What is oatmeal?

Oats form a distinct group within the grass family. This also explains why oats are different and have specific nutritional properties that are not present in the three gluten-containing cereals wheat, barley and rye, as well as being different from rice, for example.

Oats are composed of the oat hull, the oat bran, the endosperm and the oat germ. The husk is not digestible for humans and for animals with one stomach (horse, pig, chicken) and thus must first be removed in a so-called husk mill. The bran is the protective outer layer of the seed and is rich in oil and fibre. The endosperm provides energy and reserves for good germ development thanks to the hum of starch, proteins and oils. The oat germ contains many vitamins, minerals and proteins.

Oats are grown in fields all over the world. They are harvested before they are ripe and made into flour, semolina, porridge, flakes and breakfast cereals. Oats are also used in baking, brewing and distilling.

Oats are not just ground oats. It is also flakes. Flakes are made from the whole grain, including the bran and germ. Because oat flakes do not need to be milled, they can be processed much faster than whole-grain oats. However, because oat flakes contain some of the bran and germ, they are not considered 100% whole grain.

Why is oatmeal healthy?

Due to its cholesterol-lowering effect, oatmeal is one of the few cereals allowed to have a health claim by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

But manufacturers are already allowed to make this health claim on condition that they provide at least one gram of beta-glucans (fibre) per serving. While you can only benefit from the health effects if you consume three grams of beta-glucans every day. Oats contain soluble fibres that help lower cholesterol levels. Moreover, they cause a small rise in blood glucose levels. For slow and better digestion. You feel full for longer. This is good because it helps you lose weight. Moreover, oat fibre promotes healthy intestinal flora.

There are drawbacks, of course. If you eat oatmeal too much, raw or uncooked, it can cause constipation. This happens especially when the oatmeal is not fully cooked. In that case, it extracts moisture that can lead to constipation. In this video from Men’s Health, they have listed the 6 mistakes you don’t want to make with oatmeal.

Is it healthy to eat oatmeal every day?

Although you can vary endlessly with oatmeal, it’s not necessarily healthier to eat it every day. In fact, you cannot say from one product whether it is healthy. It always depends on how much or how often you eat it. However, oatmeal does fit into a healthy diet.

Does this mean you now swap your sandwich for a bowl of oatmeal every morning? Like bread, oatmeal does provide carbohydrates, protein, fibre, B vitamins and minerals. If you completely replace bread with oatmeal, you are missing out on iodine, for instance. Which keeps your thyroid gland working properly. If you always eat oatmeal instead of bread, you may not be getting enough iodine.

Is warm oatmeal healthier than cold?

According to dietician Laura van der Meijden, the temperature of your food does not make it healthier. That eating hot breakfast would be better for your digestion is not entirely unjustified. According to her, it is true that hot food has a thermal effect and can increase the body’s energy consumption. But this effect is very small and in addition depends on other factors. According to her, it is negligible and therefore hot is not healthier than a cold meal.

To Ze.nl, Van der Meijden explains that eating a hot breakfast is not necessarily healthier, but that it is more about what you eat for breakfast. So whether you eat that bowl of oatmeal hot or cold makes no difference.

Is oatmeal vegan and gluten-free?

Oats are not wheat; they do not belong in the same category as bread, pasta and other common starchy carbohydrates. So that makes them basically gluten-free. Oats are also considered low-glycaemic. This means they release glucose slowly into your bloodstream after eating them. As a result, you experience a feeling of fullness for longer.

Be careful if you are gluten intolerant, though. Oats are often processed in the same mills and factories where grains containing gluten are also processed. There is therefore a risk of cross-contamination. If it says may contain traces of gluten, there is a risk of cross-contamination. Check the packaging for the term ‘gluten-free’, according to the Consumers’ Association.

What types of oatmeal are there?

All oatmeal is made from oats, but the making process can differ. As a result, there are several types of oatmeal available. Terry Schouten, BSc Health Sciences, MSc Care Management, Post HBO Lifestyle and Vitality, Health Scientist listed them on the gezondeten.nl blog;

  1. Gort – whole grains of oats, hulled.
  2. Sliced oats – cut into two or more pieces with steel knives. This makes them cook a little faster.
  3. Scotch oats – These oats are crushed into smaller pieces, making them creamier than regular rolled oats.
  4. Rolled, also called instant oats – these are steamed and rolled for longer than regular oats. They are usually available in supermarkets and has a much shorter cooking time.

Which oatmeal should I buy?

There is a lot on sale and now everything trendy is suddenly offered in endless varieties. How do you get your way around this and what do you choose? You see, as with many other products, there are also many marketing tricks. Online, we found the blog of Monique van de Vloed, who has done a lot of research on this. In terms of content, she has compared a number of types, which might help you make your choice. Of course, there are still a number of aspects you can factor into your choice, such as sustainability of oatmeal.

