Coinciding with World Porridge Day (10th October 2018), nutritionist Cassandra Barns explains five reasons why an oat-based porridge makes such a great breakfast choice.
As well as being one of the yummiest and most satisfying breakfasts to enjoy on a chilly autumn morning, porridge made with wholegrain oats can also be one of the best nutritional dishes to keep residents feeling healthy and happy all day long.
1) Sustained energy levels
Oats are a good source of slow-releasing energy and, unlike most other breakfast cereals, don’t contain any added sugar. This means they can help to keep your energy stable until lunchtime, rather than causing a crash by mid-morning.
2) A boost of vitamins and minerals
Being whole grains, oats are a natural source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B1, magnesium, iron, manganese and zinc, which have many vital roles in the body including supporting energy and immunity (magnesium, for example, is often lacking in the average diet, and so many of us may not get enough. It’s one of the nutrients that’s essential for our cells to make energy). Most breakfast cereals are low in these natural nutrients and have to be fortified with synthetic vitamins, which may not be as easily used by our body.
3) Good muscle fuel
Porridge is a great breakfast for fitness fanatics or gym-goers either before or after training: the slow-releasing carbohydrates in oats are fantastic for powering a workout or for restoring muscles, and magnesium is vital for muscle function too (it is well documented that the elderly are more at risk of sarcopenia (or loss of muscle mass).
4) You control the nutrient content
Porridge can easily be ‘dressed up’ to increase its deliciousness and nutrient content. Add fresh berries for the tang and sweetness, vitamin C and antioxidants; stir in chopped nuts or seeds to increase the protein content and healthy fats; or sprinkle over a teaspoon of cinnamon, which has warming qualities for the winter, and may help with balancing blood sugar.
5) Manages healthy cholesterol levels
The fibre in porridge oats may help to lower cholesterol naturally, too. I think oats are a much better way to lower your cholesterol than popular cholesterol-lowering spreads, which are made with hydrogenated, unnatural fats.