Millions of people suffer from wheat allergies or have an intolerance to wheat. They wonder if they can eat oats and use oat products. The rest of us have heard how nutritious and healthy oats are and want to learn more about them.
Oats are a grain that does not come from wheat. Like wheat, oats are a cereal grain. The big difference between oats and wheat is that oats do not contain gluten protein. A recent article by the Huffington Post reveals that 30% of adults eat a gluten-free diet for many reasons.
If you have celiac disease or a severe allergy, check the packaging. Some brands guarantee that the oats are processed and packaged in a gluten-free facility. Reading the packaging ensures you will not get any gluten contamination.
Many people turn to oats as a wheat-free alternative, and for a good reason! Oats are a nutrient-rich food that offers a variety of health benefits. This article will explore all about oats and how you can use them in your diet.
RELATED: IS EATING RAW OATS HEALTHY?
What are oats?
The Latin name of the oat plant is Avena sativa, and it is a whole grain food. Grains are fruits of the grass family, and oats are a type of grain. Oats are the edible seeds of oat grains.
They are also used in skincare for their soothing properties. Oats have the nutritional benefits of being high in antioxidants, fiber, and nutrients. There are many health benefits to eating oats.
How Do Oats Look?
The oat plant is a tall grass stalk that grows in fields and looks like wheat. It even produces feathery seed fronds when ready to pick, just like wheat. However, oats look different depending on how they are processed. They are light brown small grains when fresh.
What are the health benefits of oats?
Oats are one of the most nutritious foods you can eat. They are a good source of fiber, antioxidants, and nutrients. Oats may also help to lower cholesterol and regulate blood sugar levels.
Whole oats are high in antioxidants, including one which is almost only ever found in oats. These unique plant compounds can lower blood pressure and help with inflammation and itching.
Oats and Digestion
Unlike wheat which can cause bloating, oats aid in digestion. Oats are naturally full of fiber, which helps food move your digestive system more efficiently. Oats have proven anti-inflammatory properties, which can calm an irritated digestive tract.
Having low cholesterol is essential to good health, and oats also help you have a healthier heart! Oatmeal has large amounts of soluble fiber, reducing the amount of bad cholesterol in your blood. According to Web MD Oatmeal and oat bran can reduce cholesterol when part of a healthy diet.
Doctors recommend Oats to help overweight people or people who have type two diabetes lower their blood sugar levels. This Healthline article explains how it can also improve insulin sensitivity. The glycemic load of oats is low for a grain.
Oatmeal is a part of many weight-loss diets because it is filling and packed with nutrition. Eating filling foods has been shown to aid in weight loss.
Oatmeal can improve your skin’s appearance from the inside out. In addition, oatmeal can boost collagen production.
Oatmeal is also an ingredient in many natural skincare products. It is moisturizing and can gently cleanse your skin, reducing inflammation.
One easy way to use oatmeal for your skin is to add 1/4 of ground oats to your bath. An oatmeal bath will soothe any irritations while also leaving you moisturized.
What is the nutritional content of oats?
Oats are one of the most nutrient-dense foods you can eat. For a small number of calories, they contain a high amount of nutrition. Oats have double the amount of protein and fiber as wheat, making them an excellent choice for any meal. 1/2 cup of dry oats, which is about one serving, contains only 140 calories and no sodium or sugar.
Oats provide almost 30 grams of complex carbohydrates in one serving. Oats are a healthier breakfast choice than most processed cereals with all this fiber and no added sugar.
Vitamins and Minerals
Oatmeal fulfills a high % of the daily vitamins and minerals needed for a healthy diet. An average serving of 1/2 cup or 46 g provides the following :
- Manganese: 64%
- Copper: 18%
- Vitamin B1: 16%
- ·Zinc: 13%
- Phosphorus: 13%
- Magnesium: 13%
- Zinc: 13%
- Iron: 9%
- Vitamin B5: 9%
- Folate: 3%
It also provides trace amounts of calcium, potassium, B6, and B3.
Types of oats
The different types of oats indicate how they were processed. The less oats are broken down, the longer they take to digest. Longer digestion times help keep blood sugar low. If you are concerned about glycemia or blood sugar levels, it is better to consume steel-cut or oat groats.
Oat Groats: Groats are the most intact form of oats and take the longest to cook. Only the inedible outer husk of the seed is removed. Oat groats contain the brand and the endosperm of the grain. This whole grain is the most nutritious form of oat and takes the longest to cook.
Oat Bran: The bran is the edible husk of the oat seed and contains the most fiber but the least nutrition. It can be eaten as a cereal or added to recipes to give it texture and bulk. Oat bran milling uses the leftover bran husks.
Steel-Cut or Irish: Oat groats are chopped into smaller pieces with a steel blade, and the size of the segments varies by brand
Scottish Oats: Oat groats are stone-ground down to a fine texture that makes for a mushy cereal. These are also known as porridge oats.
