There are many benefits of porridge that you could be taking advantage of every single day by adding it into your diet. Whether you eat it for your breakfast, lunch, or even dinner, porridge is packed full of minerals, vitamins and antioxidants that aid your body to function at its maximum.
If you’ve ever thought “what are the benefits of eating porridge every day?” or “is porridge healthy?” then look no further, because we have formed a comprehensive list of all of the benefits of porridge.
We will cover:
- What Is Porridge?
- Nutritional Information
- 11 Benefits of Porridge
- How To Incorporate Porridge Into Your Diet
- Disadvantages of Eating Porridge
Just before we get stuck in, have you thought about a career in the health and fitness sector? If so, you may just want to check out our level 4 advanced sports nutrition course here. Or, you can browse through all of our courses in our downloadable course prospectus now.
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What Is Porridge?
Porridge is a humble dish that is traditionally eaten for breakfast in many households all over the world. It originated from Northern Europe and has fed countless people for thousands of years.
Porridge is made by mixing a variety of types of grains such as oats, corn, rice and buckwheat with milk or water. Once heated, the porridge creates a thick and starchy consistency that is guaranteed to keep you full for hours.
A common misconception about porridge is that it is exclusively made with oats, but this isn’t the case. Porridge made from oats is called oatmeal, with the dish made from any other grain termed porridge.
Since porridge made from oats is predominantly the type of porridge that is eaten in UK households, this article will focus more so on the health benefits of oatmeal porridge over other grains.
There are many great reasons as to why so many of us opt for eating it, so let’s move onto the nutritional benefits of porridge.
There are many nutritional benefits of eating porridge every day.
In particular, oatmeal porridge benefits us by providing high levels of carbohydrates, fibre, vitamins and minerals within one meal. There really is no better way to kick start your metabolism each morning than by fueling your body with all of these things.
Per half a cup portion (78g) of dry porridge oats contains:
- 51 grams of carbohydrates
- 8 grams of fiber
- 13 grams protein
- 5 grams of fat
- 303 calories
Additionally, porridge oats are rich in minerals and vitamins. Per RDI (Recommended Daily Allowance), porridge oats contain:
- Manganese: 191% of the RDI
- Phosphorus: 41% of the RDI
- Magnesium: 34% of the RDI
- Copper: 24% of the RDI
- Iron: 20% of the RDI
- Folate: 11% of the RDI
- Vitamin B1: 38% of the RDI
- Vitamin B5: 10% of the RDI
By fueling your body with oatmeal porridge, you can rest assured you will feel full for a sustained amount of time and feel energised even on the busiest of days. Ultimately, providing your body with some of the key necessities to function.
If you’re interested in getting the most out of your food to aid your metabolism, be sure to head over to our article on the best metabolism boosting foods here.
11 Benefits of Porridge
#1 Rich In Antioxidants
The first on this list of oatmeal porridge benefits is that it is jam-packed full of antioxidants. Now, many of us have heard that antioxidants are good for us, but what actually are they?
Antioxidants are responsible for regulating the level of ‘free radicals’ in your body.
If your body’s levels of free radicals become too high, this can cause issues such as cellular damage which increases your chances of developing premature ageing, hair loss and in serious cases, cancer.
This is where antioxidants step in. They maintain a balance of free radicals so that you stay healthy and well.
One of the benefits of oats is that they are rich in an antioxidant called avenanthramides. A 2009 study analysed the health benefits of oats compared with other cereal grains with a focus on the rate of avenanthramides in each. The study deduced that oats contain compounds called avenanthramides (Avns), which are not present in other cereal grains.
So, while other cereal grains will each have their own set of health benefits, you’ll find that there are so many more benefits of eating porridge oats every day compared with other breakfast options.
Antioxidants are a vital part of our everyday health, so why not kick start your mornings with a bowl of oatmeal while getting an array of fantastic benefits? If you want to find more key foods to eat full of antioxidants, read our article on the best antioxidant foods now!
