Eating a healthy diet isn’t just about weight loss. In fact, there are numerous other reasons why you should focus on incorporating healthier foods into your meals—like how food plays a huge role in your overall bodily functions, your heart health, and even your body’s inflammation. What you eat has a direct impact on your body’s inflammatory responses, and if you’re constantly eating foods that increase inflammation, your body will stay on high alert to fight off those “foreign” substances. This is also known as chronic inflammation, which can increase the risk of diseases like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and more. So while enjoying a bowl of sugary cereal in the morning may sound like the easiest option, the best breakfast you can eat regularly to reduce inflammation is actually a bowl of oatmeal.
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According to a double-blind, control study published by the Nutrition Journal in 2014, a polyphenol in oats called avenanthramide (AVA) has been proven to slow down the inflammatory response and increase antioxidant defenses. Two groups of women between the ages of 50 and 80 were given two cookies (either made of oat flour high in AVA or not) and asked to walk downhill on a treadmill before and after their supplementation intake. After eight weeks, The blood samples were able to show decreased inflammation and increased blood-borne antioxidant defense for the women who had the oat flour cookies with high AVA.
Even though one of the study author’s Li Li Ji, PhD and lead researcher from the University of Minnesota’s Laboratory of Physiological Hygiene and Exercise Science says that more research is warranted for such a claim, the data does show a strong correlation of oatmeal consumption and reduced inflammation associated with exercise as well as aging and chronic disease.
This study was then followed by another 2019 study in the Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition which shows, yet again, a correlation of oat porridge consumption and reduced markers of inflammation—as well as oxidative stress, which is also responsible for the development of diseases—for individuals experiencing high blood cholesterol. In their conclusion, researchers recommended for individuals with high blood pressure to consume 70 grams (about 3/4 cup) of oat porridge daily over four weeks to help reduce inflammation.
So should you be eating 3/4 cup of oatmeal a day? We get it—you’ll likely get sick of it after a while. But incorporating oatmeal into your weekly meal plan is an easy way to help reduce inflammation, especially when there are so many delicious ways to prepare oatmeal for breakfast—like with these 11 Healthy Oatmeal Toppings or these 51 Healthy Overnight Oat Recipes. You can even sneak oatmeal into other meals by trying our savory options!