Oats are a whole-grain food, known scientifically as Avena sativa. Oat groats (shown on the left of the picture), the most intact and whole form of oats, take a long time to cook. Rolled oats (on the right of the picture) are mostly had for breakfast. Oat flour is made from whole oats, and owes its healthy reputation to a type of soluble fiber comprised of indigestible sugars called beta-glucans.
Oats are among the healthiest grains on earth. They’re a gluten-free whole grain and a great source of important vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants.Studies show that oats and oatmeal have many health benefits- these include weight loss, lower blood sugar levels and a reduced risk of heart disease.
The nutrient composition of oats is well-balanced. They are a good source of carbs and fiber, including the powerful fiber beta-glucan. It helps reduce cholesterol and blood sugar levels, promotes healthy gut bacteria and increases feelings of fullness. They also contain more protein and fat than most grains. Oats are loaded with important vitamins, minerals and antioxidant plant compounds. Oats may lower the risk of heart disease by reducing both total and LDL cholesterol levels and protecting LDL cholesterol from oxidation.
Oat bran contains soluble fiber, which reduces the low-density lipoprotein (LDL), otherwise known as the “bad” cholesterol. The soluble fiber reduces the absorption of cholesterol into the bloodstream. When compared to oatmeal, on average oat bran has 50% more fiber and soluble fiber, making it much more efficient.
Groats are whole grains that include the cereal germ and fiber-rich bran portion of the grain, as well as the endosperm. “Groat” is a term that comes from an old Scottish word describing an oat kernel with the hull removed. Organic Oat Groats have a hearty, chewy texture that is great for rustic pilafs, salads, stews, and hot cereal. For fresh organic oat flour, you can grind organic oat groats on your home mill. Bob’s Red Mill sells this and you can find them online or in your grocery store.