#2 Can Reduce Cholesterol Symptoms
With every bowl of porridge, the benefits you can take advantage of even help to reduce your cholesterol levels.
Beta-glucan is a type of soluble dietary fibre that is known for improving cholesterol levels and promoting a healthy heart. Beta-glucan can be found within oats’ cell walls, allowing your health to profit from one of the key benefits from eating porridge oats.
A 2014 study found that if you increase your daily intake of oat beta-glucan, this can result in a reduction of your low-density lipoprotein cholesterol by 5-10%.
Therefore, the beta-glucan lowers cholesterol by hindering cholesterol production within our bodies, which is why it is highly recommended that those with high cholesterol are to increase their daily intake of porridge, to in turn increase their beta-glucan intake.
Lowering your cholesterol levels means that you’re reducing your chances of developing heart disease, which took the lives of over 50,000 in the UK in 2020. This is one of the most amazing benefits of eating porridge oats, increasing health has never been easier by simply incorporating a bowl of porridge into your day.
#3 Keeps You Full For Longer
Another one of the great health benefits of porridge oats is that it keeps you full for hours!
Do you find yourself having breakfast and then just 2-hours later, you’re hungry again? It’s most likely down to you not filling your body with the right foods.
Porridge is a food that releases energy slowly throughout your day. It takes your body longer to convert porridge oats into energy compared with foods such as cake or cookies, which are fast-releasing energy foods.
Foods such as these sugary substances cause your body to convert these foods into energy quickly, resulting in an energy spike, but then you find yourself hungry shortly after.
The Glycemic Index (GI) is an indicator of how long it takes for food to be released as energy. The Glycemic Index measures the rate at which foods release energy and glucose into your bloodstream. The GI works on a 0 - 100 scale, 0 representing the lowest score and 100 representing the highest. For reference, pure glucose has a score of 100.
Why is this important? The higher the score, the quicker that glucose gets into the bloodstream. If the score is lower, glucose is released into the bloodstream more steadily.
According to Harvard Health, rolled oats have a GI score of 55, meaning that glucose is steadily released into the bloodstream, thus keeping you satisfied for a greater amount of time.
There are so many great benefits of eating porridge every day, one of our favourites being that it keeps your stomach full and your body feeling energised all the way through to your next meal.
#4 Promotes Weight Loss
Another great reason why you should start eating porridge is for the weight loss benefits!
The points made of the health benefits of porridge oats in #3, go hand-in-hand with the benefits in this section.
The previous point discussed how one of the benefits of porridge oats is that it keeps you feeling full and satisfied for longer compared with other breakfast options. If you’re wanting to lose some weight, porridge can benefit your weight loss journey and curb any cravings.
When referring to various cereal brands and how many calories are included in each of their portion sizes, porridge oats have fewer calories which is of course, one of the key benefits of having porridge for weight loss purposes.
Per 30g portion (daily recommended amount) of Coco Pops, there’s a total of 116 calories.
Per 40g portion (daily recommended amount) of Shreddies, there’s a total of 145 calories.
Per 30g portion (daily recommended amount) of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes, there’s a total of 113 calories.
When you compare this with Quaker OatSo Simple, which is just 98 calories per 27g (daily recommended amount), you can see how switching to porridge for breakfast can not only make you feel fuller for longer but also help you to cut down on calories.
This is why so many people enjoy taking advantage of the benefits of porridge for weight loss purposes. If you’re considering losing some weight, fueling your body with porridge each morning is a great place to start!
What are some other benefits of eating porridge? Well you can find oats on our list of the 33 best foods that help burn fat or speed up metabolism here!
#5 Can Improve Blood Sugar Control
Another great health benefit of porridge oats is that they can regulate blood sugar levels. This is particularly useful for those with Type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic condition that causes the levels of glucose in the blood to become too high. Sufferers may experience symptoms that vary from fatigue, excessive thirstiness and in turn needing to frequently use the bathroom.
For those with diabetes, a nutrient-rich diet consisting of high-fiber carbohydrates is highly recommended. Porridge oats are rich in both fiber and carbohydrates, aiding those with diabetes to regulate their blood sugar levels on a daily basis.
