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Oatmeal is healthy - if you pay attention ...

oatmeal are extremely versatile and popular as breakfast and baking ingredients. At the same time, there is a lot of discussion about whether they are healthy or unhealthy. The abundant fiber beta-glucan, which lowers cholesterol and regulates blood sugar, is particularly healthy. Due to its high density and high carbohydrate content, we only recommend oatmeal to people who exercise regularly and / or are very active in everyday life.

Warnings are given against mineral oils and glyphosate, which have been found in some oat products as part of an ecological test.

Oats are a grain - we are rather critical of classic grain at SchnellEinfachGesund. It is different with pseudo-grains and sourdough products: In these cases we are more open because they offer some undeniable advantages.

This is also the case with oats: they have advantages and disadvantages. It is important to note that we do not recommend oats to everyone, but some groups of people can benefit from them. The flakes, for example, fit well into the clean eating concept, but in the context of the paleo diet they tend to be ... smiled at. In the end, you have to decide for yourself 🙂

In order for you to be able to use oatmeal as part of your healthy diet, there are a few points to consider. By the end of the article, you'll know how to get the most out of the flakes.


Table of Contents

Oatmeal Ingredients

The Ingredients of oatmeal give some hints as to why they are considered healthy:

Nutritional values

Oatmeal is a good source of protein and fiber. Here you can find the nutritional information for 100 g1,2:

  • 389 (1629 kJ) kilo calories
  • 16.9 g protein
  • 66.3 g of carbohydrates
  • 6.9 g fats (mainly omega-6 fatty acids)
  • 10.6-14 g of fiber


Vitamins and minerals

Oatmeal provides a number of vitamins and minerals. Due to the varying processing methods, the values ​​will certainly be different. Here you can find the information for classic oat flakes (rolled oats) on 100 g:1,2

  • 0.8 mg thiamine, vitamin B1 (51% of the daily recommendation)
  • 0.1 mg riboflavin, vitamin B2 (8%)
  • 1.0 mg niacin, vitamin B3 (5%)
  • 1.3 mg pantothenic acid, vitamin B5 (13%)
  • 0.1 mg pyrodixine, vitamin B6 (6%)
  • 56.0 mcg folic acid, vitamin B9 (14%)

Manganese stands out among the minerals, because oatmeal is one of the most manganese-rich foods. Manganese is especially important for healthy bones, connective tissue, and blood sugar control. The substance also regulates inflammation in the body. The recommendation is around 1.8 to 2.3 mg manganese per day - the upper limit is 11 mg.

Since manganese, like iron and zinc, is one of the heavy metals, you should be a little careful if you eat a lot of grains and nuts.3

Minerals such as zinc, iron, copper and manganese from plant sources have a lower bioavailability (absorption rate) than from animal sources. It is therefore recommended to combine the oatmeal with a good source of vitamin C (fruit, berries, green vegetables) in order to increase the bioavailability.
  • 4.9 mg manganese (246%)
  • 523 mg phosphorus (52%) (as phytic acid)
  • 177 mg magnesium (44%)
  • 0.6 mg copper (31%)
  • 4.0 mg zinc (26%)
  • 4.7 mg iron (26%)


Omega-6 fatty acids

Oats are a source of omega-6 fatty acids, which in excess (and too few omega-3 fatty acids) promote inflammation in the body. We therefore recommend that you make sure you have enough omega-3 fatty acids in your diet, such as fish, seafood and flaxseed, in order to create a balance and a natural balance.

Flaxseed in particular can be combined with oat flakes in many recipes.


Other plant substances

  • Beta-Glucan - Beta-Glucan is one of the dietary fibers and is the real super weapon that is hidden in oatmeal. The health effects of beta-glucan, which is otherwise mainly found in mushrooms and medicinal mushrooms, include, for example, an optimization of the insulin balance, the reduction of blood sugar, a faster satiety and the improvement of our intestinal flora. Beta-glucan also has very positive effects on the cholesterol level.4,5,6
  • Ferulic acid is a secondary plant substance that acts as an antioxidant in the body and is also active against bacteria and viruses.7
  • Avenanthramides - this group of antioxidants reduces inflammation in arteries and helps the body regulate blood pressure. Avenanthramides are therefore good for cardiovascular health.8


Health effects of oatmeal

The nutritional values ​​and ingredients have already given an insight into why you should incorporate oatmeal into your diet. You can find the best health effects of oats here in the overview.

