|Oats (also known as Avena Sativa) are a commonly cultivated grain in the UK. They can be enjoyed raw in a muesli or granola or cooked into baked goods.
Oats are low in fat and provide the body with protein and soluble fibre. The fats that are in oats are lipids (good fats) and slow releasing carbohydrates. Soluble fibre is digested slowly which in turn releases carbohydrates slowly. This gives you a longer feeling of fullness and maintains energy levels rather than giving you a sugar low. That is why oats for breakfast help keep you going until lunch time and help you to avoid that mid morning snacking. Oats are an excellent way to keep you sustained if you are athletic or have a physically challenging life style.
The outer casing of the oat (the bran) contains the most fibre. Properties in the bran have been linked to the possible reduction of cholesterol levels which in turn is good for our heart health. The inner kernel of the oat is very high in protein. It is thought to be equal to that found in soya. This is good news for people who do not get their protein from meat or dairy.
Oats also contain complex B vitamins and other minerals.
Are Oats Gluten Free?
Technically, oats do not naturally contain gluten. However, oats are often grown and/or processed alongside wheat and therefore cross-contamination can occur. Many coeliacs have to avoid oats for this reason.
Separately to this, some people find that they cannot tolerate oats or wheat regardless of whether they are cross-contaminated. It is apparent that for some, oats effect them in a similar way to gluten. However it is still not really clear as to why. So, it seems that some people with a wheat intolerance can eat oats while others cannot.
Forms of Oats
- Oat Flakes - Also known as rolled oats, are basically the raw whole oat rolled out flat. At Healthy Supplies, we sell two forms of oat flakes: Jumbo Oats and Rolled Oats (also called porridge oats). There is little difference in these oat flakes other than the jumbo oats are still in their whole form, where as the rolled/porridge oats are crushed slightly further. Jumbo oats are ideal for flap jacks and biscuit baking. They also make a textured porridge but might take a little longer to cook than the softer, more fluffy rolled oats. All oat flakes are a perfect muesli base.
- Oatmeal - Oatmeal is the next stage in the milling process for the oat groat. Whole oats are ground down in to a more powdery consistency. It is available in course milled or fine milled. The coarse milled oatmeal contains larger pieces of oats, where as the fine milled oatmeal is closer to flour in consistency. Oatmeal can be used instead of oat flour or it makes a very smooth porridge.
- Oatbran - Is the outer skin of the oat grain. This part has the most amount of soluble fibre. Our available OatBran is pure and wholesome. Oatbran is suitable to make a porridge but can also be sprinkled into foods and in baking recipes if you want to increase your fibre intake.
- Oatgerm - Is a very nutritious part of the oat grain in which the oat germinates (hence the name oat-germ). This germ is often removed when making flour. Oatgerm is usually mixed in with oatbran or other flours to add nutritional value. Oatgerm is available at Healthy Supplies as Prewett's Oatbran & Oatgerm.
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