OAT – A useful food for the Heart
Oat, a rich source of soluble fiber and known for its cholesterol-lowering effect is another nutritious cereal like Wheat.
Each single raw oat grain is cylindrical and is made of two parts: the outer hull (the husk), and the oat kernel (groat). Oats are processed in a mill where they are subjected to stabilization, which facilitates its shelling. After polishing, they are transversely cut into pieces and on further grinding Oatmeal is obtained. The composition of Indian Oatmeal is as follows; Moisture – 10.6%, Protein – 13.6%, Carbohydrate – 62.6%, Fat – 7.6%, Fiber – 3.5%.
Oat bran, which is derived from the outer layer of Oat groat is an excellent source of soluble fiber. Research studies conducted have proved that Oat bran fiber has a substantial cholesterol-lowering effect. The soluble fiber binds with cholesterol, which is then shunted out of the body and their level falls. Consuming a high fiber diet including Oat bran also helps diabetic and obese patients.
Oat flakes or rolled Oats are another wholesome and palatable form of Oatmeal. With sundry health foods available today, oat can be included in a variety of ways, as a part of high fiber diet. Either as a breakfast cereal with honey, fruit or skimmed milk or Oat bran can be incorporated as a complete or partial substitute for wheat flour, which can then be used for making chapatis, cookies, biscuits, muffins etc.