(A little sensational, but a good summary):


# 1 Lowering Cholesterol Levels

Beta-glucan can naturally help lower cholesterol levels. The soluble fiber is one of the reasons oatmeal is believed to be an effective means of lowering LDL ("bad") cholesterol, total cholesterol, and the risk of heart disease.9


# 2 Blood sugar control and effective remedy for diabetes

Even small amounts of beta-glucan from oats can keep both the glucose and insulin reactions under control after meals that are high in carbohydrates. This is of particular interest to people with type II diabetes.

In one study, oats were included in the diet of diabetic patients for four weeks. As a result, the required insulin dose could be reduced by 40%.10, 11


# 3 Boost your immune system

Beta-glucan has the property of improving the immune function (see Strengthening the immune system). The polysaccharide fights bacterial infections and soothes inflammation. An Italian study has shown that beta-glucan strengthens macrophages, neutrophils and killer cells, which can then fight off attackers such as bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites better.12

Another study underpins these effects and adds the knowledge that cancer cells are also fought naturally. Beta-glucan shows anti-cancer effects and can reduce cancer tumor growth.13


# 4 Faster satiety and help with weight loss

Oatmeal can help you lose weight in many ways (see lose weight quickly). On the one hand, this happens through the aforementioned effects on blood sugar control and cholesterol levels.

On the other hand, the breakfast cereals contribute to a faster satiety. This is due to the composition of complex carbohydrates, proteins and lots of fiber.14

Although the satiety is considerable, oats are relatively high in calories. But: Anyone who is on the move a lot and doing sports regularly will benefit from them.


# 5 Help with childhood asthma and allergies

Asthma is a chronic disease that can also occur in childhood. Oatmeal is considered a possible remedy for lung disease, probably due to its high ß-glucan content. However, the study situation is still quite thin.

Mention should be made of a Finnish study that was able to demonstrate positive effects on asthma and allergic diseases in children. In the study, the babies were fed porridge before they were six months old. The positive effects could be due to beta-glucan and the polyphenols.15

Do oatmeal contain gluten?

In theory, oats contain gluten. The main part of the proteins in oats make up avenalin and avenin, which belong to the group of storage proteins (glutelins). In practical terms, these two gluten derivatives do not cause the problems that other grains cause, as they are far less reactive than wheat gluten.

Here is a statement from the German Celiac Society:

“The consumption of oats as part of the gluten-free diet has been discussed for many years. The discussion is based on various clinical studies that show that uncontaminated oats, which are specially grown and processed for people with celiac disease, is tolerated by almost everyone affected.“

What does cultivated separately mean? Because grain mills process different types of grain, cross-contamination cannot be ruled out. If wheat is first processed in a mill and then oats, then wheat gluten can come into contact with the oats.

The solution is specially declared, gluten-free oat flakes, which are processed in separate mills.16 Ökotest recommends for people with gluten intolerance or celiac disease17 the Bauck Hof * variety.

PS: With inflammatory bowel disease and irritable bowel syndrome, it could look different again than with celiac disease. Here we recommend that you test whether you can tolerate oats to some extent.


Oatmeal Review - What To Look For?

1. Some oatmeal contain glyphosate and mineral oils

Oatmeal was pretty much caught in the crossfire recently. In an eco-test, potentially harmful substances such as the weed killer glyphosate or mineral oils were detected by some manufacturers.

However, you can rest assured that the test found enough strains that contain little or no amounts of these substances. Organic oatmeal, for example, is free from glyphosate and pesticides.

Mineral oils mostly come from paper packaging made from waste paper. If there is no barrier layer between the paper packaging and the oatmeal, mineral oils can get into the product.

In the eco test, the Alnatura oat flakes fine leaf * cut the best. The Kölln flakes that are available everywhere have also done very well.17


2. Oatmeal is low in nutrients

This point of criticism is entirely justified because oats no longer contain the nutrients they were raised 100 years ago.

It is also processed industrially: the oats are peeled (peeled), steamed or boiled and subjected to further heat treatment. After that, oats are pressed or further ground. This is how the oat flakes are made - we couldn't tolerate raw oats.

The many processing steps certainly contribute to the fact that many vitamins and minerals are lost. Most of the positive health effects, however, are due to beta-glucan. The advantage of this: the fiber is very robust and survives the processing steps very well. It also still contains significant amounts of nutrients - especially minerals.

So I would not overestimate this point of criticism.


3. Why we recommend oatmeal only to athletes and active people

It is true that like other grains, oats are high in high density carbohydrates.

