The humble oat is key for longer life

9th January 2015 6:36 AM

A HARVARD University study has found a small bowl of porridge each day for breakfast can increase your life expectancy.

The Kids Menu nutritionist Nikki Boswell said Bundaberg community members could benefit from this knowledge and said the options for porridge were endless.

"Porridge is a great breakfast choice, it's low GI and it provides sustained energy," she said.

Mrs Boswell said from a parent's perspective, it gave kids a great start to their day.

"It gives them the energy to get through school, to concentrate and to behave, which is always a positive," she said.

Mrs Boswell said for people of all ages, it could be a versatile choice that could be tailored to taste.

"You can make it savoury and add some spiced pumpkin to get a few extra serves of veg in, that's quite nice," she said.

"Some stewed apples with some cinnamon are also really good."

For protein, Mrs Boswell said nuts, pumpkin or sunflower seeds were a good option.

Mrs Boswell said the benefits of porridge over another option like cereal or fruit was that it was a wholegrain.

"It provides extra fibre compared to a lot of commercial cereals," she said.

And for parents on a budget, Mrs Boswell said, it was a cheap but healthy breakfast choice.

"It's very affordable, it's very budget friendly, a bag of oats is much more economical than commercial cereals," she said.

For those who are gluten or dairy free, Mrs Boswell said they could still benefit with rice porridge alternatives and soy or nut milk.

Knight Allied Health Care dietician Beth Knight said there was also an American oat that was classed as gluten free and available from Nanna's Pantry.

Ms Knight said the benefits of porridge was long established and said a further Harvard study was investigating porridge's cancer preventing compounds.

"It's linked to longevity because it keeps the whole system health," she said.

Coast Dietetics dietician Sofia Myers agreed and said it was important to include wholegrains such rolled oats to kick-start the day.

"Because oats are rich in nutrients that have been found to be protective towards heart health," she said.