Oatmeal is one of the healthiest foods known for its high nutritional values.Oatmeal has been approved as a heart friendly food as it lowers cholesterol and lowers the risk of heart diseases.

Types of Oats and Oatmeal
Oatmeal is a whole-grain cereal made from ground oat groats.It has very low fat content and is rich in soluble fibers called Beta-Glucan.
Oatmeal comes in several forms:

  • Instant Oatmeal-It is dried and precooked.It often contains sweeteners and other flavours as additive.
  • Rolled Oats-This old fashioned oats is steam processed and rolled into flakes.This helps the oats to stay fresh for a longer time.Rolled oats are used as an ingredient in muesli and granola.
  • Steel-cut Oats/Irish Oatmeal-The oat groats are chopped into small pieces using  large steel blades and are usually roasted.

Nutrition

  • Vitamins-Oatmeal is a good source of B-complex vitamin.Vitamin B is water soluble and is important for metabolic functions.
  • Minerals-Oatmeal cereal is a rich source of magnesium, zinc,iron,manganese and selenium.It also contains calcium,potassium and phosphorous.Magnesium supports the immune system and zinc promotes healing and growth.Phosphorous and calcium are good for bone and teeth.Iron helps to create red blood cells and thus prevent anemia.
  • Protein-One cup of cooked oatmeal has 6 grams of protein.It provides all the energy required by our body.
  • Carbohydrate-A cup of cooked oatmeal contains 28.08 g of carbohydrate.

Health Benefits

  • Soluble fibers present in oats and oatmeal lower the LDL or bad cholesterol in the body.
  • Phytochemicals in oats and oatmeal  can lower the risk of developing cancer.
  • Avenanthramides, a type of antioxidant are present in oats.This helps to reduce the risk of colon cancer.
  • Insoluble fibers in oats help to stabilize blood sugar and this can help patients with diabetes.

 Tips to make your Best Oatmeal

  • Oats can be slow cooked and even reheated.Reheating does not reduce the nutritional value of oats.
  • Instant oatmeal usually has higher glycemic index,you can add a little fat free or low fat milk and a few nuts to lower the glycemic index.
  • Steel-cut and rolled oats are considered superior to instant oats as they contain more fibers and nutrients.Steel cooked oats take atleast half and hour to cook while rolled oats can be cooked in 15 minutes.Add 2 parts water to one part oat while boiling.
  • You can add soy milk or low fat milk to your oats to get more calcium.
  • Pieces of fresh fruits like strawberry,kiwis,apple,banana or chikoo can be added to the oats.You can also add dried fruits like raisins.
  • Add a dash of Cinnamon,pumpkin seeds or even cocoa to make your oats topping  more delicious.

http://mamasview.blogspot.in/2012/05/wonders-of-oats-and-oatmeal.html

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