Enjoying warm oatmeal with your morning coffee as the weather turns cooler is the best way to welcome fall. Oatmeal is a great breakfast option because it can help you live longer, lower inflammation, and keep you full for hours. We all know that oatmeal is boring and bland without toppings. There are so many options for healthy toppings, but we wanted to know what the best option was that wouldn’t leave you feeling bloated or keep your stomach flat all day. You probably want to hear the answer for fall: Pumpkin!
“Pumpkin is a good source of fiber making it a great addition to your oatmeal bowl any time of year not only for more staying power but also for optimal digestion,” says Maggie Michalczyk, RDN, founder of recepti, and author of The Great Big Pumpkin Cookbook.
One quick science lesson: Although eating too much fiber can cause you to feel bloated, regular intake of fiber can improve your body’s ability to digest food properly and keep your stomach flat over the long-term. According to Mayo Clinic, fiber helps keep your digestive system moving, promotes good colon health, reduces constipation and lowers your risk for developing chronic diseases.
Fiber is a compound that can be combined with carbohydrates to flush them out of the body. Your blood sugar levels will drop if you eat more fiber-rich foods.
According to research published in Obesity, combining a healthy workout with regular fiber intake can help reduce belly fat. Fiber is a good thing to eat every day to lose weight.
Pumpkin fiber can aid in digestion and reduce belly bloat. However, it can also help your body in other ways like strengthening your immune system.
Michalczyk says that “in addition to fiber, [pumpkin] also offers more vitamin A, C and E to your diet,”
Vitamin A is made from beta-carotene, a plant pigment that gives pumpkin its bright orange color. Vitamin A is vital for your eyes, but research also shows how this vitamin can strengthen your immune system.
Beta-carotene, also known as an antioxidant is essential for reducing inflammation and fighting off free radicals which increase the risk of developing disease.
Pumpkin is a great addition to oatmeal because of all its health benefits and the ability to flatten your stomach.
Michalczyk recommends adding a few additional toppings to pumpkin to increase your gut health.
Michalczyk says, “Add a little honey to make it even healthier. Honey may be prebiotics.” “Prebiotics, also known as probiotics or good bacteria in the gut, are food for the good bacteria. A good diet and adequate amounts of probiotics are important factors that can impact gut health.
You can also add pepita seeds to pumpkin oatmeal for magnesium (helps muscle function), walnuts to increase brain health, and almonds for vitamin E (for immunity function).