Oats: The uncut jewel among cereals
- By Team TDO
One of the most nutritious cereal grains Oats (Avena sativa) actually makes for a very bland tasting dish and it's most common use is that of as livestock feed. But it is extremely nutritious and needless to say suitable for human consumption as oatmeal and rolled oats. Quite tasty with certain preparations, oats have numerous uses in food; most commonly, as porridge, but may also be used in a variety of baked goods, such as oatcakes, oatmeal cookies, and oat bread. Oats are also an ingredient of many cold cereals, in particular muesli and granola. Oats are also occasionally used in several different drinks for e.g. brewing beer in Britain. Oat extract can also be used in skin lotions. It's rolled or crushed into oatmeal, or ground into fine oat flour. Oats are grown throughout the temperate zones. They have a lower summer heat requirement and greater tolerance of rain than other cereals like wheat, rye or barley, thus making them an annual plant which can be planted either in autumn (for late summer harvest) or in the spring (for early autumn harvest).
Nutritional value per 100gms
- Energy 390 kcals
- Carbohydrate: 66 gms
- Dietary Fiber: 11 gms
- Fat: 7 gms
- Protein:17 gms
- Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5): 1.3 mg
- Folate (Vitamin B9): 56 mg
- Iron: 5 mg
- Magnesium: 177 mg
- â-glucan (soluble fiber): 4 mg
Source: USDA Nutrient Database
Medically too it’s a blessing. Oats can often be tolerated by people who have an allergy to wheat. Oatmeal and rolled oats do not go through any refining processes, so they are whole foods, thereby preserving their nutritional value.
Oats provide soluble fiber (called beta glucan) which acts like a sponge during digestion, soaking up and removing cholesterol from the body.
Oats reduce the absorption of carbohydrates into the bloodstream, stabilizing blood sugar levels which, in turn may help people with non-insulin dependent diabetics.
Oats have essential fatty acids & antioxidants which together with vitamin E slow cell damage & have been shown to reduce the risk of cancer.
Oat protein is nearly equivalent in quality to soy protein, which has been shown by the World Health Organization to be equal to milk and egg protein.
Full of protein and minerals, oats help building strong bones, teeth and connective tissue and boosts energy.
They are easily digested and so are traditionally regarded as a good food for convalescence, particularly after childbirth, as they are also believed to tone the uterus.
Beta-glucan provides dietary bulk, which improves the digestive process and prevents constipation or eases it if the condition already exists.
Oats can be eaten raw or cooked. Oats have this flexibility not only because of its variety, but also because it is half cooked. It can easily be used to make quick pastas, muffins Moreover, since it substitutes for maida, it is a healthy option any day.