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Hooray for Oatmeal!

Filled With Goodness

Oats contain a higher proportion of protein, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, copper, manganese, thiamine, folate, and vitamin E per gram than other whole grains.

Just one cup of this healthy grain provides four grams of fiber.

Beta glucan, a type of soluble fiber in oats, has been shown to reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. Researchers compare oats to “tiny sponges that pick up cholesterol and carry it out of the body,” according to the American Institute for Cancer Research.

A Healthy Claim
 
Oats are so good for you that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration allows foods containing oats to carry a health claim on labels: “Diets low in saturated fat and cholesterol that include soluble fiber from oatmeal may reduce the risk of heart disease.”
How do you put oatmeal’s action to work for you? Try lowering your cholesterol levels by eating one and a half cups of oatmeal daily while following a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol.
Besides reducing your risk of developing heart disease and diabetes, oatmeal helps lower blood pressure.
 
Smart Shopping
Several varieties of oats are available at your favorite supermarket.
  • Rolled or old-fashioned oats means the grain is flattened on rollers to form flakes.
  • Quick-cooking oats are sliced before they are rolled.
  • Steel-cut, or coarse-cut, oats are not rolled or flattened but are cut into small nuggets. They take longer to cook than rolled oats, but using a pressure cooker, soaking overnight, or toasting shortens preparation time. Steel-cut oats have become popular for their hearty, chewy texture.
Although instant oatmeal is a whole-grain product with a good amount of fiber, it may not offer the same health benefits as other forms of oats since it tends to be higher in calories, sugar, and sodium.
 
Healthy Additions
Here are some ways to add more oats to your diet:
  • Use oats as a coating for fish or chicken.

  • Add oats to vegetable soup for extra flavor, nutrition, and texture.

  • Substitute oats for up to one-third of the flour when baking breads, cakes, cookies, or muffins.

  • Use oats instead of crackers or breadcrumbs in meatloaf.

  • Top a fresh fruit crisp with oats.

 

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