Oats for Health

Porridge is the King of Superfoods, packed full of goodness it has a wide range of proven health benefits:


Porridge oats have a very low Glycaemic Index, this means they are slowly absorbed into the body’s blood stream.  This not only gives a long gradual release of energy and helps keep your blood sugar levels stable but it also keeps you full much longer than other breakfasts.

 Bear Grills :: Long time porridge fan


Porridge Oats contain:

B vitamins (B1, B5, B6)
Vitamin E
Zinc (A single porridge serving can contain up to 41% half of your daily required intake)

Folic acid

Porridge is proven to lower cholesterol, prevent heart disease and boost serotonin (this is widely believed, among other things, to help prevent depression, particularly in the dark winter months).  

Unlike other sugary cerials porridge contains a wide range of vitamins and minerals that your body needs.  As well as being good for your long term health porridge gives a number of immediate short term benefits, the most famous of which is it’s ability to keep you full until lunch and give the body a slow release of energy.

Nutrient 100g of oatmeal 50g of oatmeal % RDA per 50g of oatmeal
Phosphorus 380mg 190mg 34%
Calcium 52g 26mg 4%
Thiamin 0.9mg 0.5mg 50%
Zinc 3.3mg 1.7mg 17%
Riboflavin 0.09mg 0.05mg 4%
Iron 3.8mg 1.9mg 21% men, 12% women
Folate 60ug 30ug 15%

Reference McCance & Widdowson’s 2006


Porridge has the highest proteen content of any cereal, it’s oats contain around 10g of protein for each 100g serving.

Protein is a massive functional component of the cells that make up our body.  A protein molecule is made up of long chains of amino acid subunits.  Many of these are not made or stored in the body, so it is essential we get plenty of them in our diet, and porridge is packed full of the stuff.

Needed for growth and repair the body needs a minimum of 10 – 15% of its daily food intake to contain protein.


Porridge is a great part of a weight loss diet for the following reasons:

  • Porridge is very filling.
  • Full feeling helps you avoid those mid morning snacks.
  • To make a sizeable bowl of morning porridge you only need around 30 grams of porridge oats.
  •  To keep calories down it can be made with water. Alternatively you can use semi or skimmed milk to improve taste.
  • As an example, a large bowl of porridge, made with half skimmed milk and half water with a tea spoon of sugar will contain around 200 calories.
  • For this small calorie concession the slow release porridge carbohydrates give a long gradual release of energy, a full feeling until lunch and a healthy dose of beneficial vitamins and minerals.
  • Porridge oats are high in fibre and help lower cholestrol
  • Cheap and quick to make. If your in a hurry porridge can be made in just a few minutes.
  • Despite popular misconceptions, porridge is delicous.
image from http://www.google.co.uk/imgres?q=weight+loss&hl=en&client=safari&sa=X&rls=en&biw=1585&bih=1012&tbm=isch&prmd=imvnslr&tbnid=oMGmk8bzsylyiM:&imgrefurl=http://www.muscle-fitness-tips.net/weight-loss-tips.html&docid=vF4X-hXT4WFeFM&imgurl=http://www.muscle-fitness-tips.net/image-files/weight-loss-scale.jpg&w=487&h=487&ei=U2n8TvbnCoHT8QOI3JCnCg&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=183&vpy=700&dur=550&hovh=225&hovw=225&tx=113&ty=86&sig=100893049017504728332&page=2&tbnh=150&tbnw=150&start=40&ndsp=40&ved=1t:429,r:8,s:40

Top Tip: Watch your added extras.  Sugar, syrup and other additions soon ramp up your calorie count.  Also be careful of instant porridge as it often contains a massive amount of added sugar and salt.  Try instead to add fresh fruit, honey or nuts.

In short just about every dietitian and health expert in the world agrees that porridge is a pretty damn good way to start your day.


As porridge oats provide a healthy and natural source of fibre they have been proven to help reduce cholesterol.  It is the soluble fibre called beta-glucan in porridge that acts like a sponge in the intestines and absorbs and eliminates cholesterol-rich bile acids.  This process is know to lower bad LDL cholestrol which in turn improves the health of our heart and lowers blood pressure.

The above is based on a number of studies including the article below by Teeside University that found that ”“Seven of the eight studies reported lower total and low density lipoproteins (LDL) cholesterol with oatmeal foods than control foods.”


According to the Mayo Clinic, soluble fiber, such as porridge, has been linked with a reduced risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
As the carbohydrates in porridge take longer to metabolise it regulates blood sugar levels.  According to studies (referenced below) regularly eating porridge decreases the risk of type 2 diabetes by absorbing sugar from the gut and reducing the need for large quantities of insulin.


