If you've been to a health food store recently, you may have seen oat flour, either in the bulk area or with other flours on the baking aisle. This flour, made from grinding whole or rolled oats to the consistency of all-purpose flour, deserves a place in your pantry. Bursting with nutrition, oat flour can also help you avoid serious health problems.
Oats and thus the flour made from them, contain many important vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. Oats provide you with small amounts of vitamin B-1, as well as vitamins B-2 and E. The "Doctor's Book of Food Remedies" reports oats are one of the few grains rich in lysine, an essential amino acid crucial to the proper growth and replenishment of body tissues such as muscles and nerves. Oat flour also contains magnesium and phosphorus -- two nutrients you need for healthy bones and muscles.
Oat flour is especially rich in fiber. Oats are, in fact, the only cereal grain that provides large amounts of both soluble and insoluble fiber, both of which your body needs. There are 7 grams of fiber in every 100 gram -- or 3.5-ounce -- serving of oat flour. In contrast, an equal amount of all purpose wheat flour has just 2.7 g of fiber.
In addition to giving you the nutrients and fiber your body needs, oat flour can also help cut your risk of serious health conditions. Oat flour's soluble fiber lowers your blood cholesterol levels and thus helps reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke. Also, the soluble fiber in oat flour forms a gel in your stomach, helping you maintain a sense of fullness. This means you'll fell less tempted to over-eat at your next meal, which can aid in weight control.
Though oat flour is safe for most people, there are considerations for those who cannot consume gluten. Though oats themselves are naturally gluten-free, some factories process oats in the same areas as wheat flours, making cross-contamination an issue. The American Diabetes Association recommends looking for oat flour certified gluten-free. If gluten-free oat flour isn't available in your area, you can make your own by grinding certified gluten-free rolled oats in a coffee grinder until they form a fine power.
- “The Doctors Book of Food Remedies;” Selene Yeager; 2006
- NutritionalValue.org: Oat Flour, Partially Debranned
- Colorado State University: Dietary Fiber
- American Diabetes Association: What Foods Have Gluten?
This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.