Just how good is Porridge for you? We asked an expert.

Porridge – what can I say, it’s yummy, high in fibre, low in fat and bursting with energy. Nothing can get more perfect. As a Dietitian, I despise food being defined as ‘good’ or ‘bad’, but in this situation, oats are sooooo good!

Fun oat facts:

•Oats are one of the rare ‘soluble’ sources of fibre – which means it plays a unique role in keeping your gut healthy (and regular!). Those suffering with Irritable Bowel Syndrome often struggle with choosing fibre rich foods which may contribute further to symptoms. Most people find porridge or oat products a softer, gentler option! It’s the soluble fibre that has been shown to have positive outcomes on cardiovascular health.

• Oats really do keep you fuller for longer; meaning you’re less likely to snack and graze on unhelpful choices during the morning.

The best thing about Porridge is how versatile it is! It’s been a stable for so long that we are becoming adventurous and exploring new tastes and flavours. It can be easy to get carried away with honey, maple syrup and extra sugar turning breakfast into a pudding. Trying to add fresh fruit, nuts and seeds can be really fun ways of boosting breakfasts micro-nutrient content without breaking the sugar bank!

As an ultra-marathon runner, my favourite time to have porridge is about 1-2 hours before a long run. Eating porridge is part of my race routine: Lucky pants, lucky socks, same shorts I’ve had for 6 years, bowl of warm porridge with fruit and milk. I can literally think of no better preparation.

Whilst I would never recommend my clients wear my lucky pants (that would be weird), I always suggest Porridge as the perfect pre-workout, pre-event meal. The fat content is low, to avoid any gastro issues. The carbohydrate content is high to boost glycogen levels (just remember to drink water alongside). The soluble fibre clears you, but doesn’t leave you feeling uncomfortable – perfect! I laugh when I hear people spending crazy money on ‘pre-workout’ foods, and ‘pre-race supplements’, a good pot of porridge is all they need!

Porridge is the best! But like everything, moderation is important. Although, I’d love to have more of the stuff, keeping to one meal per day is probably the most sensible!

Aisling Pigott is a Registered Dietitian working in Wales, with an interest in health, wellbeing and positive relationships with food. Aisling works across a variety of fields in public and private sector, with a keen personal and professional interest in sports nutrition.

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