While doing some research for today’s blog post I was struck by the number of studies in prestigious scientific journals that support oatmeal as, perhaps, the world’s most perfect food. Since Oregon Fruit has been around for 75 years, we have had the opportunity to talk to lots of consumers over the years. A customer once shared his perfect breakfast with me-Oatmeal and Blackberries. The more I read the more I think he was on to something. Since 1963, study after study has proven the beneficial effects of soluble fiber on cholesterol levels and it just so happens oatmeal AND blackberries are loaded with fiber. Eating a serving of whole grains, such as oats, at least 6 times each week is an especially good idea for postmenopausal women with high cholesterol, high blood pressure or other signs of cardiovascular disease (CVD). In a huge study conducted in the UK consisting of over 35,000 women, fiber from whole grains and fruit were determined to be protective against breast cancer. There seems to be no dispute on the importance of fiber for the prevention of a variety of devastating diseases-heart disease, cancer and type II diabetes. There also appears to be consensus in the contribution of nutritional antioxidants for improving the health and body function in order to prevent these same diseases. Blackberries are unique amongst berries. They are extremely high in fiber, 6 grams per serving! AND extremely high in the antioxidants known as anthocyanins found primarily in colorful food. This double whammy makes it an efficient addition to your diet. Blackberries and Oatmeal contribute 14 grams of fiber with the first meal of the day. The American Dietetic association recommends 25 – 35 grams a day but most of us get only 15. This small change can be all most people need.
Ok, all well and good, but Oatmeal is BORING!! It is the very definition of “bland diet”. The addition of blackberries to your oatmeal is the Holy Grail. Blackberries are most definitely NOT BORING! They are delicious, beautiful, nutritious and naturally sweet. If you need a bit more sweetness adding a natural sweetener like Stevia powder is a good choice. My personal favorite is pure, good quality maple syrup. Since it is so flavorful I need a lot less than I would need honey or brown sugar to get to the level of sweetness that I prefer. The combination of blackberry, maple and oats just works so well together. (You might recall my previous post about Maple Blackberry Scones). Remember that in order to get the benefits of oatmeal you have to eat the right kind-whole rolled oats or steel cut are best. Instant oatmeal contains lots of sugar so that isn’t the choice I am recommending here. It only takes 5 minutes to cook the real kind (Quaker Old Fashioned Rolled Oats), by going for the instant you can save yourself 4 minutes. This is the kind of time saving strategy that reminds me of the driver that tailgates you, swings around to pass you erratically only to find themselves stopped at the red light right in front of you. Spend the extra 4 minutes, you are worth it.