Over the years, oats have evolved and become a go-to in the health and wellness world. Oats are loaded with minerals and vitamins that are essential for a healthy lifestyle. So, there are major benefits to including oatmeal recipes in your regular diet. “One of the greatest benefits [of oats] is that they contain beta-glucan, a fiber that is linked to immunity, reducing blood sugar levels, improving gut bacteria, and promoting a greater feeling of fullness,” says Danielle Pashko, a holistic nutritionist and the author of Breaking Your Fat Girl Habits.
If you’re looking for a nutrient-dense food option, this is it. In just one serving of oats (about half a cup), you can find:
- Plant-based protein
- Vitamin B1
- Vitamin B5
The Benefits of Oats
“Oats have an excellent source of fiber content. In a half-cup serving of oats, you will receive approximately 8.5 grams of fiber, notes certified dietitian-nutritionist Adrienne Bolten, M.S., R.D., C.D.N. “The average American only consumes about 14-16 grams of fiber per day but actually requires 25-35 grams per day. Oats are an excellent source of thiamine (vitamin B1), which is important for the transfer of energy within the body to our cells. In addition, it’s an important source of plant-based protein, providing 13 grams of protein in every half-cup serving.”
Oats are also rich in antioxidants, including avenanthramides and ferulic acid. “Avenanthramides, which are almost solely found in oats, can help reduce blood pressure levels by increasing the production of nitric oxide. This gas molecule helps dilate blood vessels and leads to better blood flow. Also, avenanthramides have anti-inflammatory and anti-itching effects,” says registered dietitian nutritionist Samantha Lynch, R.D., C.D.N. Ferulic acid, which is found naturally in fruits, grains, nuts, and vegetables, can help fight free radicals that contribute to the signs of aging.
Pay attention to the type of oats.
There are different styles of oats, so pay attention to additives—especially the sugar content—when making your selection. Ideally, you want to stick to minimally processed oats such as steel-cut and stay away from most instant versions. Bolten explains, “Steel-cut oats are the most minimally processed and also tend to take the longest to cook. Rolled oats are my personal favorite. While they have been chopped up into smaller pieces—think splinter kindling for a fire—they are still in a less-processed form and will have a bit of a shorter cook time than the steel-cut oats. Instant oats are the more processed option.”
Not sure how to incorporate oats into your diet? Here are three oatmeal recipes that you can enjoy any time of day.
Poached Egg and Gruyère Oatmeal by Candice Kumai
The poached egg is a great source of protein and will keep you feeling full longer, and the hot sauce adds a kick to speed up your metabolism.
1 cup rolled oats
- Cook rolled oats in 2 cups water.
- Mix in Gruyère cheese and a dash of hot sauce.
- Poach an egg to place on top.
Overnight Oats by Adrienne Bolten
Toss these ingredients together for an easy grab-and-go breakfast option the next morning.
½ cup rolled oats
½ cup plant-based milk (e.g., cashew milk or pea protein milk)
1 tablespoon coconut sugar
1 tablespoon flaxseed meal
Shake of cinnamon
Pinch of pink sea salt
- Soak rolled oats in plant-based milk in a Mason jar.
- Add coconut sugar, flaxseed meal, cinnamon, and pink sea salt.
- Place jar in the fridge overnight. In the morning, microwave it for about 90 seconds.
- Optional: Chop up 1-2 tablespoons of raw walnuts for an additional source of omega-3 fatty acid. Other topping options include goji berries, coconut flakes, and fresh mango when it’s in season.
Roasted Asparagus, Pancetta, and Blue Cheese Oatmeal by Candice Kumai
Asparagus is loaded with nutrients, including potassium, fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins A, C, E, and K. It’s also a natural diuretic to help reduce bloating.
1 cup rolled oats
Thin slice pancetta
Handful of asparagus
Crumbled blue cheese
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
- Cook rolled oats in approximately 2 cups of water.
- Cook pancetta in a pan with oil and add to oats.
- Roast asparagus in the oven until lightly browned. Chop into pieces and add to oats.
- Crumble blue cheese on top.
It’s easy to experiment with oats. Test out different ingredient combinations and find you own favorite blends to enjoy morning, noon, and night.