A few years ago, my wife Jan and I received a very thoughtful heart-healthy hostess gift from our guests. They gave us all of the fixings for a heart-healthy breakfast, including the recipe and ingredients to make overnight oatmeal, including a one quart crock-pot. We’ve enjoyed this gift so much that I wanted to share it with you.
Our gift givers knew we’d enjoy oatmeal because it's so high in soluble fiber, which contributes to a healthier GI tract. Its high concentration of both soluble and insoluble fiber also helps oatmeal to fall much lower on the glycemic index than other grains. That’s because the fiber digests slowly, releasing the sugar content at a gradual rate which helps you to maintain steady blood sugar.
Oatmeal also contains heart-healthy essential fatty acids, and helps to lower your blood pressure. Plus, the beta glucans in oatmeal help to support healthy cholesterol and boosts your immune system. Finally, I like the fact that it contains small amounts of activated omega-6s, which we need in small amounts several times a week to help balance the interactions of other omega-6s, as well as anti-inflammatory omega-3s.
Sinatra Smart and Simple Overnight Oatmeal
I've tweaked the recipe a bit to make it even more heart-healthy. First off, I switched out regular oatmeal for steel-cut Irish oats, which are the least processed of all oats. I also substituted fresh berries for frozen, since frozen berries can be high in sugar. Plus, I fine-tuned the garnish by focusing on the healthiest nuts: walnuts, pecans, macadamia nuts, and almonds.
- 2 cups water
- 1/2 cup steel-cut Irish oats
- 1/2 cup raisins or other dried fruit
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon or 1/2 stick cinnamon
Place all ingredients in your crock-pot on low setting before retiring to bed. Oatmeal can cook 6-9 hours. In the morning, add a handful of fresh organic berries, apples or other seasonal fruit before serving. Then, top with chopped nuts (pecans, walnuts, almonds) and drizzle with ½ teaspoon natural maple syrup—which has many valuable health perks.
This gift has been a Godsend in our home. When the weather forecasters call for brisk temperatures for the early morning commute, we just set up the overnight oatmeal, fix it up in a coffee mug, and we have a heart-healthy breakfast to take with us for a hot and hearty way to start our day. The soluble fiber offers a sustained energy release. Plus, the American Diabetes Association also advises that foods high in soluble fiber, like oatmeal, may actually stabilize blood sugar and lower your risk for developing Type 2 diabetes.
Now it’s your turn: What’s your favorite heart-healthy breakfast?