Almost all healthy diet plans list out 'Oats' as a breakfast food, and it is not without reason. Oats are super healthy, and a favoured meal by many, served hot or cold. It's a great alternative for cereal, and can be consumed in various ways and used in a lot of ingredients.
But what are oats, and why is it so good for you? We've got the answer!
Oats are grains from a cereal plant called 'Avena Sativa.' Once harvested, they are in the form of 'oat groats' (unbroken grains). These groats are processed into different types of oats. It contains a type of soluble fiber known as beta glucans, that slows down absorption of carbohydrates into the bloodstreams. Due to slower digestion it prevent increasing of blood sugar and insulin levels - which encourages the body to produce and store fat. Moreover, it helps diabetics in glycemic control and prevention of insulin resistance.
But that is not the only reason why it is good for you. Oats are also a rich in magnesium, which aids in functioning of enzymes and energy production, prevents heart attacks and strokes by relaxing blood vessels, assists the heart muscle, and regulates blood pressure.
Oats come in different forms depending on how it's proccessed: Steel-Cut, Rolled, and Instant Oats.
Referred to as Scottish or Irish oats, steel-cut oats are processed by chopping the whole oat grain into several pieces, and looks a bit like cut-up rice. Steel-cut oats takes the longest to cook out of the three, and has a chewy texture to it. It is mainly used to make porridge, and sometimes used as an ingredient for making meatloaf, and savoury congee (an alternative to rice).
This type is known as whole oats. They are flat with an irregular round-disc like shape. After processing, the oats' whole grains are steamed to make them soft and pliable, and then pressed to flatten. It cooks faster than steel-cut oats, and absorbs more liquid. Rolled oats are eaten as a breakfast bowl, and are used as ingredients in baked goods and granola bars.
These are called quick oats, and is the most processed variety of the three. Instant oats are pre cooked, dried, rolled, and pressed till it is thinner than rolled oats. It cooks quicker than the other varieties, but does not retain much of it's texture and are often cooked up mushy. Flavours or sweeteners are often added to this type of oats.
Regardless of the different types of oats available, they all have the same nutritional value as it is all made from the whole oat groats. However, the less processed the oats are, the more fiber it contains.