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Health Benefits of Oatmeal

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Updated January 29, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

bowl of oatmeal

Oatmeal with bananas and blueberries.

Shereen Jegtvig

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.

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.

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. 

Types of Oatmeal

There are different types of regular oatmeal: steel cut, rolled, or quick-cooking, oatmeal. They have slightly different textures and cooking times; however, they are about the same nutritionally.

Instant oatmeal is high in sugar and may contain artificial flavorings and ingredients that some people prefer to avoid. 

Sources:

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/

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