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Oatmeal is known as comfort food for a reason—actually for lots of reasons. And they all suggest that eating oats in some form every day is a smart idea. Besides being a great source of energy-giving protein, B vitamins, vitamin E, calcium, and iron, this wholesome grain is celebrated for its capacity to lower LDL ("bad") cholesterol levels, a quality attributable to its soluble fiber. Oats' soluble fiber also promotes digestive health. In addition, a 2005 Tufts University study found that oatmeal improves brain function, including memory and cognitive ability, while stimulating the production of serotonin in the brain to boost your mood.

Choose It & Use It
Enhance the subtly sweet, nutty flavor of oats by roasting them. They give texture to muffins, breads, and hearty salads, add substance to veggie loaves and burgers, and lend creaminess to soups and sauces. Oats are compatible with sweet spices, such as cinnamon, and piquant herbs, such as thyme. Experiment with oat bran and oat flour, which can be made from rolled oats in a blender.

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