Common Breakfast Mistakes
In the morning madness of the back-to-school season, it can be tempting to take a nutritional shortcut in the form of a pastry or cereal rather than preparing a healthier breakfast. However, these choices lead to a quick boost that just as quickly fades, leaving us more tired than we were to begin with. The secret is not the quick fix, but the slow and steady one - and believe it or not, this even applies to basic oatmeal.
Instant Oatmeal versus Old Fashioned Oatmeal & Steel-cut Oats
If your bowl of oatmeal stars with opening a packet of instant oatmeal, you're likely not getting the nutritional benefits you think you are. Instant and slow-cooked oatmeal are processed differently and accordingly, your body also processes them differently. In addition to the undesirable addition of added salt and sugars, instant oatmeal or quick cooking oats actually have a higher glycemic index than slow cooking oatmeal, because of the way the oats are processed. This processing means that the body takes less time to digest the oats, which causes a rapid rise in blood sugar — resulting in a burst of inflammation.
Oats are a valued source of slowly digested complex carbohydrates, providing quality calories for energy needs – they're great for a quick energy boost.
However, slow cooked oatmeal, which is slowly absorbed by the body, is a delightful way to enjoy the benefits of the complex carbohydrates in this extraordinarily healthful whole grain, which provides sustained energy and also stimulates the release of serotonin, a key neurotransmitter that can lift mood and reduce carbohydrate cravings. Oats are also rich in vitamins, minerals, fibrous lignans and phytochemicals that protect against heart disease, cancers, diabetes and a whole host of diseases. Oats are a valued source of slowly digested complex carbohydrates, providing quality calories for energy needs. They're great for a quick energy boost.
Don't forget to top your oatmeal with some anti-inflammatory treats:
- Cinnamon, nutmeg or clove to help further control variance in blood sugar.
- Chia seeds for further energy, protein and minerals.
- 1 tablespoon of chopped raw walnuts, almonds or macadamia nuts for added protein and omegas.
- Coconut milk or oil, both excellent sources of healthy fats to help slow absorption of carbohydrates.
- Mixed berries for an antioxidant boost.
Need another reason to eat slow cooked oatmeal for breakfast? Oats have been shown in scientific studies to favorably alter metabolism and enhance performance when ingested 45 minutes to 1 hour before exercise.