Know your OATS

Almost all of us are well aware of the benefits of including oats in our daily diet and many of us know how its useful for its high content of fiber, but there is always a curiosity to know more. So this time I decided to write something about this wonderful cereal.

A bowl of hot oatmeal for breakfast is not only satisfying and filling, it also gets you off to a great start because of its numerous health benefits. Oats are a type of cereal grain that has numerous uses in food. They are most commonly made into oatmeal, which can then be eaten as porridge or added to baked goods, or ground into oat flour and incorporated in baking. As one of the gluten free grains, oats can be safely tolerated by those who must avoid gluten in their diet.

Nutritional bits of Oat
  • 1 cup of oats (whole grain, cooked) contains:
    • Calories: 147 kcal
    • Fat: 2.3 g
    • Carbohydrates: 25.3 g
    • Protein: 6 g
    • Fiber: 3.98 g
    • Glycemic Index (GI): Varies.
      E.g. porridge made from rolled oats (low);
      porridge made from instant oats (high)
although the oats is un-glamorous, but fortunately most of us are aware that oats benefit us in a multitude of ways. Besides being a good source of high quality protein, vitamin E, minerals like zinc, copper, iron, manganese, etc oats are the most well known for their high fiber content . The soluble fiber in oats, beta-glucan, has been shown to reduce LDL cholesterol and help stabilize sugar levels.

Various forms of oats are available on the market, and here is a crash course on oat vocabulary:

  • Steel-cut oats: These have a a dense and chewy texture. They are produced by running the grains through steel blades that thinly slice them.
  • Oat groats: Whole, minimally processed, unflattened kernels of oats. They can be cooked into a porridge, or incorporated into baked goods. Since they are unprocessed, they will take longer to cook – and the upside is that the nutrient density will also be higher.
  • Old-fashioned oats: These are steamed and then rolled, and have a flatter shape.
  • Quick-cooking oats: Like old-fashioned oats, quick-cooking oats are also steamed and rolled. The difference is that they are finely cut before rolling.
  • Instant oatmeal: The oats are first partially precooked, rolled, and then dried. As a result, they cook much faster. Some manufacturers may also add other ingredients such as sugar or salt to instant oatmeal.
  • Oat bran: The outer husk of the grain that resides under the hull. Oat bran is available as a separate product, which can be used to add texture and flavor to baked goods, or simply to boost fiber content.
  • Oat flour: Ground oat grain.

Always refer to the nutritional  values or the label to ensure you are buying healthy and wholesome oatmeal.