If you were looking for gluten-free flour for use in your recipes, we can please you – oatmeal is one of the best options. It is known that only three cereals of the Cereal family contain gluten – these are rye, barley and wheat. Oats are not among these three, and therefore do not contain gluten. However, oats contain another protein called avenin.
Oatmeal is considered a safe product for people with a gluten allergy or gluten intolerance. Oats are easier for most people to digest, and they are much less likely to cause negative reactions. Studies show that “perhaps less than 1% of patients with celiac disease show a reaction to a large amount of oats in their diet” ( 1) So the good news is that as long as you use 100% pure oatmeal, which is made from oats grown in the fields, where nothing grew except it (be it wheat, rye or barley), it will be great the choice for people who want to avoid gluten. However, if you do not know how clean the oats or oat product that you bought in the store, be careful – often this product may contain traces of gluten (usually written on the packaging). This means that either oats grew on a field where wheat or rye also once grew, or oats were processed using the same equipment as other grains.
But still back to the features of oatmeal. It is not only gluten free, but also full of nutrients and health benefits. How exactly can oatmeal benefit your health? It has been proven that oats reduce the risk of coronary artery disease, lower cholesterol, etc. ( 2 ).
Also, this product is universal in cooking – you can bake pancakes, bread, healthy cookies from oat powder. Let’s look in more detail – what is oatmeal, what benefits and harm it brings to health, nutritional value and calorie content.
Nutrition Facts and Nutrients in Oatmeal
Oatmeal is made from oats. What is oats? Oats (Avena sativa) is a grain sowing crop, seeds or grains of oats are used for food. Oats are also simply called “oats.” Oats grow best in temperate climates.
All oat products offer their consumers a lot of nutrients, and we are sure you will be especially surprised at how much protein it holds.
In 100 gr. (about 1/2 cup) oatmeal contains approximately:
Calories : 404 kcal
Carbohydrates : 65.7 gr.
Protein : 14.7 gr.
Fat : 9.1 gr. (including omega-3 fatty acids )
Fiber : 6.5 gr.
Manganese : 4 mg (201%)
Selenium : 34 mcg (49%)
Thiamine : 0.7 mg (46%)
Phosphorus : 452 mg (45%)
Magnesium : 144 mg (36%)
Iron : 4 mg (22%)
Copper : 0.4 mg (22%)
Zinc : 3.2 mg (21%)
Potassium : 371 mg (11%)
Folate : 32 mcg (8%)
Riboflavin : 0.1 mg (7%)
Niacin : 1, 5 mg (7%)
Vitamin B6: 0.1 mg (6%)
Calcium : 55 mg (6%)
Vitamin E: 0.7 mg (4%)
Vitamin K: 3.2 mcg (4%)
Health Benefits of Oatmeal
Scientists have proven at least 5 useful properties of the food product we are considering for the human body.
1. Reduces the risk of heart disease
An epidemiological study published in Archives of Internal Medicine examined the relationship between dietary fiber intake and the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) and cardiovascular disease (CVD) in 9776 adults. Researchers have found that subjects consuming the most fiber are 20.7 grams. per day, 12% less coronary heart disease and 11% less cardiovascular disease compared with those who consume the least amount (5 grams per day) of fiber.
Subjects who consumed the majority of water-soluble dietary fiber had even more impressive results with a 15% reduction in the risk of coronary heart disease and a 10% reduction in the risk of cardiovascular disease. Oats contain both soluble and insoluble fiber. This study confirms that eating foods high in fiber, such as oatmeal, can help prevent heart disease ( 3 ).
2. Lowers cholesterol
Another reason oatmeal is so good for the heart is that it lowers the level of bad LDL cholesterol. This surprising property of oats is due to beta-glucan (β-glucan) found in the oat grain endosperm, which is believed to be responsible for lowering total serum cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. How exactly does this work? β-glucan is a highly sticky soluble fiber that travels through the small intestine, which actually limits cholesterol absorption ( 4 ).
Recent studies have shown that regular consumption of water-soluble viscous fibers such as those found in oat products can lower total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol by about 5-10% ( 5 ).
3. Helps people with diabetes
Studies show that in moderation, oats can be healthy and wholesome foods for diabetics and other people who struggle with high blood sugar. The purpose of the 2015 scientific review was to find out whether oats are beneficial for patients with diabetes. The researchers examined 14 controlled trials and two uncontrolled observational studies, and the results were very impressive.
Eating oats significantly reduced the concentration of A1c and fasting blood glucose, as well as total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. The review concludes that eating oats can benefit both blood sugar control and lipid profiles in type 2 diabetics, which makes oatmeal a useful dietary supplement for diabetes ( 6 ).
4. Lowers blood pressure
The benefits of oatmeal made from pure oats are also manifested in the ability to lower blood pressure. A recent study shows that adding oats to a standard diet can help reduce both systolic and diastolic blood pressure in people with mild or borderline hypertension. In particular, subjects who added soluble cellular fat to their daily diet reduced their average systolic blood pressure by 7.5 units. and diastolic blood pressure of 5.5 units. Meanwhile, in the control group, the pressure values remained practically unchanged ( 7 ).
