7 Outstanding benefits of oat flour (plus recipes)
With consumers becoming more conscious of their food choices, healthier ingredients like oat flour are making a splash in the market. Oat flour is made from whole-grain oats that have been milled into a fine powder.
Oat flour is delicious, gluten-free and versatile. It is also said to confer a long list of health benefits. Take a look at some of them:
- It gives you nutrients. Oat flour is a nutrient powerhouse. A 1/3-cup serving of the stuff provides seven grams (g) of protein and four g of fiber. It also contains nearly 200 percent of the daily magnesium you need. Oat flour also gives you phosphorus, magnesium, copper, iron, zinc and vitamins B1, B9 and B12.
- It lowers inflammation. Oats have a special group of antioxidants called avenanthramides. These help protect your cells from inflammation, oxidative stress and free radical damage.
- It supports healthy heart function. There are various ways oat flour supports heart health. One way is by improving blood circulation, an effect that can be traced to avenanthramides. Beta-glucan, a type of soluble fiber in oat flour, also helps lower your cholesterol levels.
- It aids in weight loss. Pastries made with oat flour are more filling than those made with refined flour. That’s because oat flour contains more fiber, which keeps you full for longer. This has the effect of discouraging overeating and snacking, which could lead to weight loss in the long run.
- It stabilizes your blood sugar. The beta-glucan in oat flour slows digestion. As a result, carbohydrates in foods are absorbed slower, resulting in more stable blood sugar levels. This is why oat flour is a healthier choice for people with Type 2 diabetes, a condition marked by high blood sugar levels.
- It improves skin health. Switching to oat flour benefits your skin, too. Antioxidants in oats help keep your skin moisturized by strengthening the skin’s barrier. Previous studies have shown that oats are also effective at treating symptoms of skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis.
- It treats digestive problems. The fiber in oat flour keeps food moving along the intestines and promotