Steel-Cut Oats: What Are They and How to Prepare Them?

The fiber contained in steel-cut oats is capable of stimulating digestive function and increasing the biodiversity of microbiota, which has a positive impact on health.
Steel-Cut Oats: What Are They and How to Prepare Them?

Last update: 10 February, 2021

Steel-cut oats are a type of oat that’s characterized by flakes that are smaller than the traditional version. It’s very useful to consume them along with some kind of drink, such as coffee. Today, we’re going to tell you all about this food so that you know why you should include it in your regular diet.

Keep in mind that oats are one of the best cereals you can find. Moreover, they’re marketed with hardly any refining process, which gives them added value. In the case of wheat, for example, it’s common for products to have a high percentage of added sugar.

What are steel-cut oats?

What sets steel-cut oats apart is that they’re cut into small pieces. They require more cooking time than traditional oats, but you can also eat them raw.

The final result is a food with a rubbery texture. It also has a slightly nutty flavor, which gives it superior organoleptic characteristics.

From a nutritional point of view, this variety has the same characteristics as traditional oats. We’ll discuss them later on to make you aware of the importance of introducing this food into your regular diet.

A sack of oats.
Traditional oats and steel-cut oats have the same nutritional characteristics.

Learn more: Non-Dairy Foods Rich in Calcium

Nutritional contribution of steel-cut oats

Steel-cut oats are capable of providing 375 kilocalories per 100 grams (4 oz) of grain. From the point of view of macronutrients, their carbohydrate content stands out, although they have a low glycemic index. For this reason, they’re considered a good quality food.

Oats don’t have many fats in their composition, but they have more proteins than other cereals, such as wheat. Just the same, it’s important to take into account that this protein intake is of low biological value. It’s also important to mention the presence of fiber.

At the same time, it’s worth making special mention of the B group vitamins and minerals that are present in oats. The latter include phosphorus, iron, copper, and zinc. All of them participate in multiple physiological reactions that determine the body’s efficiency.

Benefits of consuming steel-cut oats

Now we’ll show you the benefits of eating steel-cut oats and what science has to say about them.

A decrease in intestinal problems

Oats stand out for their soluble fiber content. This substance is capable of fermenting at an intestinal level, generating a positive impact on the microbiota.

From here, you can experience positive effects that have to do with more efficient digestion. What’s clear is that the beta-glucans that oats contain have been shown to be helpful in promoting intestinal bacterial biodiversity. And, at the same time, they also serve as a substrate for the genesis of short-chain fatty acids, with an anti-inflammatory nature.

An improved lipid profile

Oat fiber is capable of having a positive effect on the body’s lipid profile. Although the impact of diet on cholesterol is limited, beta-glucans are capable of increasing the concentration of lipoprotein HDL (good cholesterol), reducing that of oxidized VLDL. A study published in The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews supports this claim.

Oats acts on immune function

Oats have, as we said, a significant amount of zinc. There’s evidence that this mineral is capable of stimulating immune function. It generates improvements in the differentiation of the cells that make up the body’s defense system.

A wooden cereal bowl of dry oats.

Oats provide fiber to improve the biodiversity of the intestinal microbiota, as well as zinc to strengthen the immune system.

How is it prepared?

Preparing steel-cut oats is very simple. You can follow a method similar to that used with oatmeal in its traditional form. Simply heat water or milk in a saucepan and then add the grains.

Over medium heat, stir for about 7 minutes until a homogenous, rubbery textured mixture is produced. At this point on, it can be served with toppings, such as berries. It’s best to avoid adding sugar so as not to spoil its nutritional value.

At the same time, you can also add raw oats to some drinks, such as coffee. This increases the properties. It’s also possible to put everything through a blender to obtain a smoother, easy-to-drink semi-thick liquid. This type of preparation is faster and, therefore, the preferred option for many.

Steel-cut oats: a healthy food

Steel-cut oats are probably one of the best high-carbohydrate foods we can find. Their sugars are low in glycemic index and they have a high amount of fiber capable of generating a positive impact on the microbiota.

As if this weren’t enough, it’s a versatile food. It can be cooked, but it can also be ground in order to make smoothies. It can even be added as such to yogurt, along with a handful of nuts. This will give you a complete nutritional end result.

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  • Jayachandran M., Chen J., Chung SSM., Xu B., A critical review on the impacts of b glucans on gut microbiota and human health. J Nutr Biochem, 2018. 61: 101-110.
  • Hartley L., May MD., Loveman E., Colquitt JL., et al.. Dietary fibre for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease. Cochrane Database Syst Rev, 2016.
  • Wessels I., Maywald M., Rink L., Zinc as a gatekeeper of immune function. Nutrients, 2017.