5. A very satisfying product
If you have ever eaten pastries made from oatmeal for breakfast, then you know the feeling of strong satiety, which can hold you without food for several hours. Since oatmeal is actually just chopped oatmeal or grain, adding it to your meals or baking recipes can help you feel more satisfied after eating it.
Research published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition aims to obtain an approved satiety index for common foods. Many different foods were tested, and oatmeal ranked 1st among breakfast foods and third among foods in general ( 8 ). A scientific review published in 2016 suggests that the content of beta-glucan in oats has such a positive effect on satiety perception ( 9 ).
Historical facts about oatmeal and comparison with other types of flour
One of the first finds of oats is considered to be found in Egypt among the remains of the 12th dynasty around 2000 BC. However, this oat was probably a wild-growing weed and was not cultivated by the Egyptians. Before oats began to be eaten, it was widely used to treat diseases, which is now being done. Some say the oldest known cultivated oats have been discovered in caves in Switzerland since the Bronze Age. At the beginning of the 17th century, Scottish settlers brought oats to North America. Today, the largest countries producing oats are the United States, Germany and Poland.
Oatmeal is the ideal gluten-free flour choice when a cooking recipe does not require the stickiness of a product that produces gluten protein. Oatmeal adds a rich, nutty flavor to any recipe. For example, it is a suitable ingredient for cookies, but makes it tougher. As for bakery products, oatmeal makes them wetter than, for example, wheat flour. It can also be replaced with another gluten-free flour: rice flour , corn flour , millet or amaranth.
Unfortunately, if you want to cook airy and magnificent pastries, you will need to mix oatmeal with other types, because the dough will not rise. For example, spelled flour (a type of wheat), which is a whole grain product with a mild flavor. It can be added to recipes for splendor. Unlike a regular wheat variety, spelled (or also “spelled”) has a much lower gluten content in its composition and therefore is better digested than wheat, and will be more universal for many people.
Coconut and almond flour also does not contain gluten, but they are a wonderful source of fiber and other nutrients. Coconut flour mainly contains inulin fiber, which can be difficult to digest in the digestive tract of some people, since it is FODMAP, a class of carbohydrates that quickly starts to ferment in the colon and can cause gas and digestion problems for some people. Meanwhile, almonds are considered moderate FODMAP, but almond flour contains phytic acid, which is a known intestinal irritant when consumed in large quantities.
Almond flour can usually replace wheat in the recipe in a one-to-one ratio. However, if you replace almond flour with wheat flour, keep in mind that you probably need an extra egg or other binding agent for the recipe to be successful. Coconut flour absorbs more water than almond flour, is more dense and creates a softer product. Oatmeal is also very water-absorbing, like coconut.
The choice of flour depends on the recipe and taste that you want to receive and your specific health problems. Often you need to experiment with different types of gluten-free products to really see which one will bring you more benefit and not harm. Oatmeal is one of the easiest and best options for most people. You can also try combining various gluten-free combinations.
How to make oatmeal at home
It is very simple to cook oatmeal yourself at home.
- For cooking, you will need classic oatmeal or rolled oats. From 1.25 cups of cereal, 1 cup of powdered product is obtained.
- Place the required amount of cereal in a blender bowl or food processor, grind to a state of uniform fine crumbs. It usually takes about 30 seconds.
- Your oatmeal is ready!
Such finely ground oatmeal contains a small amount of natural fat, and therefore it can become rancid. The safest option is to store unused product in a refrigerator or freezer, and then warm it to room temperature before use.
Oatmeal contraindications, harm, side effects
As stated earlier, most people with gluten intolerance can consume oatmeal safely. Oats are gluten-free by nature, but contain proteins called avenines. Most people with celiac disease tolerate these non-toxic proteins without side effects, but it is estimated that less than 1% of people with celiac disease show a reaction to a large amount of oats in their diet. If you intend to completely avoid products with gluten, just make sure that you buy oatmeal that does not contain traces of gluten, as cross-contamination with gluten is often possible when oats are processed on the same equipment as wheat or rye.
If you don’t usually eat oats, you may notice some unpleasant symptoms of the gastrointestinal tract (for example, increased gas or bloating), which is usually associated with an increase in the amount of fiber in your diet, and not with a reaction to oats.
So, we studied the scientific facts about oatmeal, about what benefits and harm it can bring to the human body. To summarize:
- If you are looking for gluten-free flour, oatmeal is a great choice. This product will be a useful ingredient in cookie and bread recipes.
- When you eat oatmeal, you get all the useful properties of oats, namely: an amazingly higher amount of protein, fiber, all B vitamins, manganese, selenium, magnesium … the list really goes on and on.
- Just as a plate of oatmeal can saturate you before your next meal, adding oatmeal to your recipe can really increase your satiety factor, which is great for satisfying your energy levels as well as your waist. In addition, let’s not forget all the basic health benefits this product offers for your heart, blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol.
The benefits of oatmeal are much greater and more significant than its potential harm. This is one of the healthiest cereals.