How do I choose the most sustainable oatmeal?

Oats are by themselves a sustainable choice because they are a sustainable crop. It requires little to no pesticides and manure. By nature, it has high disease resistance and low nitrogen requirements. This makes oats a favourable ecological ‘footprint’ and makes it a very suitable crop for organic farming, according to Wageningen University & Research research.

If you think sustainability is important, there are more aspects to consider when choosing your favourite oatmeal product;

  1. how sustainably the oatmeal is produced
  2. under what (labour) conditions is it made?
  3. how sustainably the oatmeal is packaged

1. How sustainably is the oatmeal made?

An organic label gives some guidance in this. At least you know for sure that it consists of at least 95% organic ingredients, that the origin of the ingredients is clear and that no artificial fertilisers and chemical-synthetic pesticides have been used. Also, these products tend to be more expensive, as the organic label is something you have to pay for as a producer and therefore as a customer.

From our experience, as tea producers, we find that an organic label does not necessarily assure you of the most sustainably grown product. In fact, at Dilmah, we do not get an organic label for many teas because our goal is not to get a label. For an organic label, a piece of land may have a single crop on it. We focus on not negatively affecting the ecosystem as a whole and preferably leaving it better for future generations. This is why we prioritise biodiversity on our plantations over a label. For the sake of the ecosystem, we also have other crops planted, such as ginger, cinnamon and turmeric (ingredients for chai tea) and grow them among the tea plants. So don’t stare blindly at a hallmark, but also include the organisation behind it in your consideration.

2. Under what (working) conditions was it made?

This is a tricky one to find out. Often, the packer is mentioned on the packaging and not necessarily the country or farmer it comes from. That’s the nice thing about an organic label, where the origin of the product must be clear.

Worldwide, 22,997,181 tonnes of oats are produced per year. Russia is the largest oat producer with 4,761,365 tonnes per year. Canada, a 2nd place with an annual production of 3,018,100 tonnes. The Netherlands ranks number 54 with 7,078 tonnes annually.

In some products, such as wine and tea, where it grows matters a lot for flavour. With oats, this is not the case due to its neutral taste. Although the Netherlands may not produce as much, buying from a Dutch producer can be more sustainable. For example, by choosing a local company, which also buys locally, you can be sure that conditions must meet Dutch conditions. For example ”Meesters van Halm” is a Dutch grain crusher, which owns the production process itself and buys from local Dutch farmers. On google if you search “oatmeal from Dutch soil” you will undoubtedly come across more local examples.

3. What is sustainable packaging?

Sustainable packaging is more than packaging that uses as little material as possible. Choose packaging that is the most sustainable or a party that at least has that high priority. Check the packaging to see if the material is mostly biodegradable, renewable or recycled. Recyclable material is fine, but better still to grab packaging made from recycled materials. If you also want to make the right choice when it comes to packaging, MilieuCentraal has listed some information for you that can help you in choosing an eco-friendly packaging. Packaging also regularly features all kinds of symbols, but what exactly do they mean? This handy factsheetcan help.

A relatively new concept is Pieter Pot. They want to show that it is possible to do shopping without buying packaging. For example, you buy your (organic) oatmeal in a glass jar. You pay a deposit for the jar. When you return the jar, you get it back. The glass jar will be reused after a thorough cleaning and again and again.

Oatmeal recipes

If you search for oatmeal recipes in Google, you will get almost 1.5 million results. The oatmeal recipes on TikTok now have 37.1 million views. There is infinite inspiration and variation to be found with this ingredient as the main protagonist. Below we have a healthy breakfast recipe with oatmeal with a supporting role for our Dilmah t-Series green tea with jasmine flowers.

How to make the healthiest oatmeal? Recipe

Utensils: Pan, bowl & a sieve

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Prep :
2h 
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Cook :
10h 
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Total :
12h 

Nutrition information

Yield:
Amount per serving:

Ingredients

Portion of oatmeal

Cooking instructions

Portion of oatmeal

1
Pour the milk in a pan and set it on medium heat. For this vegan recipe, we used Almond milk and no bee honey.
2
Immediately add the green tea with jasmine flowers, allowing this green tea to provide the milk with it's floral flavour.
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3
Stir and let the tea infuse nicely while you bring it to a boil. If all goes well, the scent of the jasmine flowers will meet you.
4
Strain all loose tea from the pan.
5
Gently cook the oatmeal with it
6
Put the oatmeal in a bowl and decorate with the sliced/parted apple. If you like, add maple syrup and cinnamon to taste. Enjoy.
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