What happens to the body when you eat oatmeal every morning?

It is commonly believed that oatmeal in the morning is the key to health and energy for the whole day, and that it is difficult to find better breakfast alternatives.

The British are in solidarity with us, the morning diet rarely does without healthy cereals, but the French, Italians and many other nations do fine without porridge in their menu.

First of all, let’s quickly debunk the myth that any oatmeal is useful. This is not so. «Healthy» can be considered only the whole grain cereals or rough grinding cereals, welded on water or milk. All soluble porridge analogues typically contain large amounts of sugar, additives and flavour enhancers harmful to the body.

Secondly, not on every type of porridge you can lose weight. Many are sure that by including oatmeal in your diet, the weight loss process will start itself. The statement is practically true, but it is not specified here that the cereal must be coarse grinded, boiled on water, not on milk and without the addition of cream, and exclude sugar and its substitutes. Also, nutritionists recommend eating porridge on those days when you have a workout  - complex carbohydrates will be absorbed quicker in the presence of physical activity.

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Third, many will be surprised, but despite the popular opinion, oatmeal in its pure form is not the best option for a healthy breakfast. The fact is that it contains too little protein, which is needed for the body after awakening. So it is better to eat porridge either for the second breakfast, or combine with protein dishes - omelets, cheeses, cottage cheese or a slice of cheese.

Of course, there are healthy properties, about which doctors and nutritionists love to tell. Indeed, this cereal is primarily recommended to be included in the diet for acute gastrointestinal diseases, since it has enveloping properties, facilitating digestion and ridding the body of toxins. In this case, doctors recommend to boil and wipe the grain, since coarse dietary fiber can only harm the gastric mucosa.

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Also, due to the high content of fiber in the composition of oatmeal, it helps not only to normalize the functioning of the intestines, but also to lower the level of sugar and cholesterol in the blood. It contains the most important components for health - magnesium, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, iron, zinc and a whole mix of useful substances that are responsible for the formation and development of bones and muscle tissue: that is the reason why doctors recommend serve oat for children.

To make breakfast not only healthy, but also tasty, it is important to choose the right grain. As a rule, there are three main types of oatmeal presented in stores.

The first is whole grains, that has to be cooked long time. This option is considered as the most beneficial for the body due to the high concentration of vitamins, minerals and fiber. This way of cooking such grains, due to its rigidity, will take about 30 minutes.

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Much more popular are flakes made from whole grains. In this case, the grain is rolled by a press without heat treatment, and as a result it becomes less rigid without losing its useful properties. Such oatmeal can either be steamed with boiling water or simmered over low heat for 10-15 minutes.

The third type is parboiled cereal, which is considered the most convenient and fast option for breakfast. They just need to be poured with boiling water or hot milk. In this case, in addition to the press, grains are also treated with steam, because of which their stiffness decreases and they could be cooked faster.

It is believed that thermal exposure can destroy some of the useful components in the composition of cereals. However, the most valuable substances that make up oatmeal - natural antioxidant vitamin E, B vitamins and useful minerals (magnesium, potassium, zinc, phosphorus) - remain intact when cooked.

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Nutritionists are sure that the most delicious, and most importantly, healthy porridge will turn out if you mix several types of cereal at once: steamed, rolled and oat bran.  Thus, steamed flakes will create a tender base, tougher ones will give structure, and bran will make porridge healthier, since it is they that contain the most fiber.  As a basis, you can take the proportion 2:2:1. As for the cooking method, cereals boiled in milk can be no less useful than oatmeal in water. Choose a low-fat content and remember that vitamin E, which is predominant in oatmeal, is a fat-soluble component and requires fats to be absorbed. Therefore, it is recommended to add nuts or flaxseed oil to oatmeal on the water, and in case of lactose intolerance, regular milk can also be replaced with coconut or almond milk.

An important point: never add sugar to the porridge. Try to use its substitutes, fruits or dried fruits - they will add flavor to the oatmeal and will not harm the body. Fruits, unlike cereals, contain many vitamins, the beneficial properties of which disappear during heat treatment. Therefore, it is better not to cook them together with cereals, but put them on a plate, pour over hot porridge and leave for 5 minutes. Also, you can decorate it with fresh berries.

Cover photo by arianka ibarra on Unsplash

Julia Stecher is an award-winning fitness model, professional nutritionist, and certified personal trainer who provides personal training services in Zurich and online.

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