I’ve been reading a lot about the new oatmeal that’s being offered by Starbucks. Starbucks’ oatmeal has become an advertising and marketing darling. Apparently one does well in a crashing financial market by offering customers high-priced oatmeal, apple brand muffins and a protein plate. Well, at least Starbucks does. “Oatmeal-onomics” is what they’re calling it. I like that.
Anyway, onto the myth. We’ve always heard that oatmeal can lower your cholesterol and blood pressure. But is this really true? Where did this idea come from? Does eating oatmeal really lower your blood pressure?
This oatmeal-can-lower-blood-pressure idea stems from a study done in 2002, published in Preventative Medicine in Managed Care. Researchers at the University of Minnesota found that beta glucan, the soluble fiber found in oats, can lower blood pressure. Of the participants who ate oat cereal daily for 12 weeks, 73% were able to reduce or eliminate their blood pressure medication. Of those in the control group that were fed low-fiber cereals with minimal beta glucan, only 42% were able to reduce or eliminate their high blood pressure medication. A pretty powerful study. Makes sense that you can find this on the Quaker Oats site.
The author of the study, Dr. Joseph M. Keenan, MD, interim chair of the University of Minnesota’s Department of Family Practice & Community Health, said he can’t be positive what makes oatmeal so great when it comes to lowering blood pressure and cholesterol. His best guess is the total and soluble fiber, mineral content, and grain antioxidants found in oats may contribute to favorable blood pressure “possibly via an improvement in insulin sensitivity.” Interesting.
Another study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and conducted by researchers at Simmons College in Boston, found that men who ate the most wholegrain foods, like oats and brown rice, were less likely to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes versus men with a high intake of refined grains like pasta and white rice. Also interesting.
The truth is that all oatmeal contains the same amazing beta glucan which can help manage weight, cholesterol, and blood pressure. However, one must be aware that instant oatmeal packages and regular oatmeal are two different animals. According to Donna Feldman, MS, RD at Williams College, flavored instant oatmeal contains added sweeteners which means more calories. Also, a serving size in a packet of instant oatmeal contains less oats than the 1/2 cup dry oats serving size listed on a can of regular oatmeal. Less oatmeal = less fiber and beta glucan. However, in general, all oatmeal is good heart-healthy oatmeal.
So go grab yourself some Starbucks oatmeal with dried fruit, nut medley or brown sugar to go along with that $5, 380 calorie Grande Carmel Frappuccino Blended coffee with 2% milk and whip. Perhaps it will all even out in the end. Maybe play some Playnormous health games just in case.
Oatmeal and blood pressure…busted!
Not only is Humana our office’s insurance company, but some of the Playnormous team has become pretty good friends with their new intitative HG4H, Humana Games for Health, after meeting them at the Games for Health Conference earlier this year. Our friends at HG4H issued a press release a couple of weeks ago that was picked up by the International Business Times. They wrote such an interesting article that I decided to re-post it here on Monster’s Blog. Happy reading!
A new collaboration between Humana and iTech Fitness is intended to inspire video-game players to get off the sofa and try their hand at the latest generation of active games, known as exergames. Humana is working with iTech in an effort to get more people more active – using exergame technology to promote health and wellness.
Humana Games for Health, part of Humana Inc., and iTech Fitness will jointly promote iTech’s new XRKade iZone, a fully integrated and mobile exergaming system that can be purchased and easily installed in about 300 square feet of space. The XRKade iZone incorporates four LCDs, all gaming electronics, gaming consoles and up to eight items such as bikes, boards and dance pads into one convenient package. The system can be upgraded at any time with new gaming technologies.
Humana and iTech will present the iZone as a solution for organizations that want to promote exergaming, but have limited space and technical know-how, including fitness centers, schools, senior centers, corporate wellness programs and hotels. The iZone, which plugs into a single 110-volt outlet, can be easily stored or moved from site to site for special events.
“We developed the XRKade iZone to offer a fun and simple solution for non-traditional markets wanting to offer the fun of active gaming with limited space and easy set-up,” said Mike Hansen, iTech president and CEO. “We are excited to collaborate with Humana to bring active gaming to new markets.”
iTech is unveiling the XRKade iZone this week at Club Industry ’08, a trade show and conference for health and fitness professionals. The iZone is featured at Booth 160 in the McCormick Place convention center in Chicago.
Active gaming incorporates physical activity into the video game experience. Players power a fighter jet by pedaling, dance alone or in a group, do tricks on a skateboard or snowboard, or take an exercise bike for a leisurely spin through beautiful scenery, or a thrilling stage of the Tour de France – just a couple of examples.
“At Humana Games for Health, we believe game technology can be used to improve people’s health,” said Paul Puopolo, director of Humana Games for Health. “More importantly, active gaming offers a fun way to increase physical activity. That’s why we’re pleased to be working with iTechFitness. With exergame solutions such as the XRKade iZone, exergaming will now be accessible to more people.”
We are pleased to announce, with the arrival of our full suite of teacher pages, Playnormous has officially left the Beta phase of website development. Our “Sneak Peek beta” button is now “Sneak Peek! new games” so you can stay updated on the latest game releases.
Everyone has been working so hard to make Playnormous what it is today and there’s still more to come. Here’s just a little summary of all we’ve accomplished on the site these last few months:
As it turns out, Playnormous isn’t just for kids and their parents. We’re finding that a lot of schools are using Playnormous in their classrooms. Because of this, we’d like to say thank you to all of you teachers out there that have been linking to us by creating some materials just for you. Be on the lookout for the Playnormous Teacher’s Guide. In this section of the website you will be able to:
All this and more coming soon to Playnormous.com!
Playnormous has been absolutely on fire! No, no–no need to grab a hose or a bucket of water. I mean that our traffic is on fire. We’ve doubled, almost tripled our regular visitor numbers. As I posted last week, the trend started on October 6 and just keeps climbing.
People from all over the world have been visiting Playnormous these last two weeks including: the US, UK, Canada, Australia, India, South Korea, Brazil, Singapore, Turkey, Philippines, Italy, UAE, Colombia, Spain, Bulgaria, Ireland, France, Pakistan, Greece, Malaysia, Norway, Germany, China, Kuwait, Finland, Croatia, Indonesia, Serbia, Mexico, Hong Kong, Netherlands, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Jamaica, Argentina, Malta, Romania, South Africa, Chile, Egypt, New Zealand, Thailand, Portugal, Estonia, Denmark, Latvia, El Salvador, Macedonia, Japan, Lithuania, Iceland, and Peru. Whew! What a list!
As a token of our appreciation, we’d like to honor our top 10 city visitors these past two weeks. Click on the links to learn about each of these amazing, Playnormous-lovin’ cities!
In the words of The Who, “Who are you?” Are you from one of our top cities? Are you a teacher, a parent, a kid, a researcher? Tell us! As a new games for health community we want to best serve the people who frequent our site. Contact the Big Monster at the bottom of our homepage or leave a comment on Monster’s Blog and let us know how we can make Playnormous even better!