Oats are among the highest whole grains in fiber, making them a perfect go-to for your fiber fill-ups. And don't be fooled; getting enough fiber may be an old health rule by now, but it doesn't make it any less important than when it was first advocated by medical experts everywhere. Sadly, the average American gets only 15 grams of fiber in her day, when she should be getting 28 grams.
This does, in fact, make a huge difference in day-to-day health. Whole grains, which are an incredible source of much-needed fiber, provide:
• Better gut health: better intestine function, less constipation and hemorrhoids. Your gut regulates a lot, too, so taking care of it is in your best interests. Additionally, high fiber foods tend to have better nutrients than the empty calories of white bread or pasta, for instance.
• Better heart health: more fiber means lower blood cholesterol, which means a lower risk of heart disease. Fiber helps regulate the cholesterol in your body by picking up fats and bile salts, preventing them from reaching the blood stream.
• Lower risk of colon cancer: another benefit of better gut health. By keeping your intestinal systems at their optimum, they’re less likely to run into issue.
• Fewer calories absorbed: in one study done over a year, the decreased amount of calories in one subject was about 130. It doesn’t sound like much, but over a year’s time it added up to a difference of nine to ten pounds of weight loss. That's pretty impressive for just a simple switch.
• Lower body weight: aside from the calorie factor, people who have higher fiber diets tend to stay fuller for longer. This means you’ll be snacking on chips or candy less throughout the day.
• Reduced risk of type 2 diabetes: with the nutrients being better regulated in your system and an overall lower body weight, you stand a better chance of avoiding diabetes.
Luckily, if oatmeal has seemed boring and cliche to you, this recipe will make you fall in love with oatmeal all over again, using toppings that are a far cry from refined sugar or instant chemical ickiness. It will give you the energy you need to start your day on the best foot possible, as well as provide tip-top nutrition for long-term health benefits.
1 serving quick-cooking or old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup blueberries
1 tablespoon sunflower seeds
1 tablespoon agave nectar
1. Prepare the oats according to the package directions.
2. Top with the blueberries and sunflower seeds.
3. Drizzle with the agave nectar.