As mentioned previously, rolled oats have a low glycemic score which is beneficial for those with diabetes since glucose is steadily released into the bloodstream as opposed to in one intense rush.
One particular study tested the insulin levels in Type 2 diabetes subjects following the digestion of various foods. One of the most effective foods were those that were oat and wheat based, these in particular helped to lower insulin levels.
In summary so far, there are some great nutritional benefits of eating porridge every day - from reducing cholesterol symptoms to aiding those with Type 2 diabetes. So next up, we’re going to discuss why the vitamins and minerals included within porridge benefits your health.
Another great substance to help with blood sugar is green tea, find out why in our article - green tea: benefits, side effects and dosage here.
#6 High in Vitamins And Minerals
Oatmeal porridge has health benefits including being rich in vitamins and minerals - but why is that important?
Vitamins and minerals play an essential role in keeping your bones strong, healing wounds and keeping your immune system in optimal shape. They are also imperative in the process of converting food to energy, which is vital should you want to take advantage of porridge oats’ benefits.
Another great benefit of eating porridge is that you’re supplying your body with a rich manganese, phosphorus, iron and vitamin B1 count. Let’s run through why each of these vitamins and minerals aids your body in functioning to the max.
- Manganese aids bone health, is rich in antioxidants and aids the body in regulating blood sugar.
- Phosphorus has an imperative role in the body in filtering waste and repairing tissues, preventing issues like anemia.
- Iron is important in the production of red blood cells and ensuring all red blood cells can circulate the body.
- Vitamin B1 helps the cells in your body to convert the food you eat into energy. If your body lacks vitamin B1, this can result in fatigue and muscle weakness as the converting process can’t work sufficiently.
Porridge has health benefits that can be found within your daily mineral and vitamin supplements - so why not try out for a bowl of porridge in the morning?
#7 Can Reduce Symptoms of Colorectal Cancer
Another incredible benefit of eating porridge everyday is that it can reduce the symptoms of colorectal cancer.
Colorectal cancer is a cancer that affects the colon (the large intestine) and/or rectum.
Research conducted by the BMJ, a medical journal, concluded that increasing your fibre intake can reduce the risk of developing symptoms of colorectal cancer. So, with porridge oats being so high in fibre, this is certainly one of the greatest health benefits of having porridge for breakfast.
This is yet another one of the health benefits of porridge oats. With the grain being able to reduce the symptoms of both heart disease and certain cancers, it is certainly recommended that you try and incorporate a bowl of porridge into your diet each day.
Moreover, if you want to find more foods that can enhance your overall health, head over to our article discussing the best healthy high fat foods here.
#8 It is an Adaptable Dish
Another one of the many benefits of eating porridge oats is that it is a versatile dish. Since porridge has been around for thousands of years, many cultures have put their own spin on porridge oats making it incredibly adaptable.
Within Western cultures, porridge is a breakfast dish that is traditionally eaten with sweet toppings such as dried fruit, syrup or spices like cinnamon.
Some popular ways of eating porridge are foods such as Congee, a type of rice porridge that is eaten in Asian countries such as Japan, Indonesia and China.
The rice is cooked in water until you get a consistency that is similar to rice pudding. Since congee is cooked in just water, the dish is somewhat bland, but the toppings that congee-eaters add to the dish is what makes it truly exciting.
Another type is Jamaican hominy porridge, this porridge variation is made from corn. It is boiled with coconut milk and condensed milk for a rich and creamy flavour. Condensed milk has a sweet vanilla taste, and so with the addition of cinnamon, it makes a truly flavoursome variation of porridge.
Not only does porridge have different variations around the world, but it is also such a versatile dish that regardless of how your diet might change, porridge can certainly adapt with you. By simply opting for a plant-based milk alternative, your morning breakfast has been made vegan with minimal effort.
