Oat flour is a flour which is made from ground oats. This flour can be used in a wide variety of recipes, although it does carry a caution, as it does not behave like wheat flour, since it contains no gluten. Oats, known scientifically as Avena sativa, are a hardy cereal grain able to withstand poor soil conditions in which other crops are unable to thrive. Oats gain part of their distinctive flavor from the roasting process that they undergo after being harvested and cleaned. Although oats are then hulled, this process does not strip away their bran and germ allowing them to retain a concentrated source of their fiber and nutrients.
As a result, if oat flour is used alone, baked goods will not rise or hold together; oat flour must be mixed with other flours in baking, whether you are attempting gluten free baking or just wanting to spice up conventional recipes.
Helpful Information About Oat Flour
- Oat flour has 120 calories per 1/3 of cup
- Oat flour is gluten free, so it must be mixed with another flour and/or a gluten substitute for the baked treat to hold together.
- Oat flour tends to add a light, sweet taste to baked goods.
- Oat flour is wonderful addition to whole wheat flour. (For recipes that call for 1/2 whole wheat and 1/2 white flour, you can easily substitute oat flour for the white flour.)
- Oat flour is a great thickener to use in sauces.
- Oat flour has no gluten in it, so it must be mixed with another flour and/or a gluten substitute for the baked treat to hold together.
Health Benefits of Oats and Oat Flour
- Researchers at Wetabix found an astonishing 17% decrease in cholesterol in 1,450 volunteers who ate two slices of oat-flour bread per day.
- The US Food and Drug Administration’s authorized a health claim that the beta-glucan soluble fiber found in whole-oats is directly related to a a reduced risk of coronary heart disease.
- Research suggests that the beta-glucan fiber in oatmeal may also help reduce the risk for type 2 diabetes. There is such strong evidence of this that the American Diabetes Association recommends that people with diabetes eat oats as it helps balance blood glucose levels.
- In some studies reported in Surgery, beta-glucan significantly enhanced the human immune system’s response to bacterial infection. Beta-glucan not only helps neutrophils (the most abundant type of non-specific immune cell) navigate to the site of an infection more quickly, it also enhances their ability to eliminate the bacteria they find there.
- A diet rich in fiber from whole grains, such as oats, and fruit offer significant protection against breast cancer for pre-menopausal and pos-tmenopausal women.