Oats are simply a great source of fiber and contain a nice mix of both essential kinds of fiber (55 percent soluble and 45 percent insoluble). The soluble fiber in oats, known as beta-glucan, is what is really responsible for giving oatmeal its high nutritional accolades. Beta-glucan helps lower cholesterol levels and significantly reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. Beta-glucans enhance the body’s immune system by turbocharging its response to bacterial infection. This process is accomplished by activating certain while blood cells called macrophages, which in turn “gobble up” foreign invaders.

also has a very low glycemic load, which translates to having a very, very modest effect on blood sugar.

The type of oatmeal you purchase makes all the difference in the world. Forget about the individual prepackaged bags as they are usually sweetened. The less processing, the higher the fiber, the lower the glycemic load (sugar impact), the better the oatmeal is for you. One bowl of oatmeal consumed daily can reduce cholesterol 8-23 percent. If you would like to make it even healthier, add a tablespoon of ground flax seed and/or sprinkle with cinnamon.