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Heart Warmer

Rich in fiber, a bowl of oatmeal is a smart way to start the day.

By Brandi Schlossberg

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When it comes to simple pleasures, a warm bowl of oatmeal on a chilly winter morning certainly fills the bill. Oats are not only comfort food at its best but also a boon to heart health.

"Studies prove that oats lower bad cholesterol, and controlling cholesterol is one of the best ways to prevent heart attacks," says Christopher Suhar, a cardiologist at Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine in San Diego. "It's the fiber in oatmeal that does the trick."

This classic breakfast food contains both soluble and insoluble fiber, which work together to prevent cholesterol from coating the coronary arteries. The soluble fiber binds to LDL (bad) cholesterol, so the body can't absorb it, while insoluble fiber aids in elimination, keeping your digestive tract running smoothly, says Suhar.

Ruth Frechman, registered dietician and spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association, says that it doesn't matter if you choose steel-cut, rolled, or instant oats: They all pack the same nutritional punch. "No matter what kind it is, it's a whole grain and has important health benefits," she says. "I recommend that everyone eat oatmeal." 

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Reader Comments

little tree

a perfect article - succinct and informative - relating to the practical and the aesthetic - both scientific and basic - thank you

little tree

a perfect article - succinct and informative - relating to the practical and the aesthetic - both scientific and basic - thank you

Rebeca

The blurb for the recipe link to the steel cut oats mentioned how they can take so long to cook. Using a slow cooker as the recipe indicates can make things easier, but even faster, healthier and energy efficient is to soak your steel cut oats overnight on the stove. Mix equal parts oats and warm water in your cooking pot. Optionally you can add 2 Tbsp/cup of oats of whey, kefir, buttermilk or yogurt to this mix. Soak overnight. In the morning add another equal part of water and cook for just 5 minutes! Delicious, nutritious, speedy and sooo easy.

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