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Whole Grain Benefits

9 Health Benefits of Eating Oats and Oatmeal

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Oats are one of the healthiest grains on earth.

They’re a gluten-free whole grain and a great source of essential vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants.

Studies show that oats and oatmeal have many health benefits.

These include weight loss, lower blood sugar levels, and a reduced risk of heart disease.

Here are 9 evidence-based health benefits of consuming oats and oatmeal.

What are oatmeal and oatmeal?

Oats are whole grain foods scientifically known as Avena sativa.

Oat groats, the most intact and complete form of oats, take a long time to cook. For this reason, most of the people prefer rolled oats, rolled oats, or steel cut oats.

Instant (fast) oats are the most processed variety. Although they take the shortest time to cook, the texture can be mushy.

Oats are often eaten for breakfast as oatmeal, which is made by boiling oats in water or milk. Oatmeal is often called porridge.

They’re also often found in muffins, granola bars, cookies, and other baked goods.

Bottom line:

Oats are whole grains that are often eaten as oatmeal (porridge) for breakfast.

1. Oats are incredibly nutritious

The nutritional composition of oats is balanced.

They’re a good source of carbohydrates and fiber, including the powerful fiber beta-glucan (1, 2, 3).

They also contain more protein and fat than most grains (4).

Oats are loaded with important vitamins, minerals and antioxidant plant compounds. Half a cup (78 grams) of dry oats contains (5):

  • Manganese: 191% of FDI
  • Phosphorus: 41% of the RDI
  • Magnesium: 34% of FDI
  • Copper: 24% of FDI
  • Iron: 20% of the RDI
  • Zinc: 20% of the RDI
  • Folate: 11% of the RDI
  • Vitamin B1 (thiamine): 39% of the RDI
  • Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid): 10% of the RDI
  • Lower amounts of calcium, potassium, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) and vitamin B3 (niacin)

This comes with 51 grams of carbohydrates, 13 grams of protein, 5 grams of fat, and 8 grams of fiber, but only 303 calories.

This means that oats are among the most nutritious foods you can eat.

Bottom line:

Oats are high in carbohydrates and fiber, but also more protein and fat than most other grains. They are very rich in many vitamins and minerals.

2. Whole grain oats are high in antioxidants, including avenanthramides

Whole grain oats are rich in antioxidants and beneficial plant compounds called polyphenols. Most notable is a unique group of antioxidants called avenanthramides, found almost exclusively in oats (6).

Avenanthramides can help lower blood pressure by increasing the production of nitric oxide. This gas molecule helps widen blood vessels and leads to better blood flow (7, 8, 9).

In addition, avenanthramides have anti-inflammatory and antipruritic properties (9).

Ferulic acid is also found in large quantities in oats. This is another antioxidant (10).

Bottom line:

Oats contain many powerful antioxidants, including avenanthramides. These compounds can help lower blood pressure and provide other benefits.

3. Oats contain a powerful soluble fiber called beta-glucan

Oats contain large amounts of beta-glucan, a type of soluble fiber.

Beta-glucan partially dissolves in water and forms a thick, gel-like solution in the intestine.

Some of the health benefits of beta-glucan fiber include:

  • Reduced LDL and Total Cholesterol Levels (1)
  • Reduced blood sugar and insulin response (11)
  • Increased feeling of fullness (12)
  • Increased growth of good bacteria in the digestive tract (13)

Bottom line:

Oats are rich in the soluble fiber beta-glucan, which has numerous benefits. It helps to lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels, promotes healthy intestinal bacteria and increases the feeling of satiety.

4. They can lower cholesterol and protect LDL cholesterol from damage

Heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide. An important risk factor is high blood cholesterol.

Many studies have shown that the beta-glucan fiber in oats is effective at lowering both total and LDL cholesterol levels (1, 14).

Beta-glucan can increase the excretion of high-cholesterol bile, thereby lowering circulating cholesterol levels in the blood.

The oxidation of LDL (the “bad”) cholesterol, which occurs when LDL reacts with free radicals, is another critical step in the progression of heart disease.

It causes inflammation in the arteries, damages tissues, and can increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

One study reports that antioxidants in oats work along with vitamin C to prevent LDL oxidation (15).

Bottom line:

Oats can lower the risk of heart disease by lowering both total and LDL cholesterol and by protecting LDL cholesterol from oxidation.

5. Oats can improve blood sugar control

Type 2 diabetes is a widespread disease that is characterized by significantly increased blood sugar levels. It usually results from a decreased sensitivity to the hormone insulin.

