A Runner’s Breakfast: Oatmeal Helps Fight Cancer

Oatmeal has been a long time favorite breakfast of runners. It is easy to make and versatile, with recipes to satisfy most tastes. For runners, oatmeal is one of the perfect foods as it has the right balance of healthy carbs, protein and fats. New research suggests that this staple can also help in the fight against cancer.

The goodness of oats

Avenanthramides naturally occur in oats. Studies have shown that these compounds, and other phenolic molecules found in cereal grains, have properties that decrease inflammation and slow down the spread of cancer cells. Eating whole cereal grains, such as oats, also play a role in preventing other illnesses, such as heart disease and diabetes. Researchers admit that more studies are needed, but the preliminary results of the anti-cancer effects of oats are exciting.

Raw oats contain 66% carbohydrates, but are very low in sugar (less than 1% sucrose), 17% protein, 11% fibre, and 7% fat. The type of fiber in oats slows digestion and helps you feel more full and suppresses appetite. Thus, oats are a great weight loss food. The major protein in oats is similar to proteins found in beans, which is a healthy protein. Oats are also packed full of vitamins and minerals, including thiamine, phosphorus, iron, selenium, magnesium and zinc. These help support a healthy nervous system, heart, brain, bones and joints. Oats are very healthy.

Types of oats:

Steel Cut Oats: The oat groats (kernel) are cut into rough pieces with a sharp blade. Also called Irish Oatmeal, this form of oats takes time to cook and has a chewier consistency

Scottish Oatmeal: The oat groats are ground into roughly broken bits. This yields a creamer texture than steel cut oats, but still takes time to cook.

Rolled Oats: The oat groats are steamed and then rolled flat. This increases the shelf-life and lets them cook faster. These oats are sometimes called Old Fashioned Oats.

Quick or Instant Oats: The oat groats are steamed longer and rolled thinner to allow them to cook faster.

All of these types of oats have the same nutritional profile, so it is really a matter of preference on which one you choose. Avoid flavored packet oatmeal, as these contain added sugars and artificial flavorings. They are also significantly more expensive.

How to cook oats:

There are many ways to make oatmeal. You will discover your own preferences for cooking method and flavors. One serving is about 1/4 cup oats per person. I usually just make individual servings, but you can make larger portions and store them in the refrigerator for several days.

Stove top or slow cooker method:

You can slowly cook oats in a slow cooker or simmer it on the stove. These methods are best for steel cut or Scottish oats, as they have a more course texture. Use about 1 cup of liquid to 1/4 cup of course oats with this method. These coarse oats usually take about 25 minutes to cook on stove top. Rolled oats will take about 5 minutes to cook on the stove top.

You can also cook rolled oats on the stove top. Use less water, though. About 1/2 cup liquid to 1/4 cup oats is good. These oats will cook in about one minute after coming to a boil.

Microwaved method:

You can cook rolled or quick oats in the microwave. These oats have bigger surface areas and cook faster than steel cut or Scottish oats. Use about 1/2 cup of liquid to 1/4 cup oats with this method. Quick oats usually cook in the microwave on high in about one minute.

Overnight oatmeal:

Another popular way to prepare oats is to soak them overnight in the refrigerator. Mix equal parts of Rolled or Old Fashioned oats and water. Let sit in refrigerator overnight, up to 3 days. Heat the mixture in the microwave or eat cold in the morning. Add your favorite toppings.

Add other wholesome foods to add flavor to oatmeal

My favorite way to eat oatmeal is with mashed banana and chopped walnuts. The natural sweetness of the banana means that I don’t need to add extra sugars. Walnuts add extra minerals and healthy fats.

Other ideas to add to oatmeal are applesauce, blueberries, peaches, yogurt, almonds, raisins, dried cranberries, chopped dates, pumpkin puree, and flaked coconut. It is fun to use your imagination with oatmeal. It can be a different breakfast everyday.

Below are three of my favorite oatmeal recipes. Enjoy!

Quick and Easy Individual Serving Recipes:

Banana Bread Oatmeal Recipe

  • 1/4 cup quick oats
  • 1 mashed banana
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/8 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 dates, chopped into small pieces
  • 1/8 cup raisins or dried cranberries

Mash banana in a bowl until smooth. Add oats and water. Microwave on high for 1 1/2 minutes. Stir in walnuts, dates and raisins or cranberries.

Apple Pie Oatmeal Recipe:

  • 1/4 cup oats
  • 1/ 3 cup water
  • 1/4 cup apple sauce
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 dates, chopped into small pieces
  • 1/8 cup raisins

Combine oats, water, apple sauce and cinnamon. Microwave on high for 1 1/2 minutes. Stir in dates and raisins.

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal Recipe:

  • 1/4 cup oats
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp pumpkin spice
  • 1/8 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/8 cup raisins or chopped dates

Combine oats, pumpkin, water, maple syrup, cinnamon and pumpkin spice. Microwave on high for 1 1/2 minutes. Stir in walnuts and raisins.

I hope you enjoy these recipes. I eat oatmeal almost everyday. It is healthy and delicious. If you want to read more about eating healthy, check out our nutrition section here at pinkribbonrunner.com


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