Oatmeal is a heart-healthy superfood that deserves to be incorporated into everyone's daily diets. Oatmeal is made from whole grain oats, which contain lots of fiber, complex carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, all of which combine for a healthy diet. There are a few different types of oatmeal, all with different nutrition values and effects on our bodies.
Instant oatmeal: Instant oatmeal gets a bad rep for not being whole grain, when in fact it is! Instant oats are processed a little longer than steel-cut or old-fashioned oats in order to make the oats so thin that you can cook them instantly, but they are still whole grain, which means that instant oatmeal still contains fiber, vitamins and minerals. However, it is pretty high on the glycemic index, which means that it raises your blood sugar quickly and then lowers it back down again. You won't stay as full for as long as you would after eating steel-cut or old-fashioned oats. Instant oatmeal is good for a day when you're rushing out the door and need to quickly heat something in the microwave. (via Healthy Eating)
Steel-cut oats: Steel-cut oats are made from whole-grain kernels called groats that are cut with a sharp steel blade. They're low on the glycemic index, which means they will stabilize your blood sugar. You will feel satisfied longer throughout the day after eating oatmeal with steel-cut oats. (via Healthy Eating)
Old-fashioned oats: Old-fashioned oats are made by steaming or rolling groats. They're not cut at all, hence the old-fashioned namesake. When you see "regular" or "rolled" oats on a package, it means old-fashioned. These might be your best options because they are lower on the glycemic index than instant oats, but don't take as long to cook as steel-cut oats. (via Healthy Eating)
Eating oatmeal every morning can lead to multiple health benefits, including lower cholesterol, a reduced risk of heart disease and a reduced risk of high blood pressure. Oatmeal contains an antioxidant called avenanthramide that fights off free radicals that attack your good cholesterol. It basically protects your good cholesterol while lowering your bad cholesterol. Avenanthramide also prevents your arteries from hardening! As you can see, oatmeal is one of the most heart-healthy foods out there. And the best part is that it tastes good! Even if you don't care for the taste of plain oatmeal, you can add flavors like cinnamon or nutmeg. You should avoid adding sugar, but you can add some fruit for a sweeter, healthier taste. (via Healthy Eating)
So now you know why oatmeal is so good for you, but you need some cooking ideas. Click through to the next page to see some of our favorite oatmeal recipes.
There are all kinds of delicious oatmeal recipes, but here are a few of our favorites.
Apple Superfood Oatmeal: If you like waking up to warm apples, cinnamon and honey (and who doesn't?), then this oatmeal recipe is for you. It's ready in only ten minutes and the superfoods that are packed into it will give you the nutrients and energy you need to start your day. Here's the recipe.
Creamy Cinnamon Oatmeal Porridge: You might have to do a little planning ahead to let these oats soak overnight, but it will be so worth it on a chilly fall or winter morning. This simple recipe calls for only five ingredients! Click here for the recipe.
Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies: We heard the words "breakfast" and "cookies" and we were in. You'll have breakfast ready in a flash for you or your little ones who don't like the texture of oatmeal. Check out our recipe here.
Strawberry Oatmeal Muffins: Who doesn't love a muffin in the morning? These healthy muffins taste just as good as they look, and the best part is that you are putting good foods into your body as soon as you wake up! Check them out here.
Oat Cookies: Perfect for an after-school snack or even breakfast on a special occasion, these oat cookies are easy to make and even easier to convince your kids to eat! Here's the recipe.
What are some of your favorite oatmeal and oatmeal-related recipes? Let us know in the comments below.