By Dr. Janet Brill
As you know, there are several different types of oat products out there on the market. The two kinds that you will most likely find on your supermarket shelf are “steel-cut” oats and different varieties of “rolled” oats.
Steel-cut oats (my personal favorite) are the least processed of the two varieties and so retain the greatest amount of nutrients—especially the cholesterol-lowering soluble fiber found in oats, namely beta-glucan. Because steel-cut oats are pretty much “right off the farm,” they do take much longer to cook than the rolled type, but it is well worth the extra time and effort for their superior flavor, texture and nutrient composition.
Rolled oats are what most Americans know as oatmeal and are often sold in familiar round cardboard containers. These oats have been steamed, dried, sliced and then flattened, producing the flat oatmeal shape that we have become accustomed to. There are actually three types of rolled oats:
(2) quick-cooking, and
The instant variety is the most processed of the three and has already been precooked—making it convenient to cook but unfortunately mushy in texture. In addition, the instant variety frequently has added sweeteners, salt and other flavorings.
Your best bet is to choose the least processed type of oats such as the steel-cut or the old-fashioned varieties. If you need the time-saving convenience of instant, go for the plain instant packets and add your own sweetener—and also be sure to add a couple tablespoons of oat bran (the concentrated form of beta-glucan, much of which has been lost in the instant varieties).
Bottom line: eat oatmeal for breakfast, it’s the best breakfast out there for your heart and your waistline!
Dr. Janet’s Steel-cut Oats with Fresh Fruit and Walnuts
This oatmeal begs for improvisation. Be creative in substituting other fruits such as banana, chopped pear, or even dried blueberries or raisins for the apple.
In a large saucepan bring water to a boil. Stir in oats and cinnamon. Reduce heat and cook 25 minutes. Stir in soy milk and flax seed and cook 5 more minutes. Serve topped with chopped apple and walnuts.
NUTRITION IN A BOX
Per 1 cup serving:
Recipe Source: An excerpt from the book Prevent a Second Heart Attack by Janet Bond Brill, Ph.D., R.D., LDN; Published by Three Rivers Press; February 2011; Copyright © 2011 Janet Brill, Ph.D. To learn more about this book please visit DrJanet.com or PreventaSecondHeartAttack.com.