For some great resources on nutrition and living a healthy lifestyle, read our articles below:
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#9 Oats Are Naturally Gluten-Free
Another one of the benefits of oats is that oats are naturally gluten-free. If you have opted for a gluten-free diet or are celiac, then porridge could be a great breakfast option for you.
However, traces of gluten can still make their way into some gluten-free foods, so it is always recommended that you read the label carefully before purchasing your oats.
That being said, oats being gluten-free is still one of the great health benefits of having porridge for breakfast. Opting for a gluten-free diet can help to reduce inflammation and boost your energy. For an extensive list of the best foods for energy, click here.
Additionally, many who convert to a gluten-free diet and eat porridge see the benefits of weight loss. This is yet another one of the great health benefits of having porridge for breakfast, especially if you’re looking to lose a little weight, or just assisting your intolerances.
#10 Promotes a Good Night’s Sleep
So far we’ve covered a lot of the perks associated with eating porridge oats, such as the health benefits associated with losing weight and even reducing symptoms of certain cancers.
But did you know that eating oatmeal porridge has benefits that can even help have a restful night’s sleep thanks to melatonin? Melatonin is a hormone that is naturally found within our bodies and its purpose is to regulate your sleeping pattern.
There are many man-made melatonin-based products that can be taken to encourage a restful sleep. However, if you are someone that struggles with sleep but wants a more natural remedy to assist you, oatmeal porridge is a great option.
Porridge oats are rich in melatonin. So, while porridge is traditionally eaten for breakfast to kick start your metabolism and get you energised for the day, eating a small bowl before bed could aid you in drifting off into a restful slumber.
A useful study that examined the rate of melatonin within cereal grains found a relatively high amount of melatonin in cereals such as wheat, barley and oats.
So be sure to reap the benefits of eating porridge oats to help you get to sleep before opting for other substances. Be sure to listen to your body when you need rest, read about the importance of rest days and how many you need here.
#11 Promotes Healthy Skin
Our final point on why eating oatmeal porridge has health benefits that you should definitely take advantage of, is the impact it has on your skin.
If you’ve ever asked the question “are oats good for you?” - the answer is most certainly yes. They’re good for our general health, keeping us full and energised, and even great for keeping our skin blemish-free.
There is indeed research that found lotions containing oat extract have anti-inflammatory qualities, which of course help our skin to look its best and reduce blemishes.
You can even make face-masks that include porridge oats, the health benefits vary from relieving itchy and irritated skin to alleviating the symptoms of acne-prone skin. This is because oats are known for absorbing oily substances from the skin’s surface.
Are you someone who has oily skin or often experiences breakouts? Why not consider making one of these oaty face-masks?
- 3 tablespoons of porridge oats
- 1 tablespoon of honey
- 3 tablespoons of plain yoghurt
- Mix the ingredients together and apply to the face.
- Leave it for 15-20 minutes until the mixture has set.
- Rinse with lukewarm water and apply an oat extract lotion for anti-inflammatory benefits.
In summary, by eating oatmeal porridge, the health benefits that you can reap are vast. But now you might be thinking - how can I incorporate porridge into my diet? Go ahead and check out the best healthy cereal bars here.
How Can I Incorporate Porridge Into My Diet?
If you’re someone who would like to see the benefits of porridge for weight loss purposes, healthier-looking skin, sleeping better or filling your body with more essential antioxidants, you’re probably thinking ‘what is the best way to do this?’.
Well, there are countless ways that you can incorporate porridge into your diet. Despite porridge being a dish that is traditionally eaten for breakfast, there are so many variations of the dish that make it a great dessert, pre-bedtime snack, or replacement for any other meal.
So, here we have some variations of different topping combinations that work well and can help you jazz up your bowl of porridge!
- Strawberries, blueberries with a sprinkle of ground almonds and a teaspoon of honey drizzled over the top.
- Banana, raisins, a sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg with a drizzle of golden syrup.
- Stewed rhubarb or plums are a great alternative to jams and marmalades.
- Adding a scoop of chocolate spread for a more indulgent breakfast.
