If you were to walk into your local supermarket and head to the breakfast cereal section, you are bound to find a wide range of options. This includes the classic breakfast staple, oats. However, what you may have noticed is that there is more than one type of oat available – and we’re not just talking about the different brands.
The Two Main Categories Of Oats
The first thing that you need to know when it comes to oats, is that they come in one of two categories, rolled and steel cut oats. The difference between these two come from the way in chich they are processed and manufactured. While both oat varieties are stripped from the hull, the steps that come after this ultimately affect the properties of the grain.
Understanding Rolled Oats
Rolled oats are the more common variety when it comes to breakfast cereals. They are made by steaming and rolling the oats using a steam roller. This allows the cooking time to decrease as a result. It can then be separated into the following three categories:
- Old fashioned oats, the type most often used for baking and making oatmeal as it is slightly harder than the other types of rolled oats.
- Quick cooking oats are thinner able to cook a lot quicker than old fashioned oats.
- Instant oats are the most user-friendly option as they generally require some boiling water and can be consumed almost immediately.
What Are Steel Cut Oats?
If you are looking for a less processed, nutrient rich oat variety, look no further. Steel cut oats, often referred to as Irish or Scottish oats, are not steamed or rolled out. Instead, they are simply cut into coarse nubs. As they are less processed, they often take longer to cook. This also means that they are chewier and contain more nutrients than rolled oats. Steel cut oats can also be added to stews or soups as a thickening agent or to add texture.
Which Type Of Oats Is Superior?
So, the next logical question has to be which type of oats is better. Given everything mentioned above, it’s easy to see why steel cut oats are the better option when it comes to oats. This is due to the unprocessed, nutrient nature of the grain.
Of course, if we are considering this from a health perspective, this will also relate to what you mix with the oats. For example, are you adding honey and berries, or milk and sugar? Whatever you choose will also influence the nutrient quality of the oats that you consume.
At the end of the day, oats in general are a great choice when it comes to breakfast as they contain soluble fibre and have even been found to lower cholesterol levels. Oats are also a complex carbohydrate that will keep you fuller for longer, and if we consider the nutrient content, they also contain zinc, protein, selenium, iron, and thiamine. And did we mention that they’re gluten free too?