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Outstanding Oatmeal

Outstanding oatmeal in a bowl

Oatmeal for High Cholesterol?

While sometimes it may seem that eating healthy is too costly, oatmeal is one of nature's most nutritious foods available - and it's incredibly inexpensive.

Benefits of oatmeal are greatest for those who have high cholesterol levels. More than 40 scientific studies show that eating oatmeal can help lower blood cholesterol levels.

Experts believe it's the soluble fiber found in oats that helps reduce blood cholesterol levels.

How?

Oat Soluble Fiber

In simple terms, oat soluble fiber (beta glucan) helps control blood cholesterol by binding some of the cholesterol in your digestive tract. This cholesterol is "trapped" and removed from your body naturally.

Think of each rolled oat as a tiny sponge that soaks up cholesterol in your digestive tract.

Many people will experience a reduction in blood cholesterol if they eat 1-1/2 cups of cooked oatmeal (about 3/4 cup uncooked) providing 3 grams of oat soluble fiber (beta glucan) every day.

See also: Belly Byte:  Quaker Oatmeal Products

Oatmeal: Cancer Fighter?

Outstanding Oatmeal Have oatmeal for breakfast and help prevent breast cancer. Premenopausal women on diets rich in fiber from whole grains, like oats, reduce their risk by up to 41 percent, suggests a study in the International Journal of Epidemiology.

Oatmeal and Gluten

Need to follow a gluten-free diet External Link? Oats, by themselves and out in the field, don't contain any gluten but once processed, this changes things. The mill that hulls, cuts, chops, etc. oats into the form that you buy, has also been doing the same things to other grains such as barley, wheat and so on. As such, when you buy processed oats, you are actually getting oats with gluten contamination from the other grains. The only way to avoid this is to learn what company, or companies, make the oats yet handles nothing but oats. Otherwise consumers will get some gluten in their oatmeal product.

Other Oatmeal Benefits

Exercise Booster.

Eat some oatmeal pancakes for a better workout. British researchers found that foods like oatmeal up endurance when eaten about three hours before exercise. Oats trigger the body to burn fat more quickly to fuel muscles. Remember though, it's important to have an important diet and exercise.

Diet Helper.

Replace all purpose flour with home made oat flour (grind oats in a processor) for baking cookies, pancakes, and quick breads. You get twice the fiber so you feel fuller, but fewer calories.

Pore Refiner.

This mask, from a New York City Dermatologist, makes use of oats' saponins, cleansers that remove dirt from pores. Mix 1/2 cup oatmeal, 1/2 cup hot water, and 1/4 cup honey in a food processor. Let cool, and apply. Wait 10 minutes, and rinse.

Skin Aid

Not just a healthy breakfast, the beta glucan in real oatmeal can help your skin. Use a washcloth wrapped with oatmeal and rung into a sink to splash on your face for amazing results.

Energy Enhancer

Oatmeal is a fiber rich food that provides a quick boost of energy from carbohydrates, but will not result in a sugar crash that is common with many breakfast cereals. The fiber in oatmeal will feed the beneficial bacteria in your digestive tract, helping to keep the digestion system healthy. This means you can easily absorb the nutrients in oatmeal and avoid constipation.

Oatmeal: SO Nutritious!

Oatmeal is a good source of fiber, protein, manganese, and selenium. Furthermore, the fiber present in oats and oatmeal, is now linked with lower cholesterol levels.

In a one-cup cooked serving (which starts out as 1/2 cup uncooked), oatmeal contains over 6 grams of protein, plus oatmeal provides Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids - and that's just the beginning.

Bonus: Oatmeal keeps you full and energized! Learn to love oatmeal and other foods that offer complex carbohydrates like it - you'll be awfully glad you did.

Bowl of Oatmeal Oats can add extra nutrition to any number of dishes or desserts. We might find our cooking job faster if we use quick cooking oats but the quick oats do lack nutritional qualities that are lost in processing. For all types of oats, it is best to add the oats to cold water and then cook at a simmer.

Instead of eating the flavored instant kind (with preservatives and chemicals), make old fashioned or quick oats and add 100-percent fruit spread to sweeten and flavor it.

The ways to enjoy oatmeal are endless. Cook in your milk of choice and a few spices, some fruit or raw sugar for a simple breakfast treat. Regarding the milk, keep the fat out by using skim or at most, 2 percent fat free milk. If you're lactose intolerant, use Lactaid or Soy milk. For a flavor twist many don't think of, add a few spoonfuls of pumpkin for pumpkin pie in a bowl!

Nibbling on oats:

  • A great way to start your day-add your favorite nuts and fruits to a piping hot bowl of oatmeal.
  • Oatmeal cookies are a favorite for kids of all ages. Note: Oatmeal Cookie Day is March 18! Get out your favorite recipes! Or, try an Old Fashioned Oatmeal Cookie recipe.
  • Add oat flour or whole oats the next time you make bread or muffins.
  • Sprinkle oat bran on your hot or cold cereal.
  • Cherry Oatmeal. Bring 3/4 cup water, 1 tablespoon dried cherries, 1 tablespoon honey, and a pinch of cinnamon to boil in pan. Stir in 1/3 cup quick-cooking oats and return to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 1 minute. Makes 1-cup.

Stored in a cool, dry place, oatmeal will last up to a year. But you do want to buy a brand without any added sugars.

Speedy Oatmeal with Cocoa and Toasted Coconut

Bring 4 cups plain coconut milk beverage to a boil in medium saucepan. Stir in 2 cups quick oats, 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Return to a boil, then reduce heat to medium. Cook until thickened, about 2 minutes. Spoon into serving bowls and top with chopped almonds, toasted flaked coconut and a drizzle of maple syrup (optional).

Nutrition information per serving: 229 calories, 8g protein, 33g carbohydrate, 6g fiber, 2g sugars, 8.5g fat, 5.5g sat. fat, 161mg sodium.

Chewy Fruit and Oatmeal Bars Recipe

Oatmeal Fruit Bars 3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
One 8-ounce container vanilla or plain low-fat yogurt
2 egg whites, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons skim milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
3 cups oats (quick or old fashioned, uncooked)
1 cup diced dried mixed fruit, raisins, or dried cranberries

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In large bowl, combine sugars, yogurt, egg whites, oil, milk, and vanilla; mix well. In medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt; mix well. Add to yogurt mixture; mix well. Stir in oats and fruit. Spread dough onto bottom of ungreased 13x9-inch baking pan.

Bake 28 to 32 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool completely on wire rack. Cut into bars. Store tightly covered. Recipe makes 2 dozen.

1 bar equals:  Calories 145, Calories from Fat 20, Total Fat 2g, Saturated Fat 0g, Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 60mg, Dietary Fiber 2g

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