Oats can help lower blood sugar levels, especially in people who are overweight or have type 2 diabetes (16, 17, 18).

They can also improve insulin sensitivity (19).

These effects are mainly attributed to beta-glucan’s ability to form a thick gel that delays gastric emptying and the absorption of glucose into the blood (20).

Bottom line:

Due to the soluble fiber beta-glucan, oats can improve insulin sensitivity and lower blood sugar levels.

6. Oatmeal is very filling and can help you lose weight

Oatmeal (porridge) is not only a delicious breakfast meal, but also very filling (21).

Eating filling foods can help you eat fewer calories and lose weight.

The beta-glucan in oatmeal can increase your feeling of fullness by delaying the time it takes your stomach to empty (12, 22).

Beta-glucan can also promote the release of peptide YY (PYY), a hormone made in the gut in response to food. This satiety hormone has been shown to reduce caloric intake and may reduce your risk of obesity (23, 24).

Bottom line:

Oatmeal can help you lose weight by making you feel full. It does this by slowing down gastric emptying and increasing the production of the satiety hormone PYY.

7. Finely ground oats can help with skin care

It is no accident that oats are found in many skin care products. Manufacturers of these products often list finely ground oats as “colloidal oatmeal”.

The FDA approved colloidal oatmeal as a skin protecting substance back in 2003. In fact, however, oats have long been used in the treatment of itching and irritation in various skin conditions (25, 26, 27).

For example, oat-based skin products can improve uncomfortable symptoms of eczema (28).

Note that skin care benefits apply only to oats applied to the skin, not what is eaten.

Bottom line:

Colloidal oatmeal (finely ground oats) has long been used to treat dry and itchy skin. It can help relieve the symptoms of various skin conditions, including eczema.

8. You can reduce the risk of childhood asthma

Asthma is the most common chronic disease in children (29).

It’s an inflammatory disease of the airways – the tubes that carry air to and from a person’s lungs.

While not all children have the same symptoms, many have recurrent coughs, wheezing, and shortness of breath.

Many researchers believe that introducing solid foods early can increase a child’s risk of developing asthma and other allergic diseases (30).

However, studies suggest that this does not apply to all foods. For example, introducing oats early can actually be protective (31, 32).

One study reports that feeding oatmeal to infants before 6 months of age is linked to a reduced risk of asthma in children (33)

Bottom line:

Some research suggests that fed oats to young children may prevent asthma in children.

9. Oats can help relieve constipation

Older people often suffer from constipation with infrequent, irregular bowel movements that are difficult to pass.

Laxatives are often used to relieve constipation in the elderly. However, while effective, they have also been linked to weight loss and reduced quality of life (34).

Studies show that oat bran, the high-fiber outer layer of grain, can help relieve constipation in the elderly (35, 36).

One study found that the well-being improved in 30 elderly patients who consumed a soup or dessert made with oat bran every day for 12 weeks (37).

In addition, 59% of these patients were able to stop using the laxatives after the 3-month study, while the total laxative consumption in the control group increased by 8%.

Bottom line:

Studies suggest that oat bran can help reduce constipation in the elderly, greatly reducing the need to use laxatives.

Here’s how to incorporate oats into your diet

You can enjoy oats in a number of different ways.

The most popular way is simply to have oatmeal (porridge) for breakfast.

Here’s a very easy way to make oatmeal:

  • 1/2 cup oatmeal
  • 1 cup (250 ml) water or milk
  • A pinch of salt

Put the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook the oatmeal, stirring occasionally, until tender.

To make oatmeal tastier and even more nutritious, you can add cinnamon, fruits, nuts, seeds, and / or Greek yogurt.

Oats are also often found in baked goods, muesli, muesli and bread.

Although oats are naturally gluten-free, they are sometimes contaminated with gluten. That’s because they can be harvested and processed using the same equipment as other gluten-containing grains (38).

If you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, choose oat products that are certified gluten-free.

Bottom line:

Oats can be a good addition to a healthy diet. They can be eaten as oatmeal (porridge) for breakfast, added to baked goods, and more.

Oats are incredibly good for you

Oats are an incredibly nutritious food full of essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

In addition, they are high in fiber and protein compared to other grains.

Oats contain some unique components – notably the soluble fiber beta-glucan and antioxidants called avenanthramides.

Benefits include lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels, protection against skin irritation, and reduced constipation.

In addition, they are very filling and have many properties that should make them a slimming friendly food.

At the end of the day, oats are among the healthiest foods you can eat.

