January is National Oatmeal Month. Oats are a grain high in protein, fiber and vitamins and minerals. The less processed the oats are, the more nutritious. However, no matter the form, they all help in lowering cholesterol and aiding in heart health. The soluble fiber in oatmeal soaks up the cholesterol in the intestines and prevents it from being absorbed. The body responds to this by pulling cholesterol out of the blood stream into the intestine, therefore lowering your blood cholesterol.
Here’s a little lesson on the types of oats out there:
Oat groats consist of the hulled but unflattened and unchopped oat kernels.
Steel-cut oats are the same as oat groats, except for being chopped with steel blades.
Old-fashioned oats are chopped, steamed, and rolled to give them their flatter shape.
Quick and instant oatmeal usually have their oat bran-the layer of the grain that’s just beneath the hull-removed.
Now I am not your biggest oatmeal fan, but I have found some ways to enjoy it. I’ve found I prefer steel cut oats because they have more texture and are less gelatinous. Here are some various ways beyond the traditional preparation, so hopefully you can find one you like!
Overnight oats: Prepare by combining equal parts raw oats, milk and yogurt, then refrigerate over night. In the morning mix in whatever fruit, nuts, other toppings you might like.
Avena A healthy oatmeal shake. Check out this recipe. I’ve tried this and just adding ground up oats to any smoothie for texture.
Oatmeal bread: Recipe from Bob’s Red Mill.
Tomato soup with oatmeal: My grandma makes a tomato soup with oatmeal, a similar recipe can be found here.
And of course, if you just like tradition oatmeal, check out oatmeal 3 different ways in this video from YumSugar. For more oatmeal ideas you can also check out Chocolate Covered Katie’s All Things Oatmeal.