The Irish have long been big fans of a hearty bowl of porridge to start off the day.

Better yet, a 2015 Harvard study has found that a bowl of oatmeal in the morning could help you live longer and reduce the risk of heart disease.

Researchers at Harvard monitored the health and diets of 100,000 people for 14 years and found that those who ate whole-grain foods, such as porridge, brown rice, and corn, were protected from a range of illnesses, including heart disease.

“These findings further support current dietary guidelines that recommend increasing whole-grain consumption," the lead author of the report, Dr. Hongyu Wu, said.

“They also provide promising evidence that suggests a diet enriched with whole grains may confer benefits towards extended life expectancy.”

Besides helping you live longer, porridge also helps regulate your appetite, provide slow-release energy for the day, help transport oxygen around your body, aid in muscle recovery, help strengthen bones, and boost your immune system.

So there you have it! It’s as you always suspected - your granny was right about everything.

Here’s how to prepare traditional Irish porridge.

Traditional Irish porridge recipe

Serves 4.


  • 1 cup / 7oz steel cut (or pinhead) oats
  • 4 cups /2 pints water, milk, or half of each, whichever you prefer


The night before, bring the water to a rapid boil.

Slowly add the oatmeal, mixing constantly, and bring the water back to the boil.

Turn off heat, cover, and leave out overnight.

The next morning, add more water (or milk), stir, and reheat.

Top with toasted nuts, cinnamon, brown sugar, golden syrup, honey, fruit, cream, milk or whatever your heart desires.



*Originally published in 2015. Updated in August 2023.