Oatmeal has become a fairly common part of diet for many Americans and Europeans and is usually served as breakfast food. Oatmeal comes from oat grains which are grinded or crushed or cut to create various types of oatmeal. Oat grains are heated and cooled to produce the oat groats used for grinding into oatmeal. After this, the groats are grinded to different amount to produce oatmeal of various levels of coarseness depending on their end purpose.
In modern diet, oatmeal is usually used as a breakfast food. Ever since the 80s oatmeal has become one of the most popular morning foods in America, usually served with milk. Various American health and diet organizations have labeled oatmeal as beneficial in preventing diseases of the heart and other related issues. While oatmeal may be a healthy food in general, the internet is crawling with questions such as is oatmeal paleo, is oatmeal gluten free and what the specific benefits of oatmeal are as well as the potential downsides. In this article we tried to answer these questions for you in one place.
While oats on their own are extremely rich in carbs, cooked oatmeal is actually not. A 100 grams of oatmeal only contains about 12 grams of carbs, 2.5 grams of protein and 1.5 grams of fat, good for a total of about 70 calories, a small amount, great for people watching their calorie intake.
When it comes to vitamins and minerals, 100 grams of oatmeal contains relatively significant amounts of Manganese, Copper, Zinc, Iron and Magnesium as well as small amounts of various other minerals and some vitamins such as Vitamin B12, Vitamin B1 and Vitamin E.
While many of us may prefer the sweet, sugary cereal for our morning meals, mainly due to the taste, oatmeal is a much healthier choice. While a survey of American citizens found that Americans consider Oatmeal to be extremely healthy, the fact remains that in comparison to other cereal products, oatmeal remains very much underutilized.
The health benefits of consuming oatmeal are various and we will present you with some of the biggest ones on the list below:
- Weight loss support: Beta-glucan is a compound found in oatmeal that helps increase the presence of a hunger suppressing hormone. Eating oatmeal will thus help you suppress your urge to eat and in turn you will gain less weight. What is more, being rich in fiber, oatmeal will also help you feel full for longer, which will also help you eat less.
- Heart health benefits: The substantial amounts of potassium and calcium in oatmeal are known to reduce blood pressure and help your cardiovascular health. The soluble fiber present in oatmeal has also been linked with positive effects on heart health.
- Energy booster: The carbohydrates present in oatmeal are the so called complex carbs. The complex carbs are fantastic source of energy and are necessary for your muscle to draw energy from. Especially if you like to work out, oatmeal will be a great source of the needed fuel for your muscle.
- Skin protection: The effects of oatmeal on the skin pH levels have been documented in several studies including the one by American Academy of Dermatology. Oatmeal is one of the foods recommended for itchy and irritable skin relief. Oatmeal also contains a number of minerals that have positive effects on the skin health such as Zinc, Copper, Selenium and Niacin.
- Colon Cancer risk reduction: The high fiber concentration in oatmeal helps speed food through the intestines. This promotes good colon health and helps reduce the risk of colon cancer forming.
Is Oatmeal Gluten Free?
In its pure form oatmeal and oats themselves are absolutely gluten free. There is no gluten in oats. The problem, like with many other foods comes from contamination. In some cases gluten free food can get contaminated by gluten.
Oats are usually processed in big plants, which also process wheat, rye and other products that do contain gluten. This means that gluten contamination is a very real possibility, and if you are suffering from celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, you should be very careful with oatmeal, as it is possible for gluten to get in touch with the oats.
Is Oatmeal Paleo?
Despite what many people want to believe about oatmeal, the Paleo experts agree that Oatmeal is not Paleo. If you are looking to add carbs to your Paleo diet, something along the lines of sweet potatoes will do much better than oatmeal, despite it being closer to Paleo than wheat for example.
Paleo diet in short means that you should only eat the things that were available to cave people, who could only hunt and harvest the land. This means that no processed food whatsoever is allowed and unfortunately oatmeal does fall into this category. Cave people did not eat oatmeal, and neither should you.
Mark Sisson, a Paleo expert says: “Oatmeal is a perfect example of the essentially tasteless, but oddly comforting food that’s difficult to give up (judging from all the emails I get). It’s tough to explain, because it’s not like oatmeal is particularly delicious. It’s bland, unless you really dress it up. Better than wheat, worse (and more work to improve) than rice. There are numerous other food options that are superior to oats.”
Oatmeal is a very healthy choice to add to a normal diet, it is gluten free and contains various nutrients that are great for your general health. While it is not Paleo per se, oatmeal is way more healthy than most of other starches and there are hardly any downsides to eating oatmeal, other than if you are super keen on keeping a strictly Paleo diet.
There is a variety of ways to use oatmeal, from simply cooking and serving as such to making cookies and muffins from ground oats. While eating it on a regular basis may not be miracle cure for any condition, I would absolutely recommend it for any normal diet out there.