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How well do you know the different types of oats?

When it comes to one of the world’s most traditional breakfast cereals, oats are top of the list. These whole grains are essential in any healthy diet as they’re packed with vitamins and minerals and are able to lower cholesterol levels.

Of course, for many of us, it’s a simple matter of going to the nearest store and grabbing the first one we find. However, if you’ve ever taken a closer look, you’ll have noticed that there are so many different variations available.

Surely, a packet of oats is exactly that, a packet of oats. While this may be true, not all types of oats are the same. In fact, the different variations exist for a reason.

So, without wasting more time on pleasantries, let’s take a look at the different types of oats available, and more importantly, what makes them different to one another.

Rolled oats and steel-cut oats

The first thing you need to know Is that there are two main categories of oats, steel-cut oats and rolled oats.  The difference between the two has to do with how they are manufactured. They both start the process as whole oats that are stripped from the hull. From here, they’ll go on to become either rolled or steel-cut oats.

Rolled oats

Rolled oats, which come in many different sub-varieties – are steamed and rolled flat using steel rollers. This process results in a shorter cooking time.

Old-fashioned oats are the most commonly used form when it comes to oatmeal and baking. Next, we have quick-cooking oats which, as the name implies, cook quickly and are a lot thinner than other types of oats. Instant oats are the final option and cook in a matter of seconds. The risk with this is that it can easily be overcooked and become a mushy mess.

Steel-cut oats

Steel-cut oats, also known as Scottish or Irish oats, are not rolled out like the types we’ve mentioned above. Instead of being rolled out, they are cut into coarse nubs. This type of oat is less processed and takes longer to cook than the rolled varieties. As a result, they contain more nutrients and have a chewier texture. Above and beyond eating it as a breakfast, steel-cut oats can also be added to soups or stews.

So, which type of oats is better for you?

Given everything we’ve just mentioned, it should come as no surprise that steel-cut oats are the healthier option. This is because they are less processed and as a result contain more nutrients per serving.

In addition to this, the nutritional content of the oats you choose to eat will be influenced by what you choose to mix into the oats. Sugar, salt and other additives will all play a role in what your body is absorbing, so when it comes to your breakfast, try to be more conscious of everything you’re adding.

It’s all about the benefits

Regardless of the oats that you choose to eat, they all contain soluble fibre which can assist in lowering cholesterol levels. This fibre also reduces the risk of developing heart disease, control blood sugar and even assist in managing insulin levels.

Adding to this is the fact that oats are a complex carbohydrate which means you’ll feel fuller for longer AND they even contain protein, iron, zinc, thiamine and selenium. Oats are also gluten-free, which makes them a good breakfast option for most people.

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