Nutritionist Cassandra Barns explains exactly why porridge is good for you
Oats are a natural source of vitamins and minerals, including magnesium
They also provide slow-releasing carbohydrates to help replenish muscles
Proven to lower cholesterol by stopping it being absorbed into the blood
Whether you enjoy it with almonds, blueberries or a sprinkle of cinnamon – porridge is one of the healthiest breakfast options.
Other than being low in fat, the oatmeal dish is a great source of minerals, fibre and slow-releasing carbohydrates.
Researchers from Harvard University previously found wholegrains, such as oats, were the key to living longer.
Here Cassandra Barns, a London-based nutritionist, reveals the 5 reasons why porridge makes the best breakfast.
Oats are a good source of slow-releasing energy and, unlike most other breakfast cereals, don’t contain any added sugar,’ says Ms Barns.
‘This means they can help to keep your energy stable until lunchtime, rather than causing a crash by mid-morning!’
‘Being whole grains, oats are a natural source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B1, magnesium, iron, manganese and zinc, which have many vital roles in the body including supporting energy and immunity,’ she adds.
Most breakfast cereals are low in these natural nutrients and have to be fortified with synthetic vitamins, which may not be as easily used by our body.
Magnesium is often lacking in the average diet, and so many of us may not get enough.
‘It’s one of the nutrients that’s essential for our cells to make energy,’ Ms Barns says.
She recommends Nairn’s Scottish Porridge Oats as a particularly good source of magnesium.
SLOW RELEASING ENERGY
Porridge is a great breakfast for fitness fanatics and gym-goers either before or after training, the nutritionist claims.
‘The slow-releasing carbohydrates in oats are fantastic for powering a workout or for restoring muscles after training, and magnesium is vital for muscle function too,’ Ms Barns adds.
Oats provide slow-releasing carbohydrates to help replenish muscle glycogen – the energy stored in muscles.
DRESS UP TO INCREASE PROTEIN AND HEALTHY FATS
‘Porridge can easily be “dressed up” to increase its deliciousness and nutrient content,’ she says.
Add fresh berries for the tang and sweetness, vitamin C and antioxidants.
Stir in chopped nuts or seeds to increase the protein content and healthy fats.
Or sprinkle over a teaspoon of cinnamon, which has warming qualities for the winter, and may help with balancing blood sugar, Ms Barns advises.
GREAT SOURCE OF FIBRE
‘The fibre in porridge oats may help to lower cholesterol naturally,’ she says.
Oats are a much better way to lower your cholesterol than popular cholesterol-lowering spreads, which are made with hydrogenated, unnatural fats.
They contain a soluble fibre called beta-glucan, which helps stop cholesterol being absorbed into the bloodstream through the intestinal walls.
Dietary fibre has also been known to help people maintain a healthy weight, which in turn reduces the chances of developing type 2 diabetes.
Porridge is known to have around 4g of fibre per bowl, where as cornflakes has less than 0.3g.