Oats

Oats aren't just for horses! Learn why this nutrient-dense, inexpensive whole grain should have a prominent place in your diet.

Why oats?

  • Oats are high in fiber (especially soluble fiber), which may help control cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar, and reduce risk for heart disease.
  • Compounds in oats called "polyphenols" contain anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and anti-itching properties.
  • Oats are a good source of protein, healthy fat, iron, potassium, folate, and several other B vitamins.
  • 1/2 cup cooked rolled oats provides about 80 calories, 3 grams of protein, and 2 grams of fiber.

Varieties

You can purchase oats with just the hull removed (called "groats"), but they are more commonly found in these forms:

  • Steel cut (also called "Irish" or "Scottish") oats — Groats are sliced a few times by steel blades, leaving small pieces. They have a longer cooking time than other oats, but have a great chewy texture.
  • Rolled oats — Groats are steamed, and then flattened. They can be found as "old-fashioned" or "quick" varieties.
  • Instant oats — Groats are steamed longer, and flattened even more than the old fashioned or quick oats. These are often found in flavored packets of oatmeal.
  • Oat flour — Groats are ground to various consistencies (coarse, medium, fine), and the flour can be added to a variety of baked goods, or even used as a thickener.

Helpful Tip

  • Like the flavor and convenience of oatmeal in packet? Try adding 1/2 cup rolled oats to your favorite packet flavor. This will boost the nutrition, and give you a heartier portion with less added sugar than two packets.