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Oat Flour: Both Protein Rich & Heart Healthy!

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Oat flour is a proteinaceous preparation derived from whole-ground oats and is rich in crucial minerals, beta-glucans, and poly and monounsaturated fats.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Shweta Sharma

Published At August 25, 2023
Reviewed AtAugust 25, 2023

How Is Oat Flour Derived or Prepared?

Oat flour is mainly derived from ground oats and most of the commercial flours available in the markets across the globe contain oats as the single major ingredient. The whole-grain oats used in flour preparation can be available commercially as well as can be prepared at home by using a high-speed blender. Oat flour usually incorporates a 1:1 ratio by weight just like regular flour. Also, this is best for individuals with gluten allergies or wheat allergies and can be used as a gluten-free substitute even in preparing baked food items. However, individuals need to note that not all varieties of oats are naturally gluten-free.

Are All Oat Products Gluten Free?

Though some varieties of oats may not contain gluten, commercial oat preparations like oatmeals or snacks may be processed with some ingredients or foods that contain gluten. Therefore, it is always advisable to study the nutrition or the ingredient label while purchasing any oat product commercially because individuals with a history of or possible wheat allergies, celiac disease, and gluten sensitivities may face cross-contamination or reactivity. Hence, it is best to opt for brands that are particularly labeled as “gluten-free ". In addition, whole oat flour can also be easily used in the preparation of gluten-free as well as other whole-grain pancakes, breads, and baked products.

What Is the Nutrition Content of Whole Oat Flour?

The following nutrition information has been enlisted for approximately 3.53 ounces or one cup of oat flour by the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture):

Fat: 0.22 ounces.

Sodium: 0 micrograms.

Carbohydrates: 2.54 ounces.

Fiber: 0.35 ounces.

Sugars: 0 ounces.

Protein: 0.47 ounces.

Total Calories: 400 Kilocalories.

Oats are also specifically quite rich in the following minerals:

Magnesium: 12500 micrograms.

Manganese: 3260 micrograms.

Zinc: 2750 micrograms.

Copper: 440 micrograms.

Selenium: 38.2 micrograms.

Phosphorus: 452000 micrograms.

Iron: 4000 micrograms.

The above-enlisted nutrition content indicates that oat flour is comprised of whole oats. It contains an array of essential micronutrients that are needed for metabolism and immunity. These foods are also naturally low in fat with less than 10 percent of the total calories obtained from fats. But the nutrition fact to note is, in comparison to other whole grains, they comprise a higher amount of heart-healthy polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. According to nutrition experts across the globe, consumption of heart-healthy mono or polyunsaturated fats and cutting back on unhealthy trans or saturated fats can lower the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

Oats are excellent sources of protein, especially for vegans and vegetarians. They are high-protein alternatives for animal products and even legumes when a person wants to incorporate protein-rich meals into their diet. Additionally, whole grain oat flour can easily contribute up to a daily protein intake of nearly 0.54 ounces of protein per single cup.

What Are the Systemic Health Benefits of Oat Flour?

  • Energy or Endurance:

Oat flour comprises slowly digestible complex carbohydrates and rich essential dietary fiber. These can make oat-based foods an ideal breakfast option to boost energy and endurance for the day.

  • Cardioprotective:

According to current nutrition research, whole-grain oats or other oat products can be linked with multiple systemic benefits including cardioprotectivity or for sustaining heart health. The regular consumption of oats is also believed to be linked to a reduction in the three major markers that indicate an individual's cardiovascular risk. These include;

  1. LDL (low-density lipoproteins) cholesterol.

  2. Non-HDL (high-density lipoproteins) cholesterol.

  3. Apolipoprotein.

Research and studies that have focused on the benefits of both short-term and long-term consumption of whole grain oats not only show a reduction in weight-reducing risk factors for cardiovascular disease but also in the improvement of these three biomarkers in a person.

Additionally, oats are high in nutrients and low in calories, they can prevent unhealthy cravings, and help a person stay satisfied. This can certainly aid in healthy weight management along with the added heart-healthy benefits such as the cholesterol-lowering effect of LDL or bad cholesterol. Researchers have also found sufficient evidence to demonstrate the positive effect of oats in reducing bad cholesterol levels and cardiovascular disease markers. The presence of β-glucan compounds in oats prevents the absorption of cholesterol from foods and is a soluble heart-healthy fiber.

  • Good for Diabetics:

Nutrition experts across the globe advocate regular exercise coupled with a healthy diet, and weight management for patients of type 2 diabetes. The consumption of whole grains is associated with healthy weight management and regularized blood sugar levels. Hence, oats may be a good option for both diabetic and prediabetic patients.

Are Allergies Possible?

Individuals who are prone to wheat allergies may also be easily susceptible to oat allergies. Many research studies demonstrate that almost 10 % of wheat-allergic people would have a possible allergy to oats as well. Hence it is best to consult the doctor before consuming oats in the regular diet if a person has a history of wheat or whole grain allergy.

How Is Oat Stored and Used in Culinary?

Storage: Even though commercially available oat flour is free from bacterial contamination after processing. It is still advisable to store the homemade or commercially purchased oat flour away from heat and light, in a cool, dry place, preferably in an air-tight container. While homemade oat flour can last up to three months, for commercial oat flour, it is advisable to check the product label to see the expiry date for the use.

Culinary Use: Oat flour can be used as a popular substitute for other whole grains when a person wants to prepare any gluten-free food such as pancakes, or crackers. One can even experiment with oat flour by preparing bread or cookies as well.

Conclusion

Oat flour is a protein-rich preparation from ground oats that can serve as a good substitute in any gluten-free recipe and also has cardioprotective, and energy-boosting benefits. Consumption of whole grain and protein-rich as well as fiber-filled food like oats, which is specifically rich in beta-glucans makes it a great dietary option for diabetics and for lowering the overall risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Dr. Achanta Krishna Swaroop
Dr. Achanta Krishna Swaroop

Dentistry

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oat flourprotein rich diet
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