Oats Benefits: Packed with Nutrition
Oats, or Avena sativa, are a whole-grain food. Whole grains are, as the name suggests, eaten whole; all 3 parts — bran, germ and endosperm — are consumed. In contrast, refined grains such as white rice or white flour have the bran and germ removed, leaving only the carbohydrate-rich endosperm.
In whole grains, the bran and the germ are rich in nutrients like fiber. And oats are no exception. Aside from fiber (including soluble fiber), oats are a rich source of phosphorus, thiamine, magnesium and zinc. It also contains Beta-glucan, a soluble fiber with many important health benefits.
Where Can I Get Oats?
In the Philippines, we know oats primarily from instant oatmeal. But there are many other forms of oats, such as:
- Groat oats – the most whole form of oats
- Oat bran – contains the most fiber in the oat groat
- Rolled oats – formed into flakes
- Steel oats – cut with a blade into two to three pieces
- Instant oats – rolled into thin pieces for easy cooking
While the different varieties of oats have similar nutritional content, more whole forms of oats take longer to digest. And digestion time can have an effect on blood sugar levels.
Oats are commonly eaten as a breakfast food and boiled with water or milk. They are also added to many baked goods such as cookies or granola bars.