April 21, 2015

Simple Swaps by the Fort Healthy Community Coalition

General Health


Does eating oatmeal help lower your cholesterol level?  Isn’t oatmeal something we use to eat as kids for breakfast and then we graduated to a quick doughnut or sweet roll as we race out the door to work? That doughnut or sweet roll may just be part of the problem when it comes to a high cholesterol count.  The Mayo Clinic sites oatmeal and oat bran as being the number one way to naturally reduce cholesterol.

If oatmeal is beneficial,  how does it work?  It is thought that the oat fibers in oatmeal mix with cholesterol in the small intestine, then bind to the cholesterol and carry it out of the body instead of allowing it to enter the blood stream.  To our benefit oatmeal is most effective in lowering LDL or “bad” cholesterol levels.

Start by having a bowl of cooked oatmeal, not the instant packets, every day.  Enhance variety by adding fresh or frozen blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, dried cranberries, raisins, or any other variety of fruit. A sprinkle of cinnamon on the top eliminates the need for sugar.  Remember, use fat-free or 1 % milk to keep the fat content down.  You are not limited to eating cooked oatmeal for breakfast.  Cold oat cereal can also be substituted for variety. There are also many high-oat, low-sugar containing recipes online for cookies, muffins, cakes and bars.

Over the years, the many benefits of eating oatmeal have been proven by research.  Pick up a box of oatmeal at the store and notice the heart healthy distinction label which means it is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration.  Make the simple swap at breakfast from a doughnut to a warm bowl of oatmeal. . .your heart will thank you for it!


Vicki Wright, Fort Healthy representative and community member