Oatmeal — it’s cheap, easy to prepare and has a great shelf life. What’s more, it tastes great and is highly nutritious. That may be why it's the one whole grain that Americans love to eat, as reported by The Seattle Times. Americans consumed 4.8 pounds of oats per capita in 2018, a number that has held relatively steady over the past couple of decades. Why is this superfood a favorite for many? That's right, we called it a superfood.
Regular consumption of oatmeal can lower cholesterol, maintain blood sugar levels and make a pretty spectacular impact on health. It may even help with weight loss — assuming it's not loaded with sweeteners and fat-laden add-ons. Let's take a closer look.
Not only is it delicious, but oatmeal is also nutritious. Packed with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, a one-half cup serving of dry oats is a gluten-free food containing 13 grams of protein, 51 grams of carbs and 8 grams of fiber. And it’s low in fat. There are antioxidants galore, some of which are found almost exclusively in oats. And even one-half cup of oatmeal contains measurable percentages of the RDI of thiamin, pantothenic acid, folate, iron, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, copper, manganese, and it even has calcium, niacin, and potassium in smaller but not insignificant amounts.
Eating it regularly can produce real results. Check these possibles out:
Oats are extremely affordable. While prices vary according to brand and package size, oatmeal generally costs somewhere around 4.3 cents per one-cup serving. Even when eating on the run, you can often purchase prepared oatmeal from a restaurant, co-op, grocery store, or coffee shop for around $2 to $3. Another thing that makes oatmeal so affordable is its shelf life. It lasts for 1 to 2 years, which means there is little to no food waste associated with its use.
Oats and oatmeal can be used in many ways. Quaker Oats has a database of recipes for cookies, pies, muffins, oat bars, turkey meatloaf and more! Plus, you can spruce up an ordinary bowl of oatmeal with fruit, nuts, syrup, chocolate chips, honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, milk and cream. Some even eat savory oats, using it much like you would rice by mixing in mushrooms, spinach, and other ideas to create a savory dinner oatmeal. You can mix and match toppings. The options are endless.
Oats are a great crop for farmers. When used in a crop-rotation strategy, oats can reduce diseases and pests, while increasing the yield for crops that are planted after them. Oats use less of the ground’s nutrients, don’t need as many herbicides, prevent soil erosion and don’t require as much water as many other grain crops. All in all, oats are a very sustainable and beneficial crop when used in rotation.
Sustainable, versatile, inexpensive and nutritious, oatmeal is a comforting superfood that many people love to eat. How about you? How much oatmeal do you consume daily? If it’s not 1.5 cups per day, there’s room for you to eat more. Just be sure not to add too much sugar or other sweeteners, as this can offset the health benefits associated.