Oats are the grain of the month for January, according to the Whole Grains Council. We purchase more oats in January than in any other month, which is why January has log been recognized as National Oatmeal Month.

To us, this makes sense: What better time of the year to enjoy a steaming, sweet bowl of oatmeal than in chilly, snowy January?

Whatever time of year you decide to enjoy oats and oatmeal, you will enjoy many health benefits that will keep you active and able for years to come. For example, oats help to keep us feeling full longer, which keeps us from putting on pounds in winter time.

Other benefits of oats and oatmeal include:
  • Lowers LDL 'bad' cholesterol, which can reduce the chances of heart problems.
  • May help to reduce blood pressure.
  • Reduces the use of laxatives, without the unpleasant side effects.
  • High in beta-glucans. This is a type of starch that stimulates the immune system.
  • High in protein and healthy fats, and lower in carbs than other grains.
  • Contain more than 20 polyphenols, which have a strong anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory effect.

Interesting Facts About Oats

In the US, most oats are steamed and flattened to produce what is known as 'rolled oats.' These are usually sold as old fashioned or regular oats. The more the oats are flattened and steamed, the faster they will cook and the softer they are.

If you like oatmeal with a nuttier and chewier texture, you should try steel-cut, or Irish/Scottish oats. Steel cut have the entire oat kernels that have been cut into smaller chunks to make it cook faster. 

Oats have a very sweet flavor that makes them popular for breakfast. And, they are unique among the grains that are most commonly eaten: They never have the bran and germ removed in the processing. So, if you see 'oats' or 'oat flour' on a food label, you probably are getting the full, whole grain. 

There is no doubt about it: Eating oats and oatmeal is part of a healthy and active lifestyle! Be sure to enjoy a bowl of delicious oatmeal every day to keep you active and healthy for years to come. Be sure to try your oatmeal with honey, cinnamon, berries or apple!

What are your favorite types of oatmeal and recipes? Be sure to let us know.