Whole Grain Benefits

For the 55-and-over crowd, March 27-April 3, 2022 | Local News

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For information about services available to older adults, contact Pam Jacobsen, director of the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program and Helen Mary Stevick Senior Citizens Center, 2102 Windsor Place, C, at 217-359-6500.

RSVP and the Stevick Center are administered by Family Service of Champaign County.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

  • Active Senior Republicans in Champaign County’s monthly meeting will be held at 9:30 am on April 4 in the Robeson Pavilion Room A & B at the Champaign Public Library. This month’s speakers will be Jesse Reising, Regan Deering and Matt Hausman, Republican primary candidates for the newly redrawn 13th Congressional District.
  • Parkland Theater House needs four ushers each night for “The SpongeBob Musical,” opening April 14. There will be nine shows in total — April 14-16, April 22-24 and April 29-May 1. For details, call or email Michael Atherton, Parkland Theater House Manager, theatre@parkland.edu or 217-373-3874.
  • Parkland College also needs four volunteers for commencement. The commencement ceremony will be in person at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts at 8 pm May 12. Volunteers needed from 6:30 to 8 pm For details, contact Tracy Kleparski, Director of Student Life, at TKleparski@parkland.edu or 217- 351-2206.
  • The Milford High School National Honor Society and Student Council is hosting a Senior Citizens Banquet at 6 pm April 22. The event will be held in the MAPS #124 Gymnasium (park at south doors at Milford High School. To RSVP, call Sandy Potter at 815-471-4213.

STEVICK CENTER ACTIVITIES

Knit or crochet for those in need:

Meditative Movement with Yoga:

  • 9 to 10:15 am Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Bingo:

  • 11 am to noon, second and fourth Tuesdays. Call 217-359-6500.

Bridge:

  • Noon to 3 pm Thursdays.

Euchar:

Card game 13:

  • To sign up to play, call 217-359-6500 and ask for Debbie.

Men’s group:

  • 9 am Monday-Friday. Join us for a cup of coffee and great conversation.

HOT LUNCH PROGRAM

The Peace Meal Nutrition Program provides daily hot lunches at 11:30 am for a small donation and a one-day advance reservation at sites in Champaign, Urbana, Rantoul, Sidney (home delivery only), Mahomet (home delivery only) and Homer.

For reservations, call 800-543-1770. Reservations for Monday need to be made by noon Friday.

NOTE: There is no change for home deliveries, but at congregate sites, you can get a carry-out meal.

Sunday:

  • BBQ pork sandwich, mini potato bakers, corn, creamy cole slaw, bun.

Tuesday:

  • Turkey pot roast with carrots and celery, Italian green beans, pineapple, whole grain roll.

Tuesday:

  • Savory sausage stew, broccoli, chunky apple sauce, biscuit, surprise dessert.

Tuesday:

  • Meatloaf, mashed potatoes and brown gravy, tomatoes and zucchini, apricots, whole-grain roll.

Friday:

  • Chef’s choice — regional favorites will be served.

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES

If you are 55 and older and want to volunteer in your community, RSVP (funded by AmeriCorps Seniors and the Illinois Department on Aging) provides a unique link to local nonprofits needing help. We offer support, benefits and a safe connection to partner sites.

Contact Pam Jacobsen at rsvpchampaign@gmail.com or 217-359-6500.

CURRENT NEEDS

Senior Volunteers.

  • RSVP of Champaign, Douglas and Piatt counties/AmeriCorps Senior Volunteers is your link to over 100 nonprofit organizations. Please contact Pam Jacobsen at rsvpchampaign@gmail.com or call 217-359-6500 for volunteer information.

Food for seniors. Handlers needed to unload boxes of food for repackaging at 7 am on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month. We are looking for backup delivery drivers to deliver food to seniors. Contact Robbie Edwards at 217-359-6500 for info.

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Whole Grain Benefits

The future of nutrition advice

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By Lisa Drayer, CNN

(CNN) — Most of us know we should eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

So why would the National Institutes of Health spend $150 million to answer questions such as “What and when should we eat?” and “How can we improve the use of food as medicine?”

The answer may be precision nutrition, which aims to understand the health effects of the complex interplay among genetics, our microbiome (the bacteria living in our gut), our diet and level of physical activity, and other social and behavioral characteristics.

That means that everyone could have their own unique set of nutritional requirements.

How is that possible? I asked three experts who conduct precision nutrition research: Dr. Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology and chair of the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, and Martha Field and Angela Poole, both assistant professors in the division of nutritional sciences at Cornell University’s College of Human Ecology.

