Maybe “porridge” doesn’t sound sexy to you. Nevertheless, it is one of the healthiest and most sensible breakfasts of all. Oatmeal is the perfect way to start the day, providing you with energy without over-filling and with all sorts of health benefits.
But oatmeal is also a perfect choice for the small hunger in between or before training. We explain why this is so and how you can best prepare the flakes.
What exactly is oatmeal?
These are nutritious components of the grain oats. For the oat flakes, only the non-edible parts are removed from the oats. The valuable and nutrient-rich outer layers are preserved, so that oat flakes are bursting with healthy nutrients – in contrast to husked grain, where the outer layers and the germ of the grain are removed.
How healthy is oatmeal?
Among all cereals, oats contain the most vitamin B1 (0.55 milligrams per 100 grams), and a lot of vitamin B6 (0.16 milligrams per 100 grams). Both vitamins can only be stored in the body to a limited extent. In order to prevent deficiency symptoms, which can take the form of irritated skin, listlessness and a limited immune system, you should eat foods that are high in vitamin B1 and B6 regularly, preferably daily.
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But oatmeal can do much more. Let us tell you why we love oatmeal.
1. oat flakes help with weight loss
For breakfast, it is best to eat light rolls or toast with jam or chocolate cream, and to raise your blood sugar level, and consequently your insulin level, rapidly. Because the ingredients of this sweet breakfast are wheat flour and sugar – and these are quickly absorbed into the blood and provide a short-term energy boost. The real problem, however, is a different one: as quickly as your blood sugar level has risen, it falls again.
As a result, you stand in front of the refrigerator with ravenous appetite.
B vitamins, copper, manganese and zinc care from the inside. © Rido / Shutterstock.com
If you’d had an oatmeal breakfast, this wouldn’t have happened to you. This is because the complex carbohydrates cause the blood sugar level to rise only slowly and the body is supplied with energy for a long time.
Long-chain carbohydrates are much more branched in structure than simple carbs, for example from toast with jam, and are more difficult for the body to break down. Therefore, the carbohydrate building blocks (glucose) enter the blood much more slowly, the blood sugar remains constant at a level that signals our brain “I am full”. This reduces the risk of ravenous attacks.
2. oatmeal makes you beautiful
Okay, maybe that’s a little overkill. But from a beauty point of view, they have a lot to offer: Since oatmeal is rich in B vitamins (e.g. the beauty vitamin biotin), as well as trace elements such as copper (0.53 milligrams per 100 grams), manganese (4.5 milligrams per 100 grams) and zinc (4.3 milligrams per 100 grams), you can do a hell of a lot for your good looks at breakfast.
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Because all these antioxidants and small beauty boosters ensure healthy, shiny hair, clean skin and strong fingernails. They protect you from free radicals and premature skin aging.
Without copper, your body cannot form melanin (colour pigment present in your skin and hair). In addition, copper ensures that enough collagen and elastin are produced – both of which ensure firm connective tissue. Manganese also supports the production of collagen and zinc is responsible for protein metabolism and cell division.
By the way: A zinc deficiency is widespread in Germany. White spots on your fingernails can be an indication that you are not consuming enough zinc.
3. fibre in oats stimulates digestion
The fibre contained in the oat flakes is a real filling. Dietary fibres are indigestible plant fibres that swell in the gastrointestinal tract, increase stool volume and stimulate digestion properly. Saturation sets in more quickly, because fibre-rich foods usually need to be chewed well, giving your body more time to better perceive the onset of satiety.
The fibre of the oat flakes stimulates the digestion and keeps you full for a long time. © Max4e Photo / Shutterstock.com
The German Society for Nutrition (DGE ) recommends a daily intake of 30 grams of dietary fibre. This is not so easy for many people, but with a portion of oat flakes of 50 grams you already take in 5 grams. Combine then still fresh fruit, nuts and cores in addition, create it loosely on 10 gram per meal and covered thereby already a third of your daily need.
