Have you ever wondered, are oats gluten free? Is oatmeal gluten free? Are oats a grain or a seed? And what are rolled oats and the other types of oats to choose from? Here’s everything you need to know about oats, plus 10 gluten free oats recipes to help you add more heart healthy oats into your diet.

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Oats are one of the healthiest grains to choose from. They’re a rich source of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber. There’s several different types of oats and there’s many ways to use them. I’ve listed 10 oats recipes in this article to help you incorporate more oats into your diet, but first we’ll answer are oats gluten free? 

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Are Rolled Oats Gluten Free

Yes! Rolled oats are naturally gluten-free, but they may come into contact with certain grains that contain gluten (like wheat, rye and barley) during processing, storage and transportation.

Is Quaker Rolled Oats Gluten Free

As long as you’ve picked a package of Quaker Rolled Oats that has a certified gluten free label on it, then the oats should be gluten free. If the package does not have the certified gluten-free label on it, then the oats may have come in contact with gluten (wheat, rye or barley) and may not be gluten free.

Is Oatmeal Gluten Free

Again, as long as you’ve picked a package of oats that has a certified gluten-free label on it, then your oatmeal should be gluten free. If the package does not have the certified gluten-free label on it, then the oats that you’re cooking with may have come in contact with gluten (wheat, rye and barley) so your oatmeal might not be gluten-free.

What Are Rolled Oats

Oats are a member of the Poaceae grass family, which includes wheat, rice, sugarcane, corn and bamboo. Rolled oats are from the whole grains that have been heated and pressed flat with steel rollers to shorten the cooking time. There are three types of rolled oats: Old-fashioned, quick-cooking and instant.

Are Oats A Grain

Yes. Oats are one of the most popular whole grains next to wheat. Whole grains contains all of the original edible parts – the bran layer which is rich with fiber and B vitamin and the germ which is rich with nutrients and healthy oils. When a grain is refined, it means that some part of the original whole grain has been removed. When it comes to oats, all parts of the kernel remain regardless of how they are processed.

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Types Of Oats

The degree to which the oat kernel has been processed is the main distinguishing feature between the various types of oats.

  • Rolled Oats – Also called old fashioned oats,  are oat groats that have been heated and pressed flat with steel rollers to shorten the cooking time (they take about 10 minutes to cook). They’re typically cooked into oatmeal, added to cookie dough, baked bread and muffins and roasted into granola.
  • Steel Cut Oats – Sometimes referred to as Scottish or Irish oats are oat groats that have been chopped into smaller pieces. They are  commonly eaten as a breakfast cereal, and have a dense chewy texture and take longer to cook than rolled oats (they take about 30 minutes to cook). They can also be added to soups and stews.
  • Quick Oats -The grains are sliced before rolling and cook much quicker than rolled oats.
  • Instant Oats – The grains are precooked, dried and then rolled very thin. Instant oatmeal is often packaged with extra ingredients like sugar, salt and flavorings.
  • Oat Groats – These are intact kernels that have been hulled and cleaned. These nutty tasting whole grains can be eaten as cereal, but are more commonly served as a main or side dish. They can be cooked like brown rice or wheat berries (taking about an hour to cook) and used as a stuffing for vegetables or poultry or to thicken soups and sauces with. 
  • Bran – This is the outer layer of the grain that is lighter and finer than wheat bran. It’s high in fiber and nutrients and can be eaten as a cereal.

How To Store Oats

Keep oats in an airtight container and store them at room temperature for up to a month. You can also refrigerate oats during hot weather so they last longer.

Benefits of Oats

Oats are one of the most nutrient-dense foods you can eat. As a whole grain they are a prime source of complex carbohydrates that help sustain energy. They contain about 50 percent more protein that bulgur wheat and twice the amount of protein as brown rice, and they’re a rich source of soluble fiber which has been linked to lowering blood cholesterol levels. Here’s more benefits that oats have to offer:

  • They’re rich with vitamins (B1 thiamin, B5 pantothenic acid and folate), antioxidants (avenanthramides), minerals (magnesium, zinc, iron, and maganese), and fiber known as beta-glucan that may help with weight loss, lowering blood sugar levels and a reducing risk of heart disease.  
  • The antioxidant avenanthramides found in oats may increase production of nitric oxide which helps dilate blood vessels, improving blood flow and may help to lower blood pressure.   
  • One-half cup dry oats contain 303 calories, 13 grams protein, 8 grams fiber, 51 grams of carbs. (1)
  • They contain more protein than other cereals like wheat, barley and rye.  The amino acid make-up of oats is also superior to wheat, barley and rye, containing more of the essential amino acids lysine and trytophan.  (2)
  • They’re an excellent source of fiber, especially beta-glucan, which is known for it’s cholesterol lowering, blood sugar regulating and weight management benefits. (3) (4) (5)
  • Oatmeal is delicious and it’s filling.  Consuming  foods that that enhance satiety will help us with appetite control so we’ll  be likely to consume fewer calories which may help with weight loss and an improvement in the overall nutritional quality of our diets.  (6) (7)
  • Oats are among the healthiest grains you can consume.  (8) (9) (10)
  • Good source of vitamins B1, B5 and folate and magnesium, zinc, iron and manganese.
  • Rich with beta-glucan, a type of fiber, which may aid weight loss.
  • The fiber found in oatmeal helps to lower blood sugar levels and reduces risk of heart disease.
  • Good source of avenanthramides (a powerful antioxidant) which may help to dilate blood vessels and lower blood pressure, and improving blood flow.
  • Lowers LDL cholesterol levels (the bad kind). (11)

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Serving Suggestions

Besides using oats to make the usual oatmeal, overnight oats, granola, oat bars and oatmeal cookies, here’s a few suggestions to help you add more of this heart-healthy grain to your diet:

  • Add oats to burger and meatloaf recipes
  • Add to finer cut oats to soups and stews as a thickening agent
  • Add the whole grain oats to soups and stews to add texture
  • Use steel-cut oats instead of rice to make “rice” pudding
  • Use ground oats (oat flour) for 1/4 of a flour mixture ground oats in baking recipes 

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