation, boosting your immune system and making it easier to fight off any bugs going around.
Healthier Kidneys
You probably don’t think a whole lot about your kidneys until a problem occurs. Luckily, you can keep your risk of kidney health issues to a minimum by adding some oatmeal to your diet. Oatmeal’s potassium content can help prevent water retention, encouraging proper flushing of the kidneys and reducing your chances of developing kidney infections, scarring, and disease.
Improved Reproductive Health
Not only is oatmeal a great choice for women who are already pregnant, but it can also help improve your reproductive health pre-conception. Oatmeal is loaded with iron, which researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health have linked to increased fertility and a reduced risk of ovarian health issues.
Reduced Fracture Risk
Keeping those bones healthy and strong doesn’t start with a glass of milk, it starts with a bowl of oatmeal. Oatmeal is a great source of vegan-friendly calcium, helping you reduce your risk of fractures that can keep you sidelined.
Improved Mood
If you’ve ever felt a major mood boost after enjoying some carbohydrates, you’re not alone. Healthy carbs like oatmeal can trigger an increase in serotonin production, making you happier and fuller with every bite.
Reduced Diabetes Risk
A diabetes diagnosis can mean a lifetime of watching every bite and a potentially shorter life expectancy. Luckily, adding some oatmeal to your diet can reduce your risk of developing the disease. A review of research published in the European Journal of Epidemiology reveals that dietary fiber can help reduce your diabetes risk and, fortunately, cooked oatmeal packs 4 grams per cup.
Healthier Nervous System
A properly-functioning nervous system can keep your spirits high and your body healthy, and the right foods can make it possible. Potassium, which oatmeal packs plenty of, helps maintain your electrolyte balance and control the nervous system, keeping you happy and healthy.
Reduced Inflammation
Inflammation can strike virtually anywhere in the body, and when it does, it causes pain, tissue damage, and may even put you at risk for certain types of cancer and cognitive impairment. The solution? Adding some oatmeal to your diet. Research published in the Archives of Dermatological Research suggests that the avenanthramides in oatmeal can limit inflammation, particularly in the skin, preserving your health in the process. 
Fewer Migraines
Migraine sufferers would be wise to make oatmeal a regular part of their healthy living plan. Oatmeal packs 15 percent of your RDA of magnesium, which has been shown to fend off debilitating headaches and fight pain.
Better Workouts
It’s no secret that the food you eat and your workout performance are inextricably intertwined. If you’re eager to have longer, stronger workouts, try pre-gaming with some oatmeal; the mix of protein and carbs in oats will help keep you full well after you’re done working out and give your body plenty of fuel for your muscles.
Reduced Skin Damage
Heal your dry, irritated skin by adding some oatmeal to your diet. Whether applied topically or ingested, the avenathramides in oatmeal have a profound effect on the health of your skin, healing past damage and preventing further damage from occurring. 
Improved Carpal Tunnel Symptoms
Stiff joints and painful movements are hallmarks of carpal tunnel symptoms, but a diet rich in inflammation-fighting foods can help you maintain your range of motion while keeping pain at bay. The B6 in oatmeal can help fend off carpal tunnel symptoms while reducing inflammation throughout your body.
Fewer Muscle Cramps
Muscle cramps can turn a trip to the gym from a pleasant experience into a painful one, but that doesn’t have to be the case. With the addition of potassium to your diet, like that found in oatmeal, you can move past those muscle cramps and make every workout the fat-burning, muscle-building session you want it to be
Lower Parkinson’s Risk
10 million people around the world have Parkinson’s disease, but you can reduce your risk of joining their ranks with the right foods. Research published in the British Journal of Nutrition suggests that insufficient B6 levels may increase your risk of Parkinson’s by as much as 50 percent, making B6-rich foods, like oatmeal, an unbeatable addition to your diet.
Improved Sleep
If you’re eager to get a good night’s sleep, oatmeal is a powerhouse snack. Oatmeal is a great source of tryptophan, an amino acid that increases feelings of relaxation, as well as vitamin B6, which has been suggested as a sleep aid and which researchers from the City College of New York have linked to improved dream recall.