In 1997, the FDA granted oatmeal and similar whole oat products permission to label their packages as heart healthy. The decision was based on research that connected oatmeal to a reduction in LDL cholesterol. Today, researchers are reevaluating the rewards of oatmeal, making sure that the claims are justified (after all, that was a decade ago, and the FDA has been known to make a few mistakes), and what they are finding is more than a little heartening.
Over the past 15 years, numerous studies have evaluated the health of whole oats. Every single one has come to the same conclusion: oatmeal effectively lowers total cholesterol levels, reducing LDL without negatively affecting HDL. And as if that weren’t enough, whole oats also contribute to healthy weight loss, regulated blood pressure and decreased inflammation. They target the smallest LDL particles, which have been proven more dangerous than the large ones, and team up with other lifestyle choices (such as a balanced diet and exercise) to further their beneficial powers. Could you ask for a more heart-healthy food?
It’s not likely, and even if you could, why would you? Oatmeal is delightful. It offers you a delicious, satisfying breakfast that couples perfectly with fresh fruits and coffee. It is warm, which is much appreciated on a brisk Spring morning, and leaves you full (thanks to the fiber) until lunch. You really can’t go wrong with oatmeal. So pick some up the next time you’re at the store, and rediscover a breakfast that has been keeping you well for years.