We generally recommend eating a high-carbohydrate diet only if you are getting enough exercise - in everyday life and when exercising. Because then you have a good insulin sensitivity by default and can process the carbohydrates better and faster.

If you sit all day, do little sport and maybe also a little overweight, then your body will react differently to the carbohydrates. In short: you are less sensitive to insulin.

More on this here: Do carbohydrates make you fat?

How do we solve the dilemma?

  • We particularly recommend oatmeal with its high levels of carbohydrates to people who lead an active lifestyle and exercise regularly (and have a body fat percentage below 20%) - on this basis, there is good insulin sensitivity, the metabolism runs smoothly and the carbs are used well.
  • If your everyday life tends to be more sedentary, you do little sport and perhaps also tend to be a little overweight, then we recommend flaxseed (more fiber, omega-3 fatty acids and proteins).

Breakfast without oatmeal - unthinkable for many!


Oatmeal varieties

Oats are processed in very different ways after harvest. With regard to the health effects, the type of processing certainly plays a role. The more the oats are processed, the more minerals and vitamins are lost.

Here you can find the varieties (sorted from little to heavily processed):

  • Cut oats: The least processed oats are "steel cut oats" (or Irish oats). This strain contains more nutrients and has less of an impact on blood sugar. However, before consuming it, it should be boiled or soaked in order to reduce the phytic acid (a substance that inhibits the absorption of minerals).
  • Hearty flakes: Hearty oat flakes are made from whole oat kernels. Because the pieces are larger, they will take a little longer to cook. Hearty oat flakes are more firm to the bite and not so mushy.
  • Tender flakes: The starting point for tender flakes is oat groats (chopped oat kernels). These are dampened to make them pliable. They are then rolled to create flat oats. I prefer to use them for my muesli or when I want a little soft oatmeal.
  • Instant oats: Instant oats are pre-cooked or pressed from oatmeal. This shape is the fastest way to cook. The downside is that the shape doesn't stay stable, so the result is a little mushy.
  • Oatmeal: To make oatmeal, oat groats are ground very finely. The flour can be used to bake or thicken sauces.


Oatmeal recipes

1. Overnight Oats - soaked oatmeal

Overnight Oats have been pretty popular lately. Here you can find one of the numerous recipe options.


  • 50-100 g of rolled oats
  • 100–150 ml water or milk (substitute)
  • 4 to 7 dates
  • a large handful of blueberries or other berries
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • optional: 15–30 g whey protein powder
  • optional for oriental seasoning: turmeric and ginger


  • Soak the oatmeal in water or milk (substitute) overnight. I usually use a clip-on glass for this, then you can Oats also good to take with you to work.
  • Add all the other ingredients in the morning and enjoy yours Overnight Oats.
  • Optionally, you can reheat the oatmeal in a saucepan on medium heat in the morning if you feel like warm oatmeal.

2. Oatmeal Recipe


  • 150 g of tender oat flakes
  • 150 g almond flour
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 egg
  • 8-10 dates
  • 2 tbsp honey or sugar substitute
  • ½ bag of tartar baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 pinch of vanilla
  • If you like: raisins, almond slivers, coconut flakes


  • Soak the dates in a little water for 10 minutes and then mash them with a fork to a pulp.
  • Now add the egg, honey, cinnamon and vanilla.
  • Then you mix the mixture with oats, almond flour and baking powder.
  • Then the coarse ingredients such as raisins, almond slivers or coconut flakes are added.
  • Shape the mixture into biscuits and put them in the oven at 180 degrees.
  • Turn the oatcakes after 10 minutes and bake them until crispy brown for another 10-15 minutes.


3. Oat energy balls


  • 150 g almonds
  • 50 g cashew nuts
  • 50 g crunchy oat flakes
  • 8 dates
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 80 g dried fruits, e.g. fig
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • Coconut flakes or cocoa


  • Put all of the ingredients in a powerful blender until they are well blended and become a sticky consistency.
  • Roll the mixture into small balls (about 15 to 20 pieces).
  • "Bread" the balls with coconut flakes or cocoa.
  • Keep them in the refrigerator until ready to use to keep them firm.


4. Oatmeal shake

  • 50-75 g of oatmeal
  • 200 g natural yogurt
  • 50 g protein powder
  • 200 g of thawed or fresh berries
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • 300 ml of water or rice milk


Oatmeal Wiki - Your Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Protein is in Oatmeal?