Below is an edited version of our conversation.

CNN: How is precision nutrition different from current nutrition advice?

dr Frank Hu: The idea of ​​precision nutrition is to have the right food, at the right amount, for the right person. Instead of providing general dietary recommendations for everyone, this precision approach tailors nutrition recommendations to individual characteristics, including one’s genetic background, microbiome, social and environmental factors, and more. This can help achieve better health outcomes.

CNN: Why is there no one-size-fits-all prescription when it comes to what we should be eating?

Huh: Not everyone responds to the same diet in the same way. For example, given the same weight-loss diet, some people can lose a lot of weight; other people may gain weight. A recent study in JAMA randomized a few hundred overweight individuals to a healthy low-carb or low-fat diet. After a year, there was almost an identical amount of weight loss for the two groups, but there was a huge variation between individuals within each group — some lost 20 pounds. Others gained 10 pounds.

Martha Field: Individuals have unique responses to diet, and the “fine adjust” of precision nutrition is understanding those responses. This means understanding interactions among genetics, individual differences in metabolism, and responses to exercise.

CNN: How do we eat based on precision nutrition principles now?

Huh: There are some examples of personalized diets for disease management, like a gluten-free diet for the management of celiac disease, or a lactose-free diet if you are lactose intolerant. For individuals with a condition known as PKU (phenylketonuria), they should consume (a) phenylalanine-free diet. It’s a rare condition but a classic example of how your genes can influence what type of diets you should consume.

Angela Poole: If I had a family history of high cholesterol, diabetes or colon cancer, I would increase my dietary fiber intake, eating a lot of different sources, including a variety of vegetables.

fields: If you have high blood pressure, you should be more conscious of sodium intake. Anyone with a malabsorption issue might have a need for higher levels of micronutrients such as B vitamins and some minerals.

CNN: There is research showing that people metabolize coffee differently. What are the implications here?

Huh: Some people carry fast caffeine-metabolizing genes; others carry slow genes. If you carry fast (metabolizing) genotypes, you can drink a lot of caffeinated coffee because caffeine is broken down quickly. If you are a slow metabolizer, you get jittery and may not be able to sleep if you drink coffee in the afternoon. If that’s the case, you can drink decaf coffee and still get the benefits of coffee’s polyphenols, which are associated with decreased risk of heart disease and diabetes without the effects of caffeine.

CNN: How much of a role do our individual genes play in our risk of disease? And can our behavior mitigate our disease risk?

Huh: Our health is affected by both genes and diets, which constantly interact with each other because certain dietary factors can turn on or off some disease-related genes. We published research showing that reducing consumption of sugary beverages can offset the negative effects of obesity genes. That’s really good news. Our genes are not our destiny.

Another area of ​​precision nutrition is to measure blood or urine metabolites, small molecules produced during the breakdown and ingestion of food. For example, having a higher concentration of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) strongly predicts one’s future risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The blood levels of BCAAs depend on individuals’ diet, genes and gut microbiome. We found that eating a healthy (Mediterranean-style) diet can mitigate harmful effects of BCAAs on cardiovascular disease. So measuring BCAAs in your blood may help to evaluate your risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease and encourage dietary changes that can lower the risk of chronic diseases down the road.

fields: The environmental effects can sometimes be on the same magnitude as the genetic effects with respect to risk for disease.

CNN: Our individual microbiomes may be able to dictate what type of diet we should be consuming. Can you tell us about this emerging research? And what do you think of microbiome tests?

Poole: Research has shown that in some people, their blood sugar will spike higher from eating bananas than from eating cookies, and this has been associated with microbiome composition. Scientists have used microbiome data to build algorithms that can predict an individual’s glucose response, and this is a major advance. But that’s not an excuse for me to shovel down cookies instead of bananas. Likewise, if the algorithm suggests eating white bread instead of whole-wheat bread due to blood glucose responses, I wouldn’t just eat white bread all the time.

At the moment, I’m not ready to spend a lot of money to see what’s in my gut microbiome… and the microbiome changes over time.

Huh: Microbiome tests are not cheap, and the promise that this test can help develop a personalized meal plan that can improve blood sugar and blood cholesterol … at this point, the data are not conclusive.

CNN: How will nutrition advice be different 10 years from now?

Poole: I think you will receive a custom-tailored grocery list on an app — foods that you want to buy and foods that you want to avoid, based on your blood sugar responses to foods, your level of physical activity and more.

