Glossary of Foods: Oats

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Let this serve as our ode to oats. We love oats! We can't get enough! They're healthy, versatile, inexpensive, and easy to make. If oats aren't already a part of your meal routine, they definitely should be!

Oats are a type of cereal grain grown for its seed, such as wheat and barley. It's plentifully grown to be processed and consumed by people or used as feed for livestock. Before processing, the oat plant starts as a long grass known for being especially resistant to rain and lower summer heat. The part of the oat plant we know and eat is the seed of the plant, or the groat. The husk, or thin shell, of the groat is removed and the groat is processed for consumption.

The three common types of oats available for consumption include instant, rolled, and steel-cut. Each type of oatmeal cooks a little differently and has slightly different health benefits.

slow cooker apple oatmeal

Oats are well-loved for their many healthy properties. They are higher in fiber than most other grains. There's about 4 grams of fiber in one half-cup serving. The fiber will keep you feeling sated and help decrease appetite. The soluble fiber in oats has also been proven to help lower cholesterol levels, making them a popular heart-healthy food. Oats also have an impressive amount of protein — about 6 grams per serving. As a gluten-free food, oats are safe for those who are gluten-sensitive. Plus, oats are low on the glycemic index, helping to control blood sugar levels.

>> Read more: 10 Best Foods to Eat During Weight Loss

If you dislike the taste of plain oats, we don't blame you. Thankfully, we have plenty of healthy, pumped-up recipes to help you enjoy your oats. Need a way to rev up your usual breakfast oatmeal? Try one of these 7 slimming oat recipes. Treat the family to breakfast for dinner with our favorite Gluten-Free Oat Waffles and some healthy sides. And don't think we forgot about dessert! Our Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Bars are sure to satisfy your sweet tooth.

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>> Read more: Gluten-Free Foods to Make Your Life Easier