What is Oats?
Oats are generally considered "healthy", or a health food, being touted commercially as nutritious. The discovery of the healthy cholesterol-lowering properties has led to wider appreciation of oats as human food.
Oat bran is the outer casing of the oat. Its consumption is believed to lower LDL ("bad") cholesterol, and possibly to reduce the risk of heart disease.
After reports found that oats can help lower cholesterol, an "oat bran craze" swept the U.S. in the late 1980s, peaking in 1989, when potato chips with added oat bran were marketed. The food fad was short-lived and faded by the early 1990s.
The popularity of oatmeal and other oat products again increased after the January 1998 decision by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) when it issued its final rule allowing a health claim to be made on the labels of foods containing soluble fiber from whole oats (oat bran, oat flour and rolled oats), noting that 3 grams of soluble fiber daily from these foods, in conjunction with a diet low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and fat may reduce the risk of heart disease.
In order to qualify for the health claim, the whole oat-containing food must provide at least 0.75 grams of soluble fiber per serving. The soluble fiber in whole oats comprise a class of polysaccharides known as Beta-D-glucan.
Beta-D-glucans, usually referred to as beta-glucans, comprise a class of non-digestible polysaccharides widely found in nature in sources such as grains, barley, yeast, bacteria, algae and mushrooms. In oats, barley and other cereal grains, they are located primarily in the endosperm cell wall.
Oats after corn (maize) has the highest lipid content of any cereal, e.g., greater than 10 percent for oats and as high as 17 percent for some maize cultivars compared to about 2¨C3 percent for wheat and most other cereals. The polar lipid content of oats (about 8¨C17% glycolipid and 10¨C20% phospholipid or a total of about 33% ) is greater than that of other cereals since much of the lipid fraction is contained within the endosperm.
Additional Benefits of Oats:
Oat is the only cereal containing a globulin or legume-like protein, avenalin, as the major (80%) storage protein. Globulins are characterized by water solubility; because of this property, oats may be turned into milk but not into bread. The more typical cereal proteins such as gluten and zein are prolamines (prolamins). The minor protein of oat is a prolamine: avenin.
Oat protein is nearly equivalent in quality to soy protein, which has been shown by the World Health Organization to be equal to meat, milk, and egg protein. The protein content of the hull-less oat kernel (groat) ranges from 12¨C24%, the highest among cereals.
Coeliac disease, or celiac disease, from Greek "koiliakos", meaning "suffering in the bowels", is a disease often associated with ingestion of wheat, or more specifically a group of proteins labelled prolamines, or more commonly, gluten.
Oats lack many of the prolamines found in wheat; however, oats do contain avenin. Avenin is a prolamine that is toxic to the intestinal submucosa and can trigger a reaction in some celiacs.
Although oats do contain avenin, there are several studies suggesting that oats can be a part of a gluten free diet if it is pure. The first such study was published in 1995. A follow-up study indicated that it is safe to use oats even in a longer period
Conclusion: Additionally, oats are frequently processed near wheat, barley and other grains such that they become contaminated with other glutens. Because of this, the FAO's Codex Alimentarius Commission officially lists them as a crop containing gluten. Oats from Ireland and Scotland, where less wheat is grown, are less likely to be contaminated in this way.
Oats are part of a gluten free diet in, for example, Finland and Sweden. In both of these countries there are "pure oat" products on the market.
Now's Rolled Oats
Nature's Plus Oats