Oat flakes contain around 16.9 g protein per 100 g. Therefore, they are well suited as part of a protein-rich diet. They contain important amino acids such as valine, leucine, isoleucine and arginine.

Are Oatmeal Healthy?

Oatmeal is very healthy because of its nutrients, yes. The plant substance beta-glucan, which regulates blood sugar and lowers cholesterol, is particularly beneficial for health. Use organic oatmeal to avoid exposure to pesticides and insecticides.

What nutrients do oatmeal have?

The flakes convince with their high content of fiber, protein, manganese and magnesium. They are very satiating and give the body valuable nutrients.

Can you lose weight with oatmeal?

As part of a healthy diet in combination with physical activity, you can lose weight very well with oatmeal. They fill you up and aid digestion. The high fiber and protein content contributes to this - ideal! Small portions of 50 g are recommended.

Are oatmeal gluten free?

In theory, oats contain gluten. The main part of the proteins in oats make up avenalin and avenin, which belong to the gluten group.In practical terms, these two types of gluten do not cause the problems that other grains cause.

Why soak oatmeal?

Oatmeal contains an anti-nutrient called phytic acid, which can cause fewer nutrients to be absorbed in the intestines. Soaking reduces the amount of phytic acid.

Is Oat Milk Healthy?

Oat milk is a good and healthy substitute if you want to avoid dairy products. Make sure to buy unsweetened oat milk or make it yourself.


Bottom line - oatmeal deserves a place in a balanced diet

Oatmeal is one of the few grains that we recommend. They are a healthy addition to our diet as they help with common risk factors like high cholesterol or poor blood sugar control.

However, it should be noted that the dose is always decisive in a balanced diet. Therefore, oatmeal should not necessarily make up the main part of your diet. A serving of 50–100 g three days a week is certainly sufficient to benefit from the health effects of beta-glucan.

Here is an overview of all the tips:

  • Beta-glucan is the superstar in oats - the fiber reduces cholesterol and regulates blood sugar.
  • Oats are extremely filling and can help you lose weight.
  • When buying, look for quality products that are free from harmful substances - Ökotest recommends Alnatura oat flakes fine leaf *.
  • Oat flakes are in fact gluten-free as avenalin and avenin cause fewer problems than e.g. wheat proteins. Cross-contamination in the course of industrial processing cannot be ruled out. If in doubt, use the gluten-free flakes from Bauck Hof *.
  • Since oatmeal is very dense in energy, we recommend it especially to athletes and people who are active in everyday life.
  • For intestinal diseases such as leaky gut, irritable bowel syndrome, acute allergies or worse, we recommend soaking the flakes at least overnight. If you still don't tolerate them well, try flaxseed as an alternative.

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  • 6 Braaten, J. T .; Wood, P. J .; Scott, F. W .; Wolynetz, M. S .; Lowe, M. K .; Bradley-White, P .; Collins, M. W. (1994): Oat beta-glucan reduces blood cholesterol concentration in hypercholesterolemic subjects. In: European journal of clinical nutrition 48 (7), pp. 465-474.
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  • 8 Meydani, Mohsen (2009): Potential health benefits of avenanthramides of oats. In: Nutrition reviews 67 (12), pp. 731-735. DOI: 10.1111 / j.1753-4887.2009.00256.x.
  • 9 Whitehead, Anne; Beck, Eleanor J .; Tosh, Susan; Wolever, Thomas M. S. (2014): Cholesterol-lowering effects of oat beta-glucan: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. In: The American journal of clinical nutrition 100 (6), pp. 1413-1421. DOI: 10.3945 / ajcn.114.086108.
  • 10 Lammert, A .; Kratzsch, J .; Selhorst, J .; Humpert, P. M .; Bierhaus, A .; Birck, R. et al. (2008): Clinical benefit of a short term dietary oatmeal intervention in patients with type 2 diabetes and severe insulin resistance: a pilot study. In: Experimental and clinical endocrinology & diabetes: official journal, German Society of Endocrinology [and] German Diabetes Association 116 (2), pp. 132-134. DOI: 10.1055 / s-2007-984456.
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Martin is a studied sports scientist, medical training therapist and is writing his doctoral thesis in the field of occupational medicine (University Hospital Magdeburg). He advises companies on setting up a company health management system. As a personal trainer, he was able to gain experience in performance diagnostics and in the training of competitive athletes (handball, athletics, triathlon). Martin's goal: To bring people to their best health so that they can truly live their lives.