The food we eat is more important than most of us realize. Eating food that gives our bodies the nutrients it needs to function is critical to our well-being. It comes as no surprise when I say that some foods are better for us than others. Oatmeal is one of those foods that provides a number of positive benefits to our bodies. Not only does oatmeal provide a great deal of nutrients we need, but I personally think it tastes great. Here are just a few of the many positives that oatmeal can help provide your body. 1. Decrease LDL Cholesterol Oatmeal is considered a heart health healthy food due to its high content of soluble fiber. Unlike insoluble fiber, soluble fiber dissolves in water. Essentially, when you eat insoluble fiber, it dissolves in water in your digestive system, and creates an almost gel like substance. This substance slows down the digestive process, and can actually help lower your cholesterol. While in the digestive system, the soluble fiber ‘gel’ will prevent the absorption of low-density lipoprotein, also known as the ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol. Oatmeal provides a high level of fiber overall, including a large amount of soluble fiber. As a result, oatmeal is recognized for its ability to help decrease LDL cholesterol levels. 2. Helps Regulate Blood Sugar Similar to the regulation of LDL cholesterol, soluble fiber has been shown to help control blood glucose levels. When the soluble fiber is dissolved in water, the resulting gel can help slow absorption of sugar into the blood stream. A diet high in soluble fiber can be beneficial to those with diabetes. Additionally, some research has shown that soluble fiber may help prevent Type 2 Diabetes. Because oatmeal provides your body with soluble fiber, it can help regulate blood sugar levels in addition to LDL cholesterol levels. 3. Digestive Health I have only discussed the benefits of soluble fiber so far, but that doesn’t mean that insoluble fiber isn’t helpful too. In addition to having a high content of soluble fiber, oatmeal provides a high level of insoluble fiber. You may have heard that fiber is good for your digestive system before. This is attributable to insoluble fiber and its inability to dissolve in water. Due to the fact that it doesn’t dissolve in water, insoluble fiber does not break down in the digestive process. This has a positive impact on your colon and bowels. The insoluble fiber helps maintain healthy bowel movement, which in turn can prevent certain diseases and health issues. By helping your body maintain healthy bowel movements, insoluble fiber plays a role in the overall health of your digestive system. Oatmeal provides both types of fibers, which provide numerous health benefits. 4. Help Maintain Healthy Weight Oatmeal is generally a lower calorie food, and as such is not ‘bad’ food when it comes to weight levels. However, that’s not really the main reason that it helps with managing weight gain. It may sound odd, but because of its fiber content, oatmeal actually makes you feel ‘fuller’ than other foods might. The theory is that when you eat oatmeal, you will not have the desire to eat more food. With its relatively low calorie content, oatmeal does not add to your daily count like eating other foods may. Along with the low level of calories, oatmeal helps curb eating as well. This combination has been shown to help decrease weight gain, and may also help decrease obesity. 5. Good Source of Protein Protein is vital for proper muscle function and growth. In order for our bodies to maintain healthy muscles, we must have sufficient protein intake. While most of us think of protein in our diets coming from meats, oatmeal can actually be a good source of this substance. 1 cup of cooked oatmeal contains up to as much as 6 grams of protein. That equates to 12% of the recommended daily value based on a 2,000 calorie a day diet. That officially makes oatmeal a good source of protein, at least in the eyes of the Food and Drug Administration. Not only does oatmeal help your boy maintain a healthy weight, but it can also contribute to muscle growth. Summary Oatmeal isn’t just a health food choice, it’s also pretty tasty too. The dietary fiber content of oatmeal helps our bodies in a variety of ways. Oatmeal is a good source of both insoluble and soluble fiber, making this food useful in a variety of functions. Along with the benefits of fiber, oatmeal can actually help with weight gain, and promote healthy muscle growth with protein. So the next time you are thinking about your breakfast options, consider all the benefits you give your body with a simple bowl of oatmeal.