The Truth About Oatmeal: Is Oatmeal A Grain?

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I love oatmeal because it is rich in fiber and it helps me curb my cravings for other food. This very filling food makes me wonder sometimes, “Is oatmeal a grain?” If you don’t know the answer, you’re not alone. I wasn’t particularly sure of the answer, either which prompted me to learn more about it.

Based on what I have found out in my research, oatmeal is a whole grain that is rich in fiber. It is a great breakfast meal because it is packed with wonderful nutrients. To learn more about its benefits, preparation, and characteristics, continue reading below.​

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Oatmeal and Whole Grains

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According to Whole Grains Council, whole grains are able to retain their three original parts, which are the bran, germ, and endosperm. As compared to refined grains, whole grains are a better source of fiber and other essential nutrients. One of the few popular grains that were able to keep their bran and germ intact during processing is oatmeal.

The bran is the exterior part of the whole grain which contains essential antioxidants, fiber, and B vitamins. The germ is the part where a potential new plant may sprout. It is a great source of some protein, minerals, B vitamins, and healthy fats.​

The endosperm composes the largest part of the kernel. It is rich in protein, carbohydrate, and some amounts of minerals and vitamins.​

​Types of Oatmeal

All oatmeal is produced from oat groats, which are whole grains with their exterior hard husk eliminated. You can possibly find a number of various types of oatmeal in supermarkets.​

Watch this and see how each type of oats look like.​

1. Steel-cut oats

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Steel-cut oats or Irish oats are produced by cutting oat groats into small pieces. In comparison to conventional oats, this type of oats are: chewier, digested at a slower pace, and offer longer satisfaction. You may need to cook this variant for around 30 minutes.


​2. Rolled oats

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This may be the most common type of oatmeal. They’re produced by flattening the steamed oat groats. You need five minutes to cook this oat variant.​


​3. Quick cooking oats

Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Quick Cooking Oats

Via Amazon.com

​This type of oatmeal is produced by pressing the rolled oats into even thinner shreds and chopped into tiny pieces. This may need one or two minutes to cook.


3. Instant oatmeal​

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​This oatmeal variant is already precooked and dried. All you need to do is add boiling water to cook it. Although this may be very convenient, it may be added with sugar.

​Nutrition and Health Benefits of Whole Grains (Oatmeal)

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​According to American Heart Association, whole grains are great sources of essential nutrients, like B vitamins, folate, iron, magnesium, and selenium. B vitamins are essential in different biological functions. Folate assists in the creation of new cells and can ward off particular birth defects.Click to replace anchor text

Iron plays a significant role in the oxygenation of blood while magnesium is important in body processes. Additionally, selenium helps boost your immune system.​

Here are some of the health benefits that you can expect from a bowl of oatmeal every day.​

  • ​Reduce cholesterol levels

​Oatmeal contains beta-glucan, a particular type of fiber which reduces cholesterol levels. Studies demonstrate that a daily consumption of 3 grams of oatmeal may reduce the total cholesterol by 8-23%. This case simply correlates to the fact that oatmeal may reduce the danger of cardiovascular disease and stroke.

  • ​Revitalizes energy

​Oatmeal is rich in protein which offers calories and energy. In a 2006 study, results show that a consumption of oatmeal three hours before a run offers better endurance.

​Whole grains, like oatmeal, tend to reduce the rise of sugar blood levels, which is perfect for fat-burning stimulation during exercise. As it also helps normalize your blood sugar levels, it can help prevent type 2 diabetes.

  • ​Aids in Losing weight

​Oatmeal is a very filling food which helps curb your desire to eat more calories, thanks to its soluble dietary fiber, beta-glucan. As you eat fewer calories, you help lose those extra pounds in your body. You also lower risk of obesity in return.

  • ​Lower the risk of colon cancer

​The Dairy Council of California notes that the high fiber content of oatmeal may help minimize the risk of colon cancer. Through its fiber, the movement of food and waste can be hastened. More specifically, the insoluble fiber in oatmeal works as a laxative to prevent constipation.

