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Nutrition profile

Oats are a valuable source of several important nutrients.

They're a good source of protein, as the oat grain consists of approximately 13% protein. Notably, this protein is of a higher biological value than most other grains.

Oats are also rich in unsaturated fats (5.3g/100g) compared with other grains, as well as naturally low in saturated fats (with only 1.2g/100g).

Oats contain complex carbohydrates and are a rich source of fibre, containing both soluble and insoluble fibre (1):

  • Compared to other grains, oats are a particularly good source of soluble fibre. Soluble fibre dissolves in the gut, creating a highly viscous, gum-like ‘gel,' which in turn leads to slower gastric emptying. Studies suggest this is beneficial to human health in a variety of ways, including helping to keep stools soft, which makes them easier to pass.
    Oats are a particularly good source of beta glucan, which is known for its cholesterol-lowering properties (Read more). A number of studies also report lower postprandial glycaemic response. (Read more).
  • Known to be beneficial for digestive health, insoluble fibre adds bulk to stools and helps avoid constipation.

Both soluble and insoluble fibres are important for human health.

In the UK, where people continue to struggle to meet dietary recommendations for saturated fats and fibre (2, 3), oats may be a particularly welcome addition for those trying to improve their diet. 

In addition to protein, fibre, and unsaturated fats, oats contain a number of other nutrients including magnesium, vitamin E, thiamin, folate and B6, as well as phytochemicals, all of which may offer further benefits (1,4,5,6).

You may also like to read:

  • The article ‘The role of oats and oat products in UK diet’ by Dr Carrie Ruxton PhD RD and Rin Cobb, MSc RD here

Nutrition information for oats, wheat and rice (6):

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References


References

1. Singh R, et al. Avena sativa (Oat), A Potential Neutraceutical and Therapeutic Agent: An Overview. Crit Rev Food Sci. 2013;53(2): 126-144.

2. Mann KD, et al. Low whole grain intake in the UK: results from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey rolling programme 2008 -11. B J Nutr. 2015; 113:1643-1651.

3. PHE, FSA, MRC (2018). NDNS: results from Years 7 to 8 (combined) of the rolling programme for 2014/2015 and 2015/2016. https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/national-diet-and-nutrition-survey Accessed February 2019.

4. Flight and Clifton. Cereal grains and legumes in the prevention of coronary heart disease and stroke: a review of the literature. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2006;60: 1145-59.

5. Ryan D, et al. Bioactivity of oats as it relates to cardiovascular disease. Nutrition Research Reviews. 2007;20: 147-62.

6. Butt MS, et al. Oat: unique among the cereals. Eur J Nutr. 2008;47(2):68–79

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