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Nutrition

Why Oats Are The Ultimate Breakfast Food

Why Oats Are The Ultimate Breakfast Food
Elle Kelly
Registered Dietitian2 months ago
View Elle Kelly's profile

Oats are not only a super versatile breakfast food but they’re also incredibly nutritious. In this article we’ll explore why oats really are the ultimate super food for breakfast and get into some recipes to include oats in your diet in more fun and delicious ways.

Let’s dive in.

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What happens when you eat oats every day for breakfast?

Oats have been a staple in the diet for many years and are a nutrient powerhouse, providing a range of micronutrients including manganese, folate and zinc.

Although they’re a carbohydrate, they also contain more protein than many other grains. They’re a form of complex carbohydrate meaning that they take longer to break down and to digest, providing longer lasting energy.

When paired with a source of protein and healthy fats, oats make a balanced breakfast that’ll keep us full and satisfied as well as helping us to meet our overall nutrient requirements.

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Why are oats the ultimate super food for breakfast?

They keep you fuller for longer

There are a few reasons why oats are a great food to include at breakfast if you want to be kept full and satisfied all morning.

Firstly, oats are a form of complex carbohydrate, meaning they have multiple molecules of sugar within a chain that needs to be broken down to release energy into the blood stream.

Because of this complex nature, they take longer to break down than simpler carbohydrates, providing longer lasting energy. When we pair oats with a source of protein and healthy fats, it can slow down digestion further, meaning you’re more likely to feel physically satisfied.

Fibre content

The fibre in oats remains intact as it passes through the body and absorbs water which can provide a sensation of fullness.

Studies have also shown that a type of fibre provided by oats, beta-glucan, can promote the release of peptide YY— a hormone produced in response to eating that signals satiety (1).

They can help in relieving and preventing constipation

Fibre is a type of carbohydrate found in plants that isn’t broken down during digestion. It works by absorbing water, which encourages it to move smoothly through the body, absorbing waste products like cholesterol (more on that later!) and removing it from the body.

Oats pack a fibre punch, with 4g per 40g serving.

The soluble fibre found in oats absorbs water and forms a gel that adds bulk to stools, which can soften them and make them easier to pass. Studies have continuously shown that adding fibre to the diet can improve symptoms in those with chronic constipation (2).

They can support balanced blood sugar levels

It’s normal for blood sugar levels to increase after eating, but when they increase suddenly, they provide instant fast-acting energy followed by a sudden crash. This can leave us feeling hungry, tired and irritable.

Oats are broken down slowly, so their energy is released into our blood stream steadily, preventing sudden peaks and drops.

Regularly eating oats can promote healthy cholesterol levels

Oats contain a type of fibre known as beta-glucan, which has been shown to reduce the levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or “bad”, cholesterol in our blood (3). Studies have shown that just 3g of beta-glucan daily can help to reduce LDL cholesterol levels (4).

To put this into perspective, a 40g serving of porridge oats contains around 2g of beta-glucan.

They can support heart health

As well as supporting heart health by lowering levels of LDL cholesterol, oats are also rich in heart-loving antioxidants.

Antioxidants are compounds that can help to neutralise free radicals in the body which can help to protect against chronic conditions like heart disease (5)."

They support a healthy digestive (& immune) system

As mentioned above, oats are a source of soluble fibre, which can promote regularity and prevent constipation, which keeps our digestive system healthy.

Beta-glucan, a type of fibre found in oats, is also considered a prebiotic, which means that it helps to feed the “good bacteria” in your gut, supporting them to thrive.

This is also thought to support immunity, as there are links between having a more diverse collection of good bacteria and a healthy immune system (6).

10 oat breakfast recipe ideas you need to try

You don’t have to stick to the same plain bowl of porridge every day to get the benefits of oats. You could use oats in baking, have them in muesli, add them to smoothies or try out some of these recipes to try oats in different ways.

Jammy Baked Oats

Putting a twist on the classic jam doughnut, are these ooey gooey Jammy Baked Oats. Brimming with 20g of protein and all the oaty goodness we just talked about, these are a must try.

Recipes

Jammy Baked Oats | Protein Plates Recipe Book

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Toffee Apple Protein Overnight Oats

With almost 30g of protein, these overnight oats are sure to keep you energised and satisfied throughout the morning.

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Toffee Apple Protein Overnight Oats

Sweet treats like this make saying goodbye to summer so much easier.

2 years agoBy Lauren Dawes

Carrot Cake Baked Oat Squares

These oaty-squares are like dessert for breakfast. Packed with protein and fibre, they’re ideal to prep in advance to have as a balanced and healthy breakfast option on the go.

Recipes

Carrot Cake Baked Oat Squares | Make-Ahead Breakfast

Anything that tastes like having cake for breakfast gets our vote.

2 years agoBy Lauren Dawes

Air Fryer Baked Oat Apples

This recipe really spices up breakfast. It’s the perfect one to use on a Saturday morning brunch with friends to show off your kitchen skills and get those macros in too.

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Air Fryer Baked Oat Apples

Yet another healthy air-fryer recipe for your repertoire.

1 year agoBy Lauren Dawes

Apple Pie Baked Oats

A seasonal classic that I think should be enjoyed all year round. These baked oats are the best type of morning comfort food. Packed with great tasting goodness.

Recipes

Apple Pie Baked Oats Recipe

Dark mornings are definitely easier to face with a breakfast like this.

2 years agoBy Lauren Dawes
For five more oat recipes, read this next.

Take home message

Oats are not only packed full of nutrients to support our health and fitness goals, they’re also incredibly versatile. There are so many ways to include oats in our diet to get the benefits of them- be sure to try out some of the recipes in this article and experiment with your own.

Our articles should be used for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to be taken as medical advice. If you're concerned, consult a health professional before taking dietary supplements or introducing any major changes to your diet.

Elle Kelly
Registered Dietitian
View Elle Kelly's profile
Elle Kelly is a registered dietitian specialising in eating disorders and disordered eating. Elle is also a registered sports dietitian with a MSc in applied sports nutrition, and currently combines her specialities to support recreational to elite level athletes to fuel their performance whilst improving their relationship with food in her own clinic, EK Nutrition. Elle is passionate about providing evidence-based information in a way that is accessible to everyone, and always wants to help filter though the nuance and myths that circulate within the health and fitness industry so that induvials can make informed decisions about their nutrition. Elle is a member of the BDA and HCPC, and regularly undertakes supervision and CPD courses to ensure that she keeps her skills and knowledge up to the highest standard to support her clients. Elle enjoys long distance running and dabbling in cross fit, is a passionate cook and loves to travel and explore new places.
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