When it comes to high cholesterol level, there are some foods advised to be taken or waived. Oatmeal is the most common advised food for lowering cholesterol level. This grandmother food was once fed to animals. Yet, time finds out that this whole grain food is in fact highly beneficial for human’s health. Oatmeal is ground oat groats which can be slow cooked into porridge. This food is loaded with fiber which is needed for proper digestion. Various studies have shown that consuming oats give various benefits, especially related to cholesterol and fat levels.
Role of carbohydrates in body’s digestive system
There are various carbohydrate sources which can be taken to be converted into energy inside one’s body. These different types of carbohydrates give different effects to our digestion process. Some carbohydrate-containing foods can be processed easily into glucose or fructose, while some others need some more time. The most important role of carbohydrate for our body is the energy it provides. Hence, suitable choice of carbohydrate will be significant for one’s health. Oatmeal is one of healthy carbohydrate choices which has been consumed for years. This food significantly maintains cholesterol level and is even believed to be able to lower it. Carbohydrates are to be converted into glucose or fructose in the liver to provide our body with energy. Excessive conversion, however, is not good for our health, since this excess will be converted into fats and stored in the body until the time when our energy output is bigger than its intake. This is why carbohydrate has a relationship with weight gain.
Why is oatmeal good for lowering cholesterol?
Cholesterol is one of beneficial substances for our body. It is needed for hormone and vitamin production. This production is done by cholesterol in the liver. Cholesterol itself is a wax-like substance which cannot mix with water. Sufficient level of cholesterol is needed to make sure sufficient level of hormones and vitamin is fulfilled. However, in higher level, cholesterol might be dangerous for your health. It mainly contributes to some heart and blood vessels diseases known as cardiovascular diseases. These diseases occur when your bloodstream is blocked in the arteries, which is caused limited supply of oxygen to your heart. Healthy arteries have the characteristics of being flexible, elastic, and strong. These arteries pass your blood to and from the heart properly, supporting all the organ works. When your cholesterol level increase, this waxy substances start to cling on the arteries walls, covering them and cause thicken capillaries. Thickened arteries will pass less blood and thus, limited oxygen level to the heart. This puts into the risk of developing heart diseases. Oatmeal has a role of decreasing cholesterol level, since it is loaded with soluble fiber. This kind of fiber reduce cholesterol absorption from the intestines. Hence, it reduces the level of LDL or what-so-called as bad cholesterol.
Why is oatmeal good for moderating blood sugar?
Besides lowering cholesterol level, oatmeal also has the role of moderating blood sugar. This is closely related to the glycemic index. Glycemic index itself refers to the rate of how much ingested carbohydrate influences blood sugar level. Oatmeal has a low glycemic index, which means that it has a low impact in swinging blood sugar level. Slow-cooked oatmeal will be digested by one’s body slowly, so that it does not stay long in one’s bloodstream. This will hardly raise blood sugar level. Glycemic index can be applied to all foods containing carbohydrates. Among these, oatmeal is considered as one of the healthiest starchy diets, since its glycemic index is only 55, which is considered low and advised for diabetic persons. Glycemic index is also influenced by how long a food is processed. Therefore, whole oats are better than pre-packed instant oats, as the whole one is shortly processed. Pre-packed instant oat is meant to be cooked slower at home, so that it has undergone some processes before packed. This brings its glycemic index higher than the whole oats which are usually slow-cooked for approximately 5 to 8 hours. Despite this, instant oats is still recommended for a low-cholesterol diet, as long as you consume it with lean protein such as low-fat milk or nuts.