Oatmeal is now marketed extensively in the form of coarse oat groats, cut oats, crushed as well as rolled oats. It is either consumed independently, cooked with milk and sugar, or used to thicken soups and broths. The popular marketed forms also come with various flavor additives. Ready-to-eat oatmeal porridge, cookies, bread, and cakes are the different forms in which it is available. It is also used in cosmetics, soaps, alcohol, topical medical applications, and pet food.
A number of health benefits are attributed to regular intake of oatmeal. These include:
- Lowered blood cholesterol
- Reduced risk of heart disease
- Healthier metabolism
- Stabilized blood glucose levels
- Healthy weight control
- Normalized blood pressure
Oatmeal has a lot of soluble fiber content, which helps to lower cholesterol and aids in weight loss. The FDA analysis of oatmeal, in 1997, declared that its regular consumption not only reduced the risk of heart disease, but also contributed to a low-fat diet. The content of beta-glucan is capitalized by athletes and people who perform weight training. It is high in complex carbohydrates and fiber, and these nutrients not only slow down the digestion process, but also keep diabetes at bay.
Oatmeal offers the body a regular dose of Vitamin B. It also helps to remove bad cholesterol and maintain the level of good cholesterol in the body. It also assists in the process of weight loss. Research reveals that an oatmeal breakfast actually reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, by controlling the blood glucose levels. It has a larger content of soluble fiber than rice, whole wheat, or corn. It also aids in diet control for normalizing the blood pressure. Apart from this, it is also rich in minerals and antioxidants.
Research reveals that oatmeal is a good source of protein and iron. Studies are being conducted to check its role in reducing the risk of cancer. It has a mild flavor and mixes readily with any other pre-mix. It is popularly eaten as an individual breakfast component called porridge; but it is also used to thicken soups and desserts. Apart from this, it is very convenient to use, and can be prepared in a microwave or in the old-fashioned way by boiling it to a molten mix on the stove-top.
One of the most versatile features of this ingredient is that it can be cooked very easily in a short period of time. Athletes credit it as a source of strength and stamina. Even by itself, oatmeal is delicious. Since it easily takes on flavors, children could be introduced to it with little effort. Doctors around the world recommend oatmeal for longevity and good digestive health.
The vitamin B content in oatmeal is being highlighted to address the onslaught of serious health problems, such as memory impairment, cognition deficits, pernicious anemia, and adrenal system disorders. Its fiber content is currently being analyzed to study its role in reducing the onset of atherosclerosis, gallstones, diverticulosis, varicose veins, diarrhea, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, and colon cancer.