Oats (Avena sativa) has a sweet flavor that makes them a favorite for breakfast cereals. Unique among the most widely-eaten grains, oats almost never have their bran and germ removed in processing. So if you see oats or oat flour on the label, relax: you’re virtually guaranteed to be getting whole grain.
Did you know?
- Oats contain more than 20 unique polyphenols called avenanthramides.
- Oats help us to feel fuller longer, which can help with managing weight.
- Oats are naturally gluten-free, but may be contaminated with gluten during growing and processing. Look for oats certified gluten-free if you are sensitive to gluten.
- Russia, Canada, the United States, Finland, and Poland are the world’s leading producers of oats.
- In the U.S., most oats are steamed and flattened to produce rolled oats, sold as “old-fashioned” or regular oats, quick oats, and instant oats. The more oats are flattened and steamed, the quicker they cook – and the softer they become.
- Steel-cut oats, sometimes called Irish oats, consist of the entire oat kernel (similar in look to a grain of rice), sliced once or twice into smaller pieces. They tend to be nuttier and chewier than rolled oats.
- Oats contain a type of soluble fiber that may reduce the risk of heart disease by helping to lower cholesterol.