Rolled or Old-Fashioned: This is when the groats are steamed, then rolled and flattened into flakes. Finally, the moisture is removed, so it can be kept in the cupboard for long periods.
Quick or Instant: To make oats instant, the manufacturer steams them for longer and rolls them even finer, cooking more quickly.
Oat Flour: This is when oat groats are milled into a powder, and the coarseness of this can vary. Oat flour can partially replace wheat flour in recipes.
Colloidal Oats: This term refers to oats made into flour and used in skin care applications.
Certified Gluten-Free Oats: These are oats manufactured in a facility that is certified to be gluten-free.
Oat Straw: This is the stalk part of the oat plant, and it is harvested before the plant is ripe. It is a health supplement.
Which type of oat should I use?
Choosing a suitable oat for your purpose can be confusing. To select the correct one, consider what your goal is. The more processed the oat is, the less nutritional value it has and the easier it is to cook.
If you have a gluten intolerance, consider buying certified gluten-free oats.
Steel-cut oats are more nutritious than rolled oats and have a chewier, nuttier texture. However, rolled oats are much quicker to cook. So, if convenience is your goal, go with rolled oats for their quick cooking time.
Products made with Oats
Using products made with oats can be healthier alternatives and great for people with food allergies to dairy or wheat. If you have celiac disease or are highly allergic to wheat, use certified gluten-free oats.
While products made with oats carry many of the benefits of oats, you have to carefully read the packaging if you have allergies or intolerances to see what else is in the products. Also, just because a product is made with oats does not mean it is gluten-free.
Although oats are very healthy, sometimes oat products add so much sugar or fat that they become unhealthy. Make sure you read the packaging to see what else is in the product. Making your dishes with oats is a healthy and cheap way to ensure you get all the benefits.
Oat Porridge or Oatmeal
These terms are interchangeable. Porridge has been enjoyed for centuries as a breakfast food. Classically dairy products like milk and butter are added along with a sweetener. The cooking time varies with the type of oats you buy.
Porridge made from rolled oatmeal is widespread in North America, Scandinavia, Finland, Norway, Australia, and Ireland. In the United Kingdom and Canada, it is usually called “oatmeal.” Over the years, porridge has been a staple in the food system of all nations.
Sprouted Oat Groats:
The most nutritious way to eat oats is to buy the whole groats, soak them overnight and then sprout them. The next step is to cook them into porridge as you would with regular oatmeal. They have a wonderful nutty flavor and are very nutritious.
Oatmeal Cereal Bars:
These are to have a quick snack or breakfast on the go. They are made with different grains, including oats, fruit, and sweeteners. While these sound healthy, they can often be made with enormous amounts of sugar and ingredients that cause allergy issues.
Oat milk is a new trend in health drinks. Made from raw oats, it’s naturally gluten-free and can be enjoyed by people with allergies. Just be sure to read the label to see what else the manufacturer includes besides oats
There’s still some risk involved, since manufacturers may add flavorings such as vanilla which might trigger an adverse reaction for someone who truly has celiac disease (or another similar condition). So again, make sure you read the label.
You can buy oat milk everywhere, but it is incredibly cheap to make your own. Just grind up your oats with water and a date or two. Here is my favorite recipe. It costs pennies to make your own. Making your own is the best way to ensure your oatmeal milk is gluten-free.
You can replace wheat flour partially with oat flour in any classic bread recipe. Oat flour has no gluten, and gluten is necessary to make bread rise. Oat flakes are often used as a bread topping.
The more oat flour you use, the denser your bread will be. There are a few gluten-free bread recipes out there, but they are highly dense, and the grains are sprouted before baking instead of using yeast.
Add oat bran to any bread recipe for a touch of texture. Oatmeal cookies are a firm favorite in my house, and while slightly healthier than cookies made with wheat products, they are still full of sugar and fats.
Oatcakes are worth a special mention because this Scottish classic is so tasty and healthy. Men’s Health Magazine lists it in the top three healthiest snacks. You can eat these gluten-free snacks with sweet and savory additions.
Many people eat raw oats for health and enjoyment, but is it safe? If you choose rolled or instant oats, it is perfectly safe. These oats have been pre-heated, and this kills any germs.
You can soak your oats in water overnight to make them easier to eat, but you can just add them raw to your smoothies or breakfast cereals. Many people make their own muesli with raw oats.
Oat Straw Supplements
These are also called green oats or wild oats extracts. Oat Straw is sold as a powder, an extract, or supplement. It has many health benefits, and some of these benefits are backed up by science, as shown in this Healthline article.
Some of the health benefits include improved memory and reduced inflammation. Since the fourth century, there has been a history of oat straw being eaten for health. To eat oat straw, you can sprinkle a few tablespoons on other foods or add them to a smoothie.
Are oats and oatmeal the same thing?
Oats refer to the plant and any of the products made from it. Oatmeal is processed oats.
What type of food are oats?
Oats are a grain.
Are oats a low-calorie food?
Oats are considered a low-calorie food by nutritionists.
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