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Food & Drink

5 Reasons your heart will thank you for starting the day with oatmeal

Here’s why health experts recommend oatmeal for Heart Month and every month

From the steel-cut oats craze to the overnight oats trend, oatmeal continues to find a way to our breakfast tables. And it’s a good thing, too. Dietitians and other health experts hold a special place in their hearts for oatmeal. Here are just a few reasons why.

Lowers Cholesterol

One bowl of old-fashioned oats provides 2 grams of soluble fiber. This type of fiber can help lower low-density lipoprotein (bad) cholesterol by binding to cholesterol and transporting it out of the body before it’s absorbed.

Good for the Gut

In addition to soluble fiber, oatmeal also contains another type of fiber called insoluble fiber —the kind that helps keep things moving through the digestive tract. This is also the kind of fiber that can help you feel full. Experts recommend eating at least 25 to 30 grams of fiber a day, so the 4 grams you get from a serving of oats helps put a dent in your daily intake. Tip: Add ½ cup of raspberries for an extra 4 grams of fiber.

Sustained Energy

In addition to the insoluble fiber keeping you full, oats contain complex carbohydrates that absorb more slowly than refined carbohydrates. This not only prevents a spike in blood sugar, it also provides a sustained release of energy. In other words, one serving of oatmeal will go a long way in getting you through the morning without hunger pains.

There’s Protein, Too

Whole grains are more than just fiber and complex carbohydrates — they contain protein, too. For example, one serving of Old Fashioned Quaker Oats provides 5 grams of protein to start your day. Replacing high-fat proteins with lean or plant-based proteins, such as those found in whole grains, may help reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease.

So. Many. Possibilities.

It’s true that oats are great for baking and adding a nutty, lightly toasted, somewhat malty flavor to breads, cookies and bars. But when it comes to a warm bowl of oatmeal in the morning, the mix-ins and flavor combos are endless — making it easy to eat regularly without getting bored. If you like your oatmeal a little on the sweet side, but want to cut down on added sugar, replace some of the sugar, honey or other sweetener with fruit. Sign up for a free dietitian-led store tour at your local Hy-Vee to learn more about heart-healthy foods.

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