How to live longer: The health benefits of eating porridge oats in the morning

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Dietician Victoria Taylor explained porridge oats – regardless of type, shape or size – are wholegrain and contain soluble fibre. These help to lower cholesterol levels if consumed regularly, reducing your risk of a heart attack or stroke. Microwaving porridge in the mornings can be a convenient way to eat healthier. As long as you stay away from “flavoured or sweetened versions”, porridge oats can be nutritious and delicious.

“Even healthy-sounding flavours such as apple and blueberry generally contain added sugars,” warned Taylor.

Make sure to add “low-fat milk or water” to mix with your porridge with to minimise calories and saturated fat.

Also refrain from adding maple syrup, sugar or honey to your breakfast bowl, instead opting for fruit, nuts and seeds.

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) suggest adding toppings such as:

  • Bananas
  • Raisins
  • Nutmeg
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Cherries
  • Chia seeds
  • Cinnamon
  • Almonds
  • Dates
  • Walnuts
  • Pear slices
  • Ginger
  • Peaches
  • Raspberries
  • Plums
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Apricots
  • Stewed apple
  • Pecan
  • Blackberries

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As you can see, there’s lots of variety to be enjoyed with a bowl of porridge oats.

You can mix and match different toppings, meaning you’ll get a variety of minerals, vitamins and fibre.

Published in the National Library of Medicine, a research paper assessed the anti-hypertensive effects of whole oat cereals.

For six weeks, 18 participants – with high blood pressure or insulin resistance – either ate oat cereal for breakfast or a “low-fibre” cereal option.

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The oat cereal group experienced a 7.5mmHg reduction in systolic blood pressure and 5.5mmHg reduction in diastolic blood pressure.

Meanwhile, in the control group – those assigned a low-fibre breakfast cereal – didn’t see a reduction in blood pressure at all.

In addition to lowering blood pressure readings, the oat cereal group had improved insulin sensitivity.

Moreover, people who ate oat cereal also experienced a significant reduction in total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL), i.e. “bad” cholesterol.

Lowering blood pressure, reducing cholesterol levels and improving insulin resistance are three health benefits eating porridge oats can help with.

Further research from the University of Manitoba, in Canada, noted that eating oats reduced a person’s risk of cardiovascular disease.

This is because the daily consumption of soluble dietary fibre reduces “bad” cholesterol by up to 10 percent.

Such a great health benefit occurred in participants who had high cholesterol levels and those that did not.

Research has consistently demonstrated a positive relationship between wholegrain oats and blood cholesterol levels.

Reducing cholesterol levels in the body can prevent blood vessels from narrowing and becoming blocked.

In turn, this decreases a person’s risk of heart problems or a stroke, meaning you have a higher chance of living longer.

If you’d like to live healthily, for as long as possible, porridge oats could be the way forward.

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