The fiber in porridge can help improve bowl function, it does this by increasing the bulk of the stools and softening the bowl. It decreases the chances of constipation and the fiber can also help diarrhoea by absorbing water. Porridge is also thought to improve IBS.


One of the less scientific and unproven health benefits of porridge is its ability to boost our libido, balance hormones and improve our sex life. They’ve done studies, you know. 60% of the time, it works every time.


Do you get half way through the morning and find yourself tired and lethargic ? Do your kids get to school and struggle to concentrate ?

image from http://myfairytalesfantasy.blogspot.com/2011/02/bored.html

If your morning breakfast consists of a sugar packed cereal with no real substance and a coffee it is no coincidence that you struggle to get through the morning.  Sugar might help you wake up by boosting your blog sugar levels but you will only come crashing down a few hours later.

Porridge, with its slow releasing complex carbohydrates helps you sustain energy levels through the morning. The complex carbohydrates also stabilize and slowly raise blood sugar levels.  This makes porridge oats an excellent breakfast choice for adults and children alike.


Everyone says they have a hangover cure but the fact is one doesn’t exist. But some things do help.

photo from: http://www.filmofilia.com/the-hangover-review-9195/

The oats in porridge are said to help to absorb toxins and neautralise acidity levels in the body.  Since a hangover is your bodies reaction to being poisoined a bowl of porridge might just help make you feel a little better, a little sooner.


A cure by no means but porridge can help prevent depression. Porridge is high in the Vitamin B6 which encourages the brain to produce Serotonin, this can be associated with feelings of well being, relaxation and aid restful sleep.  During the winter this can be increasingly important as serotonin levels are known to dip when people are not exposed to enough sunlight.

image from http://www.bbc.co.uk/herefordandworcester/content/image_galleries/sunrise_gallery.shtml


A riecent study of 10,000 children by researchers at New York’s Columbia University found that when children regularly ate whole-oat products including porridge, the proportion of overweight children almost halved.

image from http://blog.cornerstorkbabygifts.com/index.php/2011/07/11/are-you-raising-a-fat-kid-being-one-is-no-fun/

Researchers at Oxford Brookes University also found that children eating foods with a low glycaemic index (GI), such as porridge, were less likely to binge on sugary snacks. Foods with a low GI rating release glucose into the body more slowly and evenly, leaving you feeling fuller for longer.


The oldest man in Britain came from Montrose in Scotland, his name was David Henderson and he lived to the ripe old age of 109, passing away in 1998.

photo from http://oldestinbritain.webs.com/apps/photos/photo?photoid=46429735

David put his age and good health down to a daily bowl porridge … and who are we to argue.

• NEXT ?

Fancy giving porridge a try ? check out the following pages:

How to make porridge 

Famous Porridge Club Members

What oats to buy


40 Comments Add yours

  1. jm says:

    I’m going to open a free porridge kitchen in cobh co. cork- morrissy

  2. Thanks for this great porridge resource! I just linked to you in my latest post on oats. I’m having a Celebrate Oats week over at my blog! 🙂

    1. Thanks for this important information about poridge. 😀
      Love it so much.

  3. Patricia Mansfield says:

    I started eating porridge to help with type two diabetes and found it helped me to lose weight. Instead of faddy drinks or diet meals I have two meals a day of porridge and fruit. I microwave apples and stir the pulp in to sweeten porridge instead of sugar.

    Then main meal is normal with meat, pots (of any kind. ……even chips) and as many veg as you can eat. Voila I lost weight and rarely feel hungry. Carry slimline baby bells and oatcakes in your bag for emergencies forwen your friends binge on crisps.

  4. Robert says:

    Delightful, informative site. Love the Hangover part. One small thing: in the “Better Bowls (sic)” section, it’s bowel, not bowl.

  5. just Doi says:

    We eat porridge.We love our oats, however the image at the top of this page is of wheat not oats.YMMV

    1. Nick says:

      It looks more to me like barley

  6. gordon wanless says:

    Could you please tell me the Vitamin C content of porridge?

  7. Janet says:

    But surely the grain pictured beside the bowl of porridge is barley not oats?!?

  8. Celia says:

    Great to find others as enthusiastic about porridge as I am. Its an amazing food. Spread the word!

