Instant, Steel Cut, or Rolled Oats: It’s All Good

When we eat oatmeal we are likely eating oatmeal that was prepared in one of a few different ways; steel cut oats, rolled oats, quick oats, or instant oats.  No matter which kind you are eating, you are getting the grain after the outer shell had been removed.  But don’t worry, the fiber and bran is still there.  Let’s take a quick look at the difference.
Steel cut oats are simply the grain of the oat cut by steel blades into small pieces.  These oats are sold as is and you have to cook them to prepare them.  Steel cut oats are smaller pieces than rolled oats.

Rolled oats are made by taking the entire grain and then steaming it.  After that, the grain is flattened, or rolled, to give it the flat appearance that you are used to.  If you stop here, these are called old fashioned oats.  Alternatively, rolled oats come in two additional forms; quick oats and instant oats.
Quick oats are smaller pieces of the grain that are steamed and rolled.  Since they are a bit smaller they can be cooked faster than full-sized rolled oats.
Instant oats, like the kind we often have in a single serving packet, is just like quick oats except that they are completely pre-cooked and then dried so that they will cook almost instantly in hot water.
Regardless of how you like your oats, the health benefits are the same.  Oats are a whole grain that lower cholesterol, especially the LDL (the bad) cholesterol as they are a good source of fiber.  In fact, one cup has around 4 grams of fiber, about the same as a medium apple. Oats may reduce the risk of heart disease, prevent certain cancers, and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
The complex carbs in oats provide energy and also help to maintain consistent blood sugar levels.
Oats are easy to add to your diet.  The most obvious way is to simply eat a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast, but you can bump up the fiber and antioxidants even more by adding some blueberries to your oatmeal.  You can add oatmeal to homemade bread, soups, or even cookies, a treat which seems to get better with oats included.
Why not start tomorrow with a nice bowl of oats?
Lessons Learned:
  • Steel cut oats are cut small
  • Rolled oats are steamed and flattened
  • Quick oats are smaller rolled oats
  • Instant oats are pre-cooked and dried
  • Oats lower cholesterol, prevent certain diseases, and are a good source of fiber

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