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Rockstar for your heart and health

I have always loved oats. They are easy to make, so filling and super cheap! It wasn't until very recently I learned just how beneficial they are. There is a reason they have the Heart Healthy emblem from the Amerian Heart Association. Oats really pack a punch nutritionally and are a rockstar choice for your heart and overall health. They are kid approved too and are an easy breakfast option before school.

Oats are full of soluble and insoluble fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and protein. Incredible benefits of incorporating oats into your morning breakfast routine:

  • Lowers LDL cholesterol (the bad kind of cholesterol)

  • Lowers blood pressure because of the powerful antioxidant avenanthramide

  • Helps with gut issues by promoting healthy gut flora, helps with constipation and digestion

  • Triggers the satiety hormone and delays gastric emptying so you feel more full and stay full (which can help with weight loss)

  • May improve insulin sensitivity which helps regulate blood glucose - thanks to soluble fiber beta-glucan

Make a big pot and enjoy for several breakfast meals. I like to add ground flaxseed, chia seeds, cinnamon, vanilla and a touch of honey while cooking. Fun fact: use ground flaxseed instead of whole because you don't digest whole flaxseed (you just poop it out!) and flaxseed contains high levels of lignan which has potent anti-cancer benefits. Apricots, strawberries, white beans, mung beans and soy beans all have lignan too, but flaxseed has the highest content! So don't forget the flaxseed, and what better way than putting 2 tablespoons in your oatmeal every morning - also doubles as a good source of fiber! (Side note: Check out any of Dr. Kristi Funk's talks about cancer prevention or her book, Breasts: The Owners Manual)

Back to oats, the possibilites are endless, I'm fairly certain I never make it the same way twice. After cooking, I make a buffet of all the extra fixings that everyone can choose from, adding what they like. Good choices to add in: all sorts of nuts (almonds, pecans, and walnuts are our favorites), hemp seed hearts, unsweetened coconut flakes, cacao nibs, fresh fruit (apples, pears, peaches, berries, bananas), or dried fruit (cranberries are tasty!) - really anything goes! A favorite of Nate and the boys is adding in protein powder to give it a little more umph. We like it a little more "milky" of a consistency so we top with almond milk, you could use regular milk or another non-dairy milk of your choice.

Have fun experimenting to see what you like. Play around with different spices. So many different possibilites and they are all delicious! I'd like to advise against adding processed sugar, because that negates the benefits of the oats. If you need a tad more sweetness than just fruits and berries, add a drizzle of honey. Honey has some great health benefits too, but only in the raw unprocessed form.

A little more about honey: local raw unprocessed honey is excellent for allergies, contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties and is extremely beneficial in digestion because it contains enzymes that disintegrate carbohydrates and sugars. To learn more about honey and good recipes, check out the website and blog of our friends and beekeepers, Phill & Gayle of Appin Bees.

We have a wonderful partnership with Phill & Gayle. We love the bees and the bees love our trees. The flavor of our honey is so robust, I think, because we give them so much diversity and Phill cares so lovingly for them. If you see us, or our friends at Appin Bees, at events and markets, come get a sample. We think you'll agree that proof is in the flavor.

I hope you enjoy experimenting and will incorporate oats, raw local honey, and all the fixings into your morning line-up to supercharge your morning. All those flavors will surely tantalize your tastebuds.

Until next time.

Love, Dr. Amanda

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