  9. why porridge is low fat its also make with wheat and chapati also

  10. jim rooney says:

    hi, i have type 2 diabetes this morning my blood sugar reading was 5.6, i then had a bowl of quaker oats porridge and 2 hours later my reading was 13.2 how can it be claimed its good for type 2 diabetics.think boiled egg and toast a safer option

  11. maria says:

    porridge rules end of

    1. ukviking1 says:

      Jim Rooney….are you eating the Quaker Oats Instant Porridge? The Instant Porridge has quite a bit of added sugar, especially the flavoured ones. If I may I suggest eating the raw version…..some people actually eat those straight out of the box but, I prefer mine with milk and around 2 minutes in Microwave. Using skim milk reduces calories and using water reduces them even more. I also no longer add any type of sweetener. Many guys that are weight training will add a scoop of Whey Protein to boost Protein level and give a sweeter taste but, I already drink a breakfast shake with 50-60gms of Protein so, I can get around 65-70gms of Protein at Breakfast. I lost a lot of weight switching to Porridge, along with other smarter choices but, I can’t argue the continued results of a hot bowl of Porridge Oats every morning! If you already consume the raw Oats version, I honestly can’t see how they alone are boosting your blood sugar at all.

      1. ukviking1 says:

        When I said people eat the raw oats straight from the box, I want to clarify that they do add skim or whole milk or, whatever type you choose….I didn’t mean they just eat the oats alone but, that is an option lol. Best of luck Jim.

  12. Jackie Stuart says:

    I do not know whether porridge once cooked has vit b6 in it still because I must not have anymore vit b6 and I love porridge

  13. smartersig says:

    I have some concerns here. First of all why would you want to lower cholesterol unless you have hypercholesterolemia or maybe want to increase your chance of neuro degenerative diseases such as Alzheimers. The brain requires cholesterol to function. The other problem with oats is that it is high in Phytic acid which in turn can block the absorbtion of nutrients and vitamins. I am not disputing some of the benefits of Oats but I don’t think its a slam dunk as portrayed.

  14. smartersig says:

    Here is what Dr William Davies author of wheat belly has to say about oats

    “Oats do indeed have modest immunologic overlap with wheat. But the problem with oats lies in their extravagant capacity to increase blood sugar. A bowl of slow-cooked, organic, stone ground oatmeal—no added sugar—can increase blood sugar in a non-diabetic to 150 mg/dl, 200 mg/dl, sometimes higher. In a pre-diabetic or diabetic, 300 mg/dl is not uncommon. One of the strategies I teach patients is to check blood sugars one hour after a meal to assess the severity of blood sugar rises; this is when I saw, time after time, extravagantly high blood sugars after oats.”

  15. Jim says:

    I’m 66 and Goin strong.
    On a litre of porage every breakfast.

    My mix:
    Boil enough water to make to take one heaped cup of Quick cooking oats.
    Chuck in a hand full of sultanas,
    table spoon of butter,
    leavel tea spoon of salt,
    Couple of table spoons of shredded coconut,
    Cook this up stiring it a couple of times,
    I like mine a bit burnt on the arse.
    Let it cool awhile.
    Mix a good big table spoon of honey to some full cream milk or straight out of the camel, cow, goat or whale what ever is handy now add it to ya porage until it’s just the way you like it.
    Don’t over heat honey, it buggers it.
    My uncle had this mix every morning, he lived over 100 an could fight like a razor back.
    He rode with Laurence in Arabia, yep the same one ya thinkin about, an that’s the truth.
    So… If ya wanna live longer and not have to use viagra
    “siddown sudup an eat ya porage”.
    Thanks Unk!

  16. smartersig says:

    Good for you although not sure its wise to load a low glycemic breakfast like porridge with sultanas and honey

  17. John says:

    Good article, but please use spell check! There are so many spelling mistakes, it makes the facts and figures that your are using less believable.

    1. tinks says:

      Sorry John, I know my smelling is terrible, I will get someone to proof it. Toby

  18. David O'Hara says:

    It’s Teesside and not Teeside!!!

    That is all

  19. Doug says:

    In your photo of the bowl of rolled oats sitting beside a few stalks of grain . The grain is not oats . Looks kinda dumb.

  20. David says:

    30 grams oats, raw milk, 1/4 tea spoon cinnamon, 1 tablespoon of raw cacao powder and raw honey to get preferred taste oh and 1/8 tea spoon of pink hymalaian salt =👍😍😀

  21. George currie says:

    The porridge oats health benefits information is very valuable and appreciated.
    Porridge is a natural breakfast and main meal to many, who are aware of and enjoy its many nutrients, versatility and simplicity among its qualities.
    I am starting a diet and excercise programme to control my weight. Porridge will be the main natural food for bulk, taste and satisfaction and nutrients.
    I’m looking forward to having more energy in the mornings, sleeping better at night and slimming naturally with good old delicious porridge.

  22. smartersig says:

    I have recently reduced my intake of porridge as I am beginning to doubt its good food hype. you can check this yourself and you may be shocked. Porridge brings my blood sugar up to 120 an hour after breakfast whilst beans on a single slice of toast will only cause it to hit 95. Blood glucose spikes are the root cause of many chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. I would suggest you check your own blood sugar levels and then reassess. By the way I tried it with water and nothing else and it still came in at 113

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