Let us get this straight: if breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and porridge is the food that could help predict how long we'll live, should we be eating anything other than oatmeal .. ever?
According to recent results from a massive study by Harvard University of more than 100,000 people monitored for 14 years, those who ate whole grains (like porridge, brown rice, quinoa, etc.) appeared to be the most protected from chronic diseases, and in particular, heart disease. The study was published in JAMA Internal Medicine.
The subjects' diets were monitored every two to four years, and even replacing one serving of refined grains (or, for that matter, red meat) per day with a serving of whole grains was linked with a lower mortality rate: 8 per cent in the case of refined grains, and 20 per cent lowered for red meat, according to a Harvard press release.
Of course, it's no surprise that eating whole grains is better for your health — it's at the top of pretty much every nutritionist's 'healthier options' list — but this study is one of the first to widely establish a longer life thanks to the grains.
But don't automatically assume just because something says "whole" means it's good for you. As dietitian (and HuffPost Canada blogger) Abby Langer wrote this week, the brown flavour in whole wheat bread can come from caramel colour, while many of these breads use a lot of sugar for flavour.
And of course, as the U.K.'s National Health Service points out, it's not just porridge doing the heavy lifting, but all real whole grains, as well as bran. So why is porridge getting all the attention? We think it has something to do with how easy it is to consume, not to mention the comfort factor.
Langer recommends opting for quick cooking, unflavoured steel cut, or large flake oatmeal, which, she notes, "takes a while to cook for a reason: it's pure grains."
Below, find a number of recipes for overnight oats, an easy way to prep your grains for the the morning, ready to combat whatever health challenges come your way.