All of these can be accessible for plant-based diets too, so don’t feel restricted if you lead a vegan lifestyle and still want to get all the nutritional benefits of porridge.
- Jamaican Hominy Porridge - made with coconut milk and condensed milk, this variation of porridge oats is a perfect dessert alternative. It is rich, creamy and indulgent and works a treat as an afters with friends and family.
- Baked porridge oats - by adding egg, flour and whatever flavourings you fancy, mixed together and baked, you can have a spongy cake-like breakfast, dessert, or snack.
Disadvantages of Eating Porridge
While there are a variety of great benefits of eating porridge oats, as with anything, there are always some disadvantages. Before you go ahead and incorporate porridge oats into your daily diet, we recommend you become familiar with some of the disadvantages.
#1 Artificial Flavourings in Porridge Oat Brands
Porridge oat brands are known to add artificial colours and flavourings into their porridge oats to make their product tastier and more appetising. For example, many instant porridge oats do come with additional flavourings that aren't particularly necessary.
Artificial flavourings are low-quality, highly processed foods that are typically packed full of sugar and fats. Too many artificial colourings and flavourings can negatively affect our gut, liver and immune system.
If you are wanting to be mindful of how frequently you put artificial products into your body, it is recommended to always read the label of products before purchasing so that you know exactly what is in them.
Organic porridge oats have benefits that include, no additives, artificial flavours or artificial colours. So, if you’re looking for a more natural approach to your breakfast, opting for organic porridge oats could benefit you.
#2 Risk of Cross Contamination
As mentioned previously, porridge oats are a naturally gluten-free food. However, when cereal manufacturers make their products within factories, it is possible that foods can get cross-contaminated.
This means that while oatmeal is a dish that is naturally gluten-free, there is always a risk that it could contain traces of gluten. This can still cause risks for those with celiac disease.
It is always recommended to read the labels on products with care, as while oats are naturally gluten-free, there can be risks that you may still have a reaction.
#3 Porridge Oats Can Cause Bloating
Oats are a type of whole grain that are high in fibre, carbohydrates, glucose and starch. Once porridge oats reach your gut and large intestine, the bacteria that consume the food can cause gas and bloating.
Should you find yourself with gas or bloating-like symptoms after eating porridge, it is recommended that you should eat smaller portions until your body becomes accustomed to you regularly consuming oats.
But, despite these disadvantages, if you’re still wondering “is porridge good for you” or “is porridge healthy” - the answer is still yes.
There are so many benefits of having oats in your diet, it is simply encouraged to be mindful of what type of oats you put into your body if you want to avoid artificial flavourings and colours.
Is It Healthy To Eat Porridge Everyday?
Yes, absolutely. There are so many benefits of eating porridge everyday.
By eating porridge oats, the health benefits you will gain will keep your body happy and satisfied.
Porridge is packed full of fibre. Per average portion of porridge (30g), there is approximately 10g of fibre, which is ⅓ of the average person's daily requirements. Enough fibre is what your body needs for a well functioning digestive system, and allows for your normal bodily functions to operate optimally.
It is an excellent way to start your day and will keep your body sustained with satiety. While there are so many benefits of eating porridge everyday, too much of it can cause some problems such as bloating or gas.
It is also essential that you maintain a balanced diet by providing your body with foods from other food groups, such as fruit, vegetables, protein and fats.
So whether you want to reap the benefits of having porridge for breakfast, lunch or even a late night snack, eating it everyday has tons of advantages. You can also feel great benefits from the best immunity foods that you can read about here.
When Is The Best Time to Eat Porridge?
Oatmeal porridge has health benefits that we should all take advantage of, but when is the best time of day to make the most of them?
Depending on which benefits you desire the most, likely depends on when you have your bowl.
Having a bowl of porridge is a great way to start your day. This is because when you wake up, your body’s metabolism needs a boost to be prepared for the day to come. The quicker that your body can begin converting food into energy, the quicker you’ll feel energised.
Porridge oats benefit you by keeping you full and satisfied so you won’t be tempted to pick at unhealthy snacks in between meals.