Selecting the Healthiest Oatmeal​

Although all oatmeal offers a high content of fiber and other essential nutrients, not all of them is made equal. When selecting the best choice, you may need to be keen with its ingredients. Here are the selection tips that you may follow.

​First, determine the sugar content by looking at its nutritional facts label. Some instant oatmeal contains high amounts of sugar especially if they are the flavored kind.

Looking for at least six grams of sugar may be ideal, but I don’t think you can find that amount nowadays. To be safe, opt for the original flavor, just like this.​

The next ingredients that you should watch out for is the sodium and additive contents. An ideal cereal should have less than 2000 milligrams of sodium in every serving. It should not contain any preservatives as well, to be safe from harmful chemicals that may put your health at risk.

Whenever possible, choose for steel-cut oats over other types of oats. This because the steel-cut oats are the least processed and they consist more fiber. As we all know, processing minimizes health benefits, though it makes cooking time faster and simpler.

Some Preparation Ideas for Oatmeal

For more variety, cook your oatmeal in different ways. Here are some preparation ideas that you can follow.​

1. ​Mix oatmeal with fruits

​A great way to make your oatmeal taste more delicious is to add fruits. Instead of buying artificially flavored instant oatmeal, create your own naturally. You may use quick-cooking oatmeal or rolled oats.

Use dried cherries, banana, and raisins, like this recipe here. You may use any fruits that you want, like blueberries, apples, and strawberries. Other ingredients include milk and water.​

​Here are the steps that you should follow.

  • In a saucepan, cook the oatmeal under the simmering milk and water. Add the oats and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for another five minutes.
  • When it thickens, off the heat and throw in the rest of the ingredients.
  • Let it stand for 3 minutes and serve with maple syrup.

2. Make oatmeal cookies

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​Another way to enjoy your oatmeal is to turn them into soft cookies. They can be more nutritious as compared to conventional cookies as it adds more fiber to your diet. You may use any type of oatmeal except for instant oatmeal. Get the recipe here.

​3. Bake your oats

This dish might be very tedious but the great outcome makes it all worth it. Chop some walnuts, arrange the bananas in the baking dish, and bake for 40 minutes. You can get the full recipe here.

​4.  Create a comforting pumpkin oatmeal

Another way to revamp your basic oatmeal morning recipe is to add some pumpkin puree to the saucepan. Use rolled oats to have that high fiber content and avocado honey for that extra sweetness. Serve this meal with walnuts and honey as garnish. Get the full recipe here.

​5. Recreate your coffee cake with oatmeal

Instead of eating coffee cake for breakfast, make it more exciting and nutritious by using quick-cooking oats instead. Just stir the oats together with salt, baking powder, and sugar. Mix it with the wet ingredients and bake it for 30 minutes. You may this recipe here.

Recommended Oatmeal Serving per Day

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Like any other food, eating too much oatmeal may result to flatulence, stomach cramps, and bloating. However, as you get accustomed to the increase of fiber in your body, these conditions may subside. The insoluble fiber in oatmeal may also inhibit the absorption of nutrients as they get entangled with them.

You can avoid these problems by eating only the recommended serving of oatmeal per day. According to ChooseMyPlate.gov, women age 19-50 years old should consume 6 ounce equivalents or 3 cups of cooked oatmeal. Women 51 years old and above should have 5 ounce equivalents or 2 1/2 cups of cooked oatmeal.

You can avoid these problems by eating only the recommended serving of oatmeal per day. According to ChooseMyPlate.gov, women age 19-50 years old should consume 6 ounce equivalents or 3 cups of cooked oatmeal. Women 51 years old and above should have 5 ounce equivalents or 2 1/2 cups of cooked oatmeal.

Start You Day with a Bowl of Oatmeal

Oatmeal is a whole grain making it a healthy alternative for your breakfast meal. It is rich in fiber and other essential nutrients, but you should eat it as recommended. In buying instant oatmeal, select the original flavor .

Don’t be shy to leave your questions or suggestions in the comments section below. If you like this article, share it on your social media.​

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