So you might think that I’m biased when I write about oats, 🙂
And having had my yummy oat porridge breakfast this morning I realised that in our series of wheat alternatives we come to oats.
Oats are a very widespread crop being grown in the Middle East, Europe and Russia and are particularly associated with Scottish culture and cuisine…
Groats or berries are whole grains that include the cereal germ and fiber-rich bran portion of the grain as well as the endosperm (which is the usual product of milling) wiki http://is.gd/XW4gW7
Like all foods oats have protein, fat and carbohydrate and in particular fibre content.
Neat quote from the Wiki sums up the protein content…
“Oat protein is nearly equivalent in quality to soy protein, which World Health Organization research has shown to be equal to meat, milk, and egg protein. The protein content of the hull-less oat kernel (groat) ranges from 12 to 24%, the highest among cereals.” Wiki http://is.gd/FHhNn8
Grains have a shelf life and oats are no exception; the reason for mentioning this is to point out that this implies a small fat content.
|Fat Content of 1 Cup of Oats|
Data from WHfoods
The polyunsaturated fat is mostly linoleic fat but there is no arachidonic oil – an oil mostly regarded as inflammatory.
The carbohydrate content is in a form that slows down the rise in blood sugar making oats a grain that can be recommended for diabetics and others concerned about blood sugar control.
The health benefits gained by eating oats are widespread. They include cardiovascular by reducing blood pressure and cholesterol, they also contain lignans which help the body resist cancer, and digestive by increasing stool size and softness and relieving constipation.
But frankly although there are many more health benefits than I have listed I wolf down 1 or 2 bowls of porridge daily because I like it! They make a super warming start to the day and also make an ideal supper.
Traditionally oats are regarded as feeding the soothing the nervous system, which makes them ideal at bedtime.
They do not contain gluten – regardless of info to the contrary but they may be bagged or used in food packaging or other food preparation centres where stray grains or gluten containing grains may also be processed.
People with coeliac disease may react to oat proteins such as avenin or may not – there is no way to know in advance. Each oat variety is different and presents different challenges to the inner lining of the gut.
Those with sensitivity to wheat gluten may be able to tolerate oats as reported in a study in the New England Journal of Medicine http://is.gd/FdVxxt
How To Buy Oats
First, if you can, always buy organic oats. Any time you can avoid toxins it makes sense to do so. Buying organic usually means that the farm is being run on a more sustainable basis too and may be expected to have better soil and a greater mineral content.
Steel Cut Oats also called pinhead oats or coarse or rough oatmeal are often used to make porridge. The oats are sliced by sharp blades and can cook faster than otherwise
Rolled oats are also called Jumbo oats and are steamed and then passed between rollers. The steaming partially cooks the oats and reminds me of parboiled rice. If the steaming is prolonged the oats will be cooked and will be sold as Instant Oats. naturally this preparation will not be as nutritious as cooking fresh oats straight from the packet.
On a stove this takes around 6 minutes and in a microwave about 3. Either way you get a tasty and nourishing meal and qualifies as a genuine FAST food!
The traditional Scottish way of preparing oatmeal is to use a pinch of salt. I think this is a good idea although I sometimes forget!
After cooking and before serving I add a teaspoon to a desert spoon ( US – tablespoon) of Coconut oil to add a hint of creaminess and a teaspoon of honey for sweetness and nutrition.
My latest addition is a teaspoon to a desert spoon of powdered flax seeds. This gives a powerful boost of omega 3 oil to the dish which is already a superfood and simply tastes yummy.