Moreover, as we now know, a small bowl of porridge before bed can be great for you and your sleep. It contains melatonin, a sleep-regulating hormone. A small bowl of porridge before bed can be great if you have sleeping issues such as insomnia, and want a natural remedy to aid you in drifting off for the night.
Is Porridge Good For Losing Weight?
If you’re someone who would like to lose some weight and have questioned “is porridge good for you?” or even “is porridge healthy?”, then the answer for you is yes.
You’re in the right place if you want to see the benefits of porridge for weight loss purposes.
As mentioned previously, compared with other cereal products on the market, per average portion, porridge is lower in calories. It is also richer in carbohydrates, which means your body will take longer to convert the food into energy, keeping you fuller for longer.
Therefore, this inadvertently makes porridge a great food to have if you want to lose some weight since you’ll have less temptation to eat other foods in between meals.
Since natural, pure oats don’t have any additional artificial flavourings and colours, and therefore have less sugar compared with flavoured porridge products, you are fueling your body with less sugar and fats.
So, a great reason why you should start eating porridge is there’s benefits for weight loss.
This is yet another one of the great benefits of having porridge for breakfast, especially if you’re looking to cut your daily intake of calories. If you are on a weight loss journey, you’ll benefit from reading our article on the best herbs for weight loss here.
Is Instant Porridge As Good For My Body As Traditional Porridge?
There are many varieties of porridge, from instant porridge to rolled oats. Regardless of which porridge you choose to have, all have great benefits that will support your body's daily functions.
The only difference with instant oats compared with traditional porridge is that instant oats are typically made with additional artificial colours and/or flavourings. More importantly, artificial preservatives can be highly processed.
From a health perspective, opting for traditional porridge and adding your toppings yourself would be better since you know exactly what you’re putting in your body.
However, from a convenience perspective, instant oats are better if you’re tight for time and still want all of the incredible health benefits of porridge.
Is Porridge Healthy?
If you’ve thought about what the healthiest breakfast options there are on the market, and have considered “is porridge healthy?” or “are oats good for you?” - the answer is yes, absolutely.
By eating porridge oats, the health benefits you will reap are vast.
You can be as healthy or as indulgent as you wish when it comes to porridge. As mentioned previously, you can opt for a healthier approach by putting fresh fruit on your porridge, or even use creamy and rich condensed milk when cooking your oats.
Eating porridge oats benefits you and your body in a variety of ways. It cuts down how many calories you're consuming compared with other cereal brands, and keeps you full and satisfied for longer. This means you’re less likely to snack or crave unhealthy snacks in between meals.
As mentioned previously, if you’re wanting to be more mindful of what you're eating, opting for organic porridge oats has benefits that might interest you within the next section.
Whatsmore, if you’re looking for a healthy lifestyle change, why not try plant based? Find the best high protein vegan snacks here!
Should I Buy Organic Oats or Regular Oats?
If you’re considering incorporating a bowl of porridge into your day, the healthiest option for you would be to opt for organic porridge oats. The benefits of this are that the oats will not be modified with any pestercised or additives.
Nutritionally, both organic and regular oats are identical, but if you’re someone who is wanting to opt for a healthier and clean lifestyle, incorporating organic produce into your diet is always a step in the right direction.
Regular oats are still a very healthy breakfast option, but organic porridge oats have benefits that minimise the number of unnecessary chemicals you’re fueling your body with.
Before You Go
We’ve covered the key differences between instant oats, rolled oats and organic porridge oats and the benefits of each so you can choose which would best suit you.
We’ve also covered the key questions that you may have had when approaching this article, such as “what are the benefits of eating porridge?” or “is porridge good for you?”. Overwhelmingly, we’ve discussed how more often than not, the answer is yes!
One more thing before you go, if you are interested in nutrition, head over to our page and take a look at our level 4 advanced sports nutrition course now! Or, expand your horizon and browse through our downloadable course prospectus here.
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Download your FREE Food Diary
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