Did you know that when you have a bowl of oatmeal, you’re eating what some people think of as a superfood? Yes, the humble oat—which you always knew was good for you—is considered to be one of world’s healthiest grains. Regardless of their often squishy texture when cooked, oats are a valuable source of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. They’re also naturally gluten-free. Including whole-grain oats and oatmeal in your diet can provide significant health benefits including reduced blood sugar levels, weight loss, and a lower risk of heart disease.*
Whole-grain oats are available in several forms, with the two most familiar being steel cut oats and rolled oats—sometimes called quick oats. The benefits of steel cut oats are considered to exceed those of the rolled version because of the way the two types are processed. Rolled oats are steamed and then rolled flat. However, steel cut oats start from the whole grain and go through steel blades that slice the oat kernel. As a result, steel cut oats are denser, chewier, and retain more fiber and protein than rolled oats.
The nutritional benefits of steel cut oats are substantial.* They’re a good source of protein, providing 7 grams of protein per 1/4 cup serving .And half a cup (78 grams) of dry oats contains:
- Manganese: 191% of the RDI
- Phosphorus: 41% of the RDI
- Magnesium: 34% of the RDI
- Copper: 24% of the RDI
- Iron: 20% of the RDI
- Zinc: 20% of the RDI
- Folate: 11% of the RDI
- Vitamin B1 (thiamin): 39% of the RDI
- Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid): 10% of the RDI
- Smaller amounts of calcium, potassium, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) and vitamin B3 (niacin)
In addition, the Harvard University School of Public Health points out that the primary type of soluble fiber in oats is beta-glucan, which has been shown to help slow digestion, increase a feeling of fullness, and suppress appetite.* According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, the health benefits of beta-glucan fiber include
- Reduced LDL and total cholesterol levels
- Reduced blood sugar and insulin response
- Increased growth of good bacteria in the digestive tract
Whole oats are also high in antioxidants and beneficial plant compounds called polyphenols as well as a group of antioxidants called avenanthramides, which are primarily found in oats.
With all these good qualities going for them, consider adding steel cut oats to your diet if you haven’t done so already. One easy way is to enjoy oatmeal for breakfast. For added flavor and even more nutrition, mix in fruit, nuts, seeds, cinnamon, or Greek yogurt. You can also add oats to your bread and other baked goods, cereals, granola, and similar foods.
One thing to keep in mind is that rolled oats cook fairly fast, taking just a few minutes while steel cut oats require about 20 to 30 minutes. Still, the important thing is to get the benefits of whole-grain oats in any form you choose. And keep in mind that Inspired Organics offers carefully sourced steel cut oats.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.