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Tip: It does not make sense to consume a lot of fibre only once a day, for example through wheat bran. You should rather make sure that you cover your fibre requirement throughout the day with different foods such as wholemeal products, vegetables and fruit.
4. oat flakes provide more power during sports
Oatmeal is a real fitness superfood: the healthy flakes are excellent energy suppliers, providing you with a real “all-round carefree package” of nutrients both before and after your workout. If you eat a portion of oatmeal (50 grams) around 2 hours before a hard workout or a run, the long-chain carbohydrates (31 grams) guarantee plenty of energy.
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Besides, Oats are not heavy in the stomach. As a post-workout meal, in combination with milk and fruit, you replenish the body’s empty glycogen stores and also supply the body with vegetable protein (7.5 grams) and healthy, unsaturated fatty acids (3 grams).
The long-chain carbohydrates provide you with energy during training. © Jacob Lund / Shutterstock.com
Plus: Cereal flakes are among the top magnesium suppliers (134 grams per 100 grams) – magnesium is known to be the sports mineral par excellence. Among other things, it protects against annoying muscle cramps and improves your ability to regenerate after sport.
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5. oat flakes are a top protein source
Fish, meat and eggs are often the most common sources of protein for “all-eaters”. For vegetarians and especially vegans, however, these protein sources fall flat. It’s only good that there is oatmeal, because the small all-round talents are a good source of vegetable protein: one portion of oatmeal (50 grams) provides 7.5 grams of protein.
It is best to combine different protein-rich foods in one meal (e.g. oatmeal with milk). This increases the biological value and the body can use the absorbed protein even better to build up the body’s own protein.
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By the way: The fat in oatmeal is also healthy, as it is rich in unsaturated fatty acids. And when combined with dairy products, oatmeal can contribute to an optimal protein supply – especially for vegetarians.
6. oats relieve gastrointestinal complaints
Oatmeal has long been considered a proven aid for gastrointestinal complaints. The indigestible fibres form a protective layer on the stomach and intestinal mucous membrane and keep the acidic gastric juice away from the mucous membrane. Regular consumption prevents gastrointestinal complaints in the long term, and in the case of acute complaints, an oatmeal porridge (boiled in water or milk, lightly seasoned with salt and/or a little sugar according to taste) helps to revive digestion.
7. oatmeal recipes are simple and versatile
For the classic porridge you only need oatmeal, milk and fruit. © Melissa Belanger / Unsplash.com
Not only are oat flakes much cheaper than muesli mixes or granola, but they are also much more versatile in the kitchen: Recipes with the power flakes are incredibly easy to prepare and taste both sweet and savory (for example, as crispy breading),
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Recipe for the classic porridge
The classic oatmeal recipe is the porridge. The term porridge is mainly used in Great Britain. In the USA they call it Oatmeal, in Germany – quite unsexy – porridge.
You do not need a ready-made product for the preparation, because you can make your own porridge quickly and easily. Simply boil the oatmeal in milk or water, let it simmer briefly, sweeten it a bit as you like and you have a healthy breakfast. Now you can top it off with fresh fruit, nuts & co.
Recipe for Overnight Oats
Oatmeal provides long-chain carbs and vegetable protein. © Yulia Sverdlova / Shutterstock.com
No time in the morning? Then Overnight Oats are the perfect solution! Because the “Overnight Oats” prepare you the evening before, let everything swell overnight and you can spoon up a delicious breakfast the next morning or just take it to work and eat it there.
- 50 g oat flakes
- 150 ml (vegetable) milk
- 1 pinch of cinnamon
Simply place all ingredients in a screw-top jar, stir well, then shake again and simply leave to stand overnight. If you like, add a teaspoon of chia seeds, which swell up a lot and bind the porridge additionally. In the morning you can add fresh fruit. But you can also add the fruit to the oatmeal, e.g. berries of all kinds, grated apples or pieces of banana. What tastes good is allowed.
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Oatmeal is a real all-rounder, because it is a weight loss and fitness food in one. They keep you full for a long time and give you plenty of power during training. Plus: they are not expensive.