Eating a bowl of hot oatmeal for breakfast is a great way to warm up on a cold morning -- and it's good for you. Oatmeal is a whole grain and contains protein, minerals, and a soluble fiber called beta glucan that helps reduce total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol (the bad kind of cholesterol). Soluble fiber also helps keep your digestive system healthy.
A healthy breakfast may include oatmeal served with fresh berries, nuts or flax seeds, and a splash of low-fat milk or soy milk. Round out your breakfast with a slice of whole grain toast with peanut or nut butter and a glass of milk or orange juice. Cold cereals made with oats can be good for you too as long as you choose cereals with less than five grams sugar per serving.
Types of Oatmeal
There are different types of regular oatmeal: steel cut oatmeal, and rolled, or quick-cooking, oatmeal. They have slightly different textures and cooking times; however, they are about the same nutritionally. Instant oatmeal is packaged in individual serving packets. While they're easy and convenient to make, most instant oatmeals are high in sugar and may contain artificial flavorings and ingredients that some people prefer to avoid. But be careful, natural ingredients aren't always better than artificial ingredients.
Nutrition Information for Oatmeal
One cup of cooked oatmeal contains four grams of fiber, six grams of protein, two milligrams of iron, 63 milligrams of magnesium, and 12 milligrams of selenium. Without any added sugar or milk, one cup of cooked oatmeal has about 160 calories.
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American Heart Association. "Cholesterol, Fiber and Oat Bran." Accessed April 18, 2011. http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=4494
United States Department of Agriculture National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference. "Cereals, oats, regular and quick and instant, unenriched, cooked with water (includes boiling and microwaving), without salt." Accessed April 18, 2011. http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/search/