Composition of oats
Oats, Avena Sativa is one of the most nutritious cereals. The chief oats-producing countries in the world are USA, Russia and Canada.
In India, the small quantity of oats being produced is mostly used as green fodder. The most cultivated variety in India is A. byzantina.
Composition in Percentage:
Moisture – 10.0
Carbohydrate – 62.8
Protein – 13.6
Fat – 7.6
Ash – 1.8
The grain contains considerable quantities of B-vitamins.
The husk of the oat grain is tough and fibrous and quite inedible for human beings. The fat content of oats is high and the grain contains an active lipase.
The protein of the oat kernel does not form gluten when mixed with water hence not suitable for chapati or bread making.
In milling, cleaned oats are subjected to kiln-drying to inactivate lipase. This process is known as stabilization by which undesirable free fatty acids are not released.
Stabilization reduces moisture content and facilitates the subsequent shelling of the oats. The kiln-dried oats are then shelled resulting in the splitting of the husk.
The shelled groats are polished and after removal of “oat dust”, they are transversely cut so that each kernel gives about four or five pieces which is called pinhead meal.
This is subjected to further grinding when oat meal is obtained. The average yield of oat meal is 57 per cent.
Oat flakes or rolled oats are manufactured from pinhead meal or from whole uncut groats by cooking the pinhead meal in a steamer, rolling the cooked product while hot, moist and plastic, between heavy rollers and drying the flakes so formed.
In oats there are significant amounts of P-glucans located in thickened layers below the aleurone layer.
Oat products like oat bran are rich in soluble dietary fibre which reduces serum cholesterol. Oats contain soluble fibre like β-glucans chelate with bile acids and steroid materials and excreted by the body or cholesterol synthesis may be reduced.
The β-glucans which form viscous dietary fibre reduce the efficiency of enzyme hydrolysis and slows the rate at which glucose enters the blood stream and thus oats have low glycaemic index.
Oatmeal is consumed by mixing with hot water as porridge which is used as breakfast cereal. Oatmeal is processed, precooked and available in ready-to-eat products. Some fine flours are used in infant cereal mixes. Oat bran is used as dietary fibre.