“Mares eat oats and does eat oats and little lambs eat ivy
A kid’ll eat ivy too – wouldn’t you?”
–Drake, Hoffman and Livingston 1943
Oats are high in soluble fiber, or prebiotic fiber, which means it can react with water to make healthy gut bacteria.
Unlike insoluble fibre like wheat bran, which absorbs water and takes things with it as it moves through the digestive system, and out. (Bran muffin). The soluble fibre in oatmeal, Prebiotics, feed the beneficial bacteria in your gut, and the way it reacts in the body, may lower chances of heart disease.
Oatmeal is low on the glycemic index scale which means it is digested slower and would cause a slower rise in blood glucose levels. This is why people say, it sticks to your ribs. It will give you energy for longer.
Steel cut oats
Oats are an excellent source of
- thiamine (B1)
Folate is an essential vitamin that is important for healthy cell division and healthy growth especially during pregnancy to help prevent neural tube defects. It continues to be important in early stages of life for healthy development.
Its synthetic version, folic acid is often added to packaged cereals and breads. Unlike most grains, oatmeal provides a good amount of protein. About 5 grams per ½ cup (47g) serving.
It is also a source of beta glucan which the body cannot produce.
There have been many studies on beta glucan that say it may boost your immune system to fight inflammatory diseases -allergies, asthma, gout, autoimmune diseases, rheumatoid arthritis, etc. and help to fight fatigue and stress.
Quick cooking oats, or instant oats, have been cooked then dried, like parboiled rice. They need only about three minutes to cook.
Old fashioned, or rolled oats take about 10 mins to cook on the stove. Or, combine oats and liquid, a pinch of salt and microwave 1 min, stir, microwave 1 min , stir and let stand one minute. When microwaving, keep an eye on it the second minute as it can suddenly boil over.
Stir occasionally when cooking or it will get a bit pasty, or glutinous. Not that oatmeal has glutens. That would make them glutenous.
Oats are gluten free.
Why are there gluten free oats? Those are oats that have been processed in facilities that do not also produce other grains that contain glutens. Rolled oats are most often used in most baking, like muffins and granola bars.
Oatmeal Hemp Bars (press image to see recipe)
You can buy oat flour, or make your own by putting rolled oats in a food processor and giving them a good whizz.
Steel cut oatmeal, also known as Irish oats or pin head are whole oat groats that have been cut (with steel blades) and not rolled.
You will need about 3 parts liquid to one oats and it takes about 30 mins to cook.
Cooked steel cut oats will reheat nicely for a quick breakfast.
They have a nice chewy texture and the flavour can be described as nutty, like brown rice might be described as nutty.
They can be used in savoury dishes easier than rolled oats, so maybe more versatile, but of the oatmeal family, these take much longer to cook.
They are, however, the least processed, and they contain more fiber and density.