OATS (Avena Sativa)

The common oat is a cereal grain seeded from a species of grass called Avena sativa. Historically linked to the Fertile Crescent in the Near East, oats been found among artifacts in Swiss caves that date to the Bronze Age. Oats thrive best in cool, moist climates like Europe and The United States and have been a crop staple in Scotland for centuries.

Oats are presented a variety of ways. The whole grain version of an oat is called a groat and is rarely eaten in that form. Steel-cut oats are groats that have been chopped into several pieces with some of the bran remaining. They are particularly ideal for the porridge-like breakfast cereal called oatmeal. Steel-cut oats maintain the most nutrients and have a nuttier flavor than any other style.  Rolled oats are the most commonly recognizable version as steamed groats that have been rolled and flattened. This style is commonly used for granola or a milder version of oatmeal. Added to bread and cookies, it contributes a mild flavor and chewy texture.

Oats are high in protein and healthy fats as well as lower in carbohydrates than many other whole grains. They also contain polyphenols, which have strong anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-itching properties. Research credits oatmeal with lowering cholesterol, weight control, lowering blood pressure as well as the risk of type 2 diabetes. Oats act as a natural laxative, which promotes the digestive system and are rich in beta-glucans, a starch that inhibits tumors by stimulating the nervous system. Although oats are naturally gluten free, those with Celiac disease or an intolerance should check that their oats are processed in a facility with no cross contamination.

Learn more about other Whole Grains:  [button color=”red” size=”small” link=”http://www.boschkitchencenters.com/discover/grain-education” target=””]Grain Education[/button]

 

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