Like an open canvas, oats are transformed by adding a variety of fresh fruits while providing a healthy boost to your diet.

Oats were once considered an unwanted, invasive weed that threatened wheat and barley crops. Over the centuries, however, oats made its way into the homes of many different cultures and is shown to have incredible health benefits. Oats are cheap, easily accessible and come in several varieties, making them not only economical and enjoyable, but a smart choice for almost any diet.

Don’t like mushy oatmeal? The familiar old-fashioned rolled oats, and the thinner-rolled quick and instant oats, cook very rapidly due to having a larger surface area, but the resulting mushy texture after being cooked is what some people don’t like about oatmeal. Alternatively, Irish oats are steel-cut kernels that have a much chewier, thicker texture when prepared but have to be cooked longer. Scottish oats are stone-ground, and the result is a creamier porridge somewhere between rolled and Irish oats.

Plain oats are much like an artist’s canvas before it’s been painted. They are easily turned into delicious meals by adding color and texture, like fruit, berries or nuts. Blueberries, strawberries, peaches or even apples with a sprinkle of cinnamon can turn oatmeal into your flavor of the day.

In addition to tasting great, oats can benefit your health in many ways. According to a 2011 study published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine, oat beta-glucan, a dietary fiber found in oats, has cholesterol-lowering properties. Furthermore, oat consumption is associated with a 7 percent reduction in total “bad” cholesterol levels.

It’s also been shown that a diet containing oats can improve blood pressure control, and an increase in oats may significantly reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. In addition, a study done by the University Hospital Mannheim found that Type 2 diabetes patients who were given oatmeal as part of their diet achieved a 40 percent reduction in insulin dosage.

So go ahead — feel your oats!

Did you know?

The list of health benefits associated with oats is endless. Wild oats, or Avena sativa, can be used to treat a range of ailments, including headaches, depression, tension, insomnia, anxiety and nerve pain. They can also be used as topical treatments for rashes, psoriasis, burns, eczema and warts. 

Need a Superfood recipe? Try one of these:

Loaded granola cookies

Oatmeal ‘risotto’ with cherry tomatoes and basil

Oatmeal fruit smoothie

Overnight oats with berries