The Incredible Benefits of Oatmeal

Oats are among the healthiest grains on earth.


John Shepard

3/2/20233 min read

Oats are among the healthiest grains on earth. They’re a gluten-free whole grain and a great source of important vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. Here are some important things to keep in mind plus more reasons to incorporate oats into your meals.

Choosing the right oats

Always choose whole-grain rolled or steel-cut oats, and avoid packets of instant oats. Instant oatmeal isn't the same as oatmeal made from whole-grain oats. Many instant oatmeal mixes are a combination of oats and flours with an abundance of added sugar, and they have had much of their fiber removed. When it comes to good nutrition, add less sugar to your oatmeal than is often found in recipes, and be sure to use steel-cut or rolled whole-grain oats. They retain much of the fiber and nutrients that make oatmeal so beneficial.

Environmentally better and nutritious

Oats require less water to grow than any other grain and are therefore better suited to arid climates. Oat is primarily used for animal feed but also makes up a significant portion of human food. Oats contain many nutrients, including fiber, protein, fat, vitamins A, B6, C, D, E, K, calcium, iron, and more (see Nutrition Facts below). Plus, oats have antioxidants inside the oat kernel. One example of how this is helpful is blocking the oxidation of LDL cholesterol which you want to keep at low levels in your blood. The LDL cannot bind as easily to arteries and has more time to be swept from the blood before it causes damage.

Rich in Fiber

American Diabetes Foundation notes that adults should eat at least 25 to 30 grams (g) of fiber each day. But many adults do not even come close to that amount. A serving of oatmeal adds 8 g of fiber to the diet, making it much easier to reach dietary recommendations. The fiber found in oatmeal slows down the breakdown of sugars in your body which helps prevent spikes in blood glucose and insulin levels. If you have diabetes, eating fiber-rich foods like oatmeal throughout the day may make it easier to keep your blood sugar stable. Eating fiber-rich foods like oatmeal helps keep the stomach feeling full for longer which may make it easier to avoid those less-nutrient snacks throughout the day, especially when you are not hungry. Feeling full also helps keep your total calorie intake low while maintaining your current weight or helping you lose extra weight.

Lower on the Glycemic Index

The Glycemic Index is one way to estimate the impact of foods on blood sugar levels. The higher the number on the scale, the higher the food's blood sugar level. Lower glycemic index foods are ideal for keeping blood sugar levels steady. High-GI foods will typically cause a spike in blood sugar levels faster than low-GI foods. Steel-cut or rolled oats, which are often used to make oatmeal and mueslis, are low-glycemic index (GI) foods, with scores of under 55. Compared to other breakfast cereals, like puffed rice or cornflakes, which have a GI score of over 70, oatmeal has a lower GI score.

Oatmeal Nutrition Facts

The following nutrition information is provided by the USDA for 1/2 cup dry (39g) rolled oats with no sugar or salt added. This serving is equivalent to 1 cup of cooked oatmeal (cooked in water). Calories: 140 Fat: 2.5g Sodium: 0mg Carbohydrates: 28g Fiber: 4g Sugars: 0g Protein: 5g Source: Oats are loaded with important vitamins, minerals, and antioxidant plant compounds. Half a cup (78 grams) of dry oats contains : Manganese: 191% of the RDI Phosphorus: 41% of the RDI Magnesium: 34% of the RDI Copper: 24% of the RDI Iron: 20% of the RDI Zinc: 20% of the RDI Folate: 11% of the RDI Vitamin B1 (thiamin): 39% of the RDI Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid): 10% of the RDI Smaller amounts of calcium, potassium, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) and vitamin B3 (niacin)



Check out the many ways to use oatmeal:

21 Best Uses for Leftover Oatmeal

42 Recipes for Leftover Oatmeal

Leftover Oatmeal: 25 Delicious Recipes To Help You Use It All Up!

Here are resources about the science and benefits of eating oatmeal: Oatmeal for diabetes: Benefits, nutrition, and tips ( Proteins in oats; their synthesis and changes during germination: a review - PubMed ( Avenanthramides and Phenolic Acids from Oats Are Bioavailable and Act Synergistically with Vitamin C to Enhance Hamster and Human LDL Resistance to Oxidation | The Journal of Nutrition | Oxford Academic (