It may mean either the common cereal oat discussed here, or any cultivated or wild species of the genus Avena. The common oat (Avena sativa) is a species of cereal grain grown for its seed, which is known by the same name. While oats are suitable for human consumption as oatmeal and rolled oats
, one of the most common uses is as livestock feed.
Oats are grown in temperate regions. They have a lower summer heat requirement and greater tolerance of rain than other cereals, such as wheat
, so are particularly important in areas with cool, wet summers, such as Northwest Europe; they are even being grown in Iceland to help prolong the growing season. Oats are an annual plant, and can be planted either in autumn or in the spring. Known locally as "jau"
, oats are grown on the foothills of Himalayas, such as in the Indian state of Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. In Hindi, Punjabi, Awadhi, Bhojpuri, and Nepali languages, it is known as jau.
Oats have numerous uses in food
; most commonly, they are rolled or crushed into oatmeal, or ground into fine oat flour. Oatmeal is chiefly eaten as porridge, but may also be used in a variety of bake
d goods, such as oatcakes, oatmeal cookies, and oat bread. Oats are also an ingredient in many cold cereals, in particular muesli and granola. Oats may also be consumed raw, and cookies with raw oats are becoming popular.
Oat straw is prized by cattle and horse producers as bedding, due to its soft, relatively dust-free, and absorbent nature. The straw can also be used for making corn dollies
. Tied in a muslin
bag, oat straw was used to soften bath water.
Oats are generally considered "healthful"
, or a health food, being touted commercially as nutritious
. The discovery of their healthy cholesterol
-lowering properties has led to wider appreciation of oats as human food.
Oats contain more soluble fibre than any other grain
, resulting in slower digestion and an extended sensation of fullness. One type of soluble fibre
, beta-glucans, has been proven to help lower cholesterol
is the outer casing of the oat. Its consumption is believed to lower LDL ("bad") cholesterol
, and possibly to reduce the risk of heart disease.
Oats are the only cereal containing a globulin or legume-like protein
, avenalin, as the major storage protein.
Globulins are characterised by solubility in dilute saline. The more typical cereal proteins, such as gluten and zein, are prolamines. The minor protein of oat is a prolamine, avenin.
Oat protein is nearly equivalent in quality to soy protein,
which World Health Organization research has shown to be equal to meat, milk
, and egg
protein. The protein content of the hull-less oat kernel ranges from 12 to 24%, the highest among cereals.Coeliac disease is often associated with the ingestion of wheat, or more specifically, a group of proteins labelled prolamines, or more commonly, gluten. Oats lack many of the prolamines found in wheat; however, oats do contain avenin. Avenin is toxic to the intestinal mucosa of avenin-sensitive individuals, and can trigger a reaction in these coeliacs.
Read More at Wikipedia