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One of my favorite ways to start the day is with a super-satisfying bowl of oatmeal. Packed with soluble fiber, nutrients, and whole grain carbohydrates, oatmeal is a simple and delicious way to boost your health and energy while you’re expecting and after the baby arrives.
Bonus: It’s a great “Mommy and Me” breakfast for you and your future toddler, too!
Already an oatmeal fan? I’ve got some fun ideas for easy add-ins to keep things interesting. They’re also a great way to bump up the nutrition in your bowl and build a better breakfast with fiber and vitamins from fruit and healthy fats and omegas from nuts.
But first, here’s a quick rundown on some of oatmeal’s many health benefits:
Lower Cholesterol and Better Heart Health: Oats contain a specific type of fiber called beta-glucan that studies have shown reduces levels of bad cholesterol. A daily dose of 3g of fiber (found in a serving of oatmeal) can lower cholesterol by up to 23%. Oatmeal also contains lignans, a plant chemical that has been found to prevent heart disease.
Stabilize Blood Sugar: Because oatmeal is so rich in fiber and it's a whole grain food, eating it will help keep your blood sugar level. This helps prevent the mid-morning crash that comes from eating refined sugars and processed carbs found in traditional breakfast cereals. Eating more whole grains also lowers your risk for several diseases including high blood pressure and certain cancers.
Lower Risk of Diabetes: A great source of iron and B vitamins, oatmeal also contains high amounts of magnesium which helps your body properly use glucose and secrete insulin. Studies have shown a decreased risk of type 2 diabetes in women who regularly eat a magnesium rich diet high in whole grains like oatmeal.
Convinced…but wondering whether to choose instant, old fashioned or steel cut oats? Here’s the difference:
The USDA database shows that instant oatmeal has the same nutritional profile as old-fashioned oats. The difference lies in the glycemic index (or how quickly a food increases your blood sugar within a 2-hour-period).
Because instant oatmeal has been processed to cook more quickly, it’s also broken down and digested more quickly by your body, giving it a higher glycemic index.
It’s best to avoid prepackaged/flavored instant oatmeal that may be high in sodium and sugar. If you do choose instant go for plain and add a little healthy fat or protein to bump up its glycemic index so you stay satisfied longer.