Huh: We will have more and better biomarkers and more affordable and accurate nutrigenomics and microbiome tests as well as better computer algorithms that predict your response to food intakes.

But these technologies cannot substitute general nutrition principles such as limiting sodium and added sugar and eating more healthy plant foods. In a few years, you may be able to get a more useful response from Alexa if you ask her what you should eat — but like other answers from Alexa, you’ll have to take it with a grain of salt.

The CNN Wire
™ & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

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Whole Grain Benefits

Are Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches Healthy?

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In order to assess its nutritional value, first we must discuss the breakdown of this sandwich.

Typically, there are three main ingredients — bread, peanut butter, and jelly — each with different nutritional values.

Nutritional value of bread

Bread can be a part of a balanced diet. The nutritional value of bread depends on the type chosen.

For starters, whole-grain bread is the best option because it provides a higher amount of nutrients. Whole grain kernels have three parts: the bran, endosperm, and germ (1).

Because whole grain bread retains all three parts, it’s higher in protein and fiber compared with other breads. These nutrients slow the absorption of sugar into your blood stream and keep you full longer (2, 3).

Whole grain bread is also richer in key nutrients, like B vitamins, iron, folate, and magnesium. Look for the word “whole” as part of the first ingredient in bread’s nutritional label (2).

Choosing sprouted grain bread, like Ezekiel bread, is also an excellent choice. The sprouting process increases digestibility and bioavailability of nutrients. Studies show sprouted bread has more fiber, vitamin E, and vitamin C, and beta-glucan (4).

Sourdough bread is fine, too. Although it’s not as high in fiber and protein, it has a lower glycemic index than white bread.

Glycemic index measures how quickly food increases blood sugars. In general, foods with a lower glycemic index better support your overall health.

But keep in mind that glycemic index doesn’t tell the whole story. We must look at the meal as a whole — for example, what we add to the bread. Nutrients, like protein and fats, can help lower the overall glycemic load of a meal, and serving sizes also play a role (5).

As a guideline, look for whole grain breads that offer at least 2 grams of fiber per slice. We also suggest using bread that contains 3 grams of protein or more per slice.

If that’s not available, sourdough bread may be your next best option.

Summary

Choose breads that are higher in fiber and protein, like whole grain bread or sprouted grain bread. These varieties help slow absorption of sugars and keep you full longer.

Nutritional value of peanut butter

Many people find peanut butter delicious.

Nutritionally, it also delivers. Peanut butter is a good source of protein and healthy fats, important for all stages of life, especially growing children. Plus, it’s a good source of fiber.

Two tablespoons (32 grams) of smooth peanut butter contain 7 grams of protein, 16 grams of fats, and 2 grams of fiber (6).

Importantly, the majority of fats in peanut butter are unsaturated fats. Research consistently indicates that replacing saturated fats found in animal products with more unsaturated fats (like those in peanut butter) may lower cholesterol and improve heart health (7, 8).

For growing kids, healthy fats are vital for healthy development. Plus, fats help absorb the vitamins A, D, E, and K, all of which play a synergistic role in supporting immune and brain health (9, 10).

Contrary to popular belief, conventional peanut butter doesn’t usually have more sugar than 100% natural peanut butter. However, it may have more salt (6).

When shopping, check the nutrition labels to ensure it doesn’t contain additional ingredients other than peanuts.

When enjoying natural peanut butter, the oil will separate from the peanut butter. Not to fret — just give it a good stir! This helps mix the oils with the solids.

Pro tip: You can store peanut butter upside down in the fridge to keep it from separating again!

Summary

When available, choose 100% natural peanut butter, as it’s lower in salt. Remember to stir the peanut butter before eating to mix the oils with the solids.

Nutritional value of jelly

The PB&J sandwich isn’t complete without jelly or jam. What’s the difference, anyway?

Well, while jellies and jams have similar nutritional value and taste, there’s a slight difference: Jellies are made with fruit juice, while jam is made with the fruit juice and pulp (7).

Both jellies and jams contain pectin (artificially added to jelly), which has prebiotic effects that may improve gut health (8).

However, both are naturally high in sugar, so enjoy them in moderation. To have more say in the ingredients used, you can try making your jelly at home.

If you’re buying from a store, look for jellies with no added sugar in the ingredients list. Alternative names for added sugars include glucose, sucrose, dextrose, and fructose.

Summary

Jellies are high in natural sugars and contain pectins that may have a beneficial effect in promoting good health. Try to choose jellies with no added sugars.

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