Oatmeal is a preparation of oats that have been de-husked, steamed, and flattened, or a coarse flour of hulled oat grains (groats) that have either been milled (ground) or steel-cut. Ground oats are also called white oats. Steel-cut oats are known as coarse oatmeal, Irish oatmeal, or pinhead oats. Rolled oats were traditionally thick old-fashioned oats, but can be made thinner or smaller, and may be categorized as quick oatmeal or instant oatmeal depending on the cooking time required, which is determined by the size of the oats and the amount of precooking.
Both types of rolled oats may be eaten uncooked, as in muesli, or may be cooked with water or milk to make porridge. In some countries, rolled oats are eaten raw or toasted with milk and sugar, sometimes with raisins added, as in muesli. The term ‘oatmeal’ sometimes refers to a porridge made from the bran or fibrous husk as well as from the kernel or groat. Rolled oats are often used as a key ingredient in granola, in which toasted oats are blended with sugar and/or nuts and raisins, and in granola bars.
Rolled oats are also used as an ingredient in oatmeal cookies, oatcakes, British flapjack bars, and baked oatmeal dessert dishes such as Apple Brown Betty and apple crisp. Oats may also be added to foods as an accent, as in the topping on many oat bran breads and as the coating on Caboc cheese. Oatmeal is also used as a thickening agent in savory Arabic or Egyptian meat-and-vegetable soups, and sometimes as a way of adding relatively low-cost fibre and nutritional content to meatloaf.
Unenriched oatmeal, cooked by boiling or microwave, is 84% water, and contains 12% carbohydrates, including 2% dietary fiber, and 2% each of protein and fat (table). In a 100 gram amount. A serving of cooked oatmeal provides 71 Calories and contains 29% of the Daily Value (DV) for manganese and moderate content of phosphorus and zinc (11% DV each), with no other micronutrients in significant quantity (see table on right).
Oatmeal and other oat products were the subject of a 1997 ruling by the Food and Drug Administration that consuming oat bran or whole rolled oats can lower the risk of heart disease when combined with a low-fat diet via the effect of oat beta-glucan to reduce levels of blood cholesterol. A similar conclusion was reached in 2010 by the European Food Safety Authority.
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