• Ditch the flakes for these versatile high fibre grains that aren’t just for porridge like Gran used to make.

We all need to be eating more oats

Our grandparents grew up with porridge, and now we are too. But why?

  • Make PDF
  • Print Article

We’ve been long and consistently told that ‘porridge keeps us fuller for longer’ and a bowl of the warming stuff is one of the best breakfasts around. But what is it about oats – the traditional ingredient in your porridge that’s so good? Why the longstanding hype?

At the core, it comes down to fibre. They’re simply a great source, and contain a nearly equal balance of both essential kinds (55 percent soluble and 45 percent insoluble). But the soluble fibre, known as beta-glucan, is the main reason for the high nutritional accolades.

Beta-glucan is satiating. Meaning your ‘feelings of fullness’ last longer, so too your need to eat soon after decreased. Interestingly, a study published by the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, took two groups and gave them oat-based breakfasts, equal in calories. One, bowls of oatmeal (aka porridge), and the other ready to eat oat-based cereal. The researchers found the porridge eaters had greater feelings of fullness, decreased feelings of hunger and a lessened desire to eat. No doubt the other additives and sugars in the cereal came into play, but it was clear porridge came out on top.

Beta-glucan also helps lower cholesterol levels and significantly reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. It also enhances the body’s immune system, by activating our white blood cells called macrophages that attack foreign invaders (e.g fungi and bacteria). Oats also hold a very low glycemic load, so you’ll digest them slowly, which ties back into feeling ‘fuller for longer’, and lessening the urge to snack between meals.

But with many types in the cereal aisle, which are the best to buy? It pays to keep it simple, and as close to their original form, or as our grandparents would have recognized. Step away from the instant sachets, particularly when flavoured. They take a little extra time, but if you can get them, try steel cut oats, or Irish, Scottish or rolled ones. Just look to see that they haven’t become too processed. You want them to look a little thick, and the rougher and grainier the better.

Try buying in bulk and by the kilo from your local health food and nut shop. You’ll be amazed at how much you get for such a small price! No idea how to turn oats into porridge? No worries get a fail proof recipe here. Like to make your porridge a bit better? Click here
Image credit: Foodimentary, Crunchy Creamy Sweet, One Handed Cooks.


  • pepper passport apple porridge

    Porridge Toppers

    It’s no secret a bowl of porridge in the morning is one of the best breakfasts around. Here’s how to make that morning bowl of warming goodness even better. Try one of these three winning combinations. They don’t work together both in the taste and benefit stakes.

  • pepper passport - best breakfast

    Are you eating the best foods for breakfast?

    The best breakfast requires grains, proteins and carbohydrates, but not all are created equal. Get the low down on which from these food groups are best to consume in the early hours and will have you surging on ’til lunch.