Oatmeal is more than just a convenient breakfast food; it also provides nutrients essential during the winter, such as zinc (which boosts immunity) and soluble fibers necessary for a healthy heart and better digestion. Oats, formally named Avena sativa, are a cereal grain from the Poaceae grass family of plants. The grain refers specifically to the edible seeds of oat grass, which ends in our breakfast bowls. Oats are commonly eaten for breakfast as oatmeal, made by boiling oats in water or milk and often referred to as porridge.
How to enjoy oatmeal in winter?
There’s nothing quite like a steaming bowl of oats to warm you up from the inside out on those chilly winter mornings. Here is one way to eat oats for breakfast this winter:
Chocolate oat porridge
The perfect excuse to eat chocolate for breakfast, this porridge will start your day off just right. Ingredients: 3 cups water, 90g rolled oats, 1–2 t cocoa powder, unsweetened almond milk (for serving honey, soya butter, and blueberries).
- Place 2½ cups water in a small saucepan and stir through the oats. Bring to a boil, turn off the heat, cover with a lid, and leave on the hot stove plate for 20 minutes. Keeping the lid on and the pot over the cooling stove plate is crucial so the oats don’t become stodgy.
- Reduce the heat to medium and stir gently. Cook for 5–10 minutes, adding the remaining water to loosen the oats. Please do not leave them unattended, as they burn very quickly.
- Fold in the cocoa and a splash of almond milk. Divide between bowls and top with the honey, soya butter, blueberries, and dates. Serve warm.
What are the health benefits of oatmeal?
Oatmeal is nutritionally rich. It has more protein than most grains and contains numerous vitamins and minerals. It contains antioxidants and a soluble fiber called beta-glucan, which aids several body systems.
Oatmeal provides many health benefits, including:
- Gut Health. The beta-glucan soluble fiber promotes regular emptying of the bowel and prevents constipation. It also supports healthy gut bacteria, which may reduce the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and other intestinal problems.
- Lower Cholesterol. Soluble fiber, like the beta-glucan in oatmeal, lowers cholesterol.
- Heart Health. Oats are high in antioxidants called avenanthramides, which are not found in other cereal grains. These antioxidants reduce inflammation and relax arteries, improving heart health.
- Blood Sugar Control. The soluble fiber in oats can keep blood sugar from rising after a meal. The glycemic load of less-processed oats is low to medium, making them suitable carbohydrates for those with diabetes. However, those with diabetes should avoid instant oatmeal, which has a high glycemic index.
- Weight Control. Eating fiber-rich foods like oatmeal produces a feeling of satisfaction, which can make it less likely that you will overeat. The fiber in oatmeal, beta-glucan, causes the contents of the intestines to be very viscous and may make you feel full longer.
It is good to eat oatmeal every day, considering its nutritional profile and health benefits. Beta-glucan can bind with cholesterol-rich bile acids in the intestine and transport them through the digestive tract and eventually out of the body. Whole oats also contain plant chemicals called phenolic compounds and phytoestrogens that act as antioxidants to reduce the damaging effects of chronic inflammation associated with various diseases like cardiovascular disease and diabetes.