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09 Jun 2022

When thinking of a healthy, hearty breakfast, a steaming hot bowl of oats might come to mind. They’re a fibre-rich carb that’s low in fat and high in protein, vitamins and minerals. There are several types to choose from, including rolled, steel-cut and quick-cooking oats, and they differ in their nutrient profile and processing methods.



Steel-cut oats, also called pinhead oats, coarse oatmeal or Irish oatmeal are groats (the inner kernel with the inedible hull removed) of whole oats which have been chopped into two or three pinhead-sized pieces.
They take longer to cook than instant, ground, or rolled oats, typically 15–30 minutes for porridge (or about half this time if presoaked). They can be used to make oatcakes, blended uncooked in smoothies and for other culinary purposes.



Rolled oats, or old-fashioned oats, are oat groats that have gone through a steaming and flattening process.

They have a milder flavour and softer texture and take much less time to make than steel-cut oats, as they have been partially cooked.

A bowl of rolled oats takes 2–5 minutes to prepare.

Rolled oats can also be added to goods like cookies, cakes, muffins and breakfast



Quick oats or quick-cooking oats are rolled oats that go through further processing to decrease cooking time.

They’re partially cooked by steaming and then rolled even thinner than old-fashioned oats.

They cook within a few minutes and have a mild flavour and soft, mushy texture.


The chart below compares the nutritional differences between 2 ounces (56 grams) of rolled, steel-cut and quick oats :



Health benefits of steel cut oats

  • The fibre found in steel-cut oats is beneficial for digestive health, fueling the good bacteria in the intestines and promoting regular bowel movements 

  •  Steel-cut oats may have a lower glycemic index than rolled or quick oats, meaning the body digests and absorbs them more slowly, leading to a slower rise in blood sugar levels.

  • Steel-cut oats are also rich in iron and B vitamins, both of which improve energy levels.

  • Steel-cut oats contain β-glucan, a viscous, soluble fibre that slows the movement of food through the digestive tract and helps you feel fuller after eating. Foods that help people feel fuller longer may benefit people who are trying to lose weight and help them avoid overeating.

  • Another health benefit of steel-cut oats is that they have polyphenols galore. Because they can act as antioxidants. Antioxidants  help prevent cell damage, and might even give you extra protection against heart disease, colon cancer, and skin irritation.

  • Oats may have potential prebiotic properties. Prebiotics can help maintain a healthy digestive function by promoting the growth of good bacteria in your digestive tract.

  • Steel-cut oats have all kinds of surprising benefits including protecting your skin! Beta-glucan is responsible for the protective function of oats.

  • Introducing oats early in your baby’s diet may reduce their risk of developing asthma, allergic rhinitis, and atopic sensitization.


Here are some ideas about how to make oats a part of your day :

  • Add raw oats to your smoothie for a fibre boost.

  • Top cooked oats with sliced avocado, peppers, black beans, salsa and eggs for a savoury twist on traditional sweet oatmeal.

  • Add raw oats to homemade bread, cookies and muffins.

  • Combine them with Greek yoghurt and cinnamon to make overnight oats in the fridge. 

  • Make homemade granola by combining them with coconut oil, cinnamon, nuts and dried fruit, then baking at a low temperature.

  • Use them in place of breadcrumbs to coat fish or chicken.

  • Incorporate oats into your favourite pancake recipe.

  • Use them in place of rice when making risotto.

  • Top cooked oats with grilled vegetables, chicken and tahini for a satisfying lunch or dinner.

  • Add them to soups to create creaminess without adding a lot of fat.

  • Mix oats with nut butter and dried fruit, form into balls and refrigerate for delicious, healthy energy bites.

  • Stuff peppers, tomatoes or zucchinis with a mix of oats, onion, egg and cheese and bake in the oven for a delicious snack



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