What’s better on a chilled fall or winter morning than a bubbling pot of oatmeal? I try to have a bowl for breakfast 2-3 times a week during the cold months (when I’m not eating my favorite peanut butter crunch toast, that is). My favorite oatmeal method? Rolled oats (not instant, not steel cut) with a handful of defrosted frozen blueberries (I pick bags of blubes in the summer and chow all winter), a scant tablespoon of dark brown sugar, a drizzle of maple syrup, a whisper of cinnamon, and a splash of milk. Ok, now I can face the day.

But if you know oatmeal is good, do you know why it’s good for you? Here are 6 reasons that are attributed on many sites to the American Cancer Society. The list starts with the fact that oats contain both soluble and insoluble fiber, which is healthful because:

1. Insoluble fiber’s cancer-fighting properties are due to the fact that it attacks certain bile acids, reducing their toxicity.

2. Soluble fiber may reduce LDL cholesterol without lowering HDL cholesterol. LDL is bad; HDL is good.

3. Soluble fiber slows down the digestion of starch. This may be beneficial to diabetics because, when you slow down the digestion of starch, you avoid the sharp rises in your blood sugar level that usually occur following a meal.

4. It has been found that those who eat more oats are less likely to develop heart disease, a disease that is currently widespread in the United States.

5. The phytochemicals in oat may also have cancer-fighting properties.

6. Oats are a good source of many nutrients including vitamin E, zinc, selenium, copper, iron, manganese and magnesium. Oats are also a good source of protein.

Don’t even get me started on the benefits of the blueberries (antioxidants), bananas (potassium), and various dried fruits (more fiber) that you might mix into your bowl.

So fire up the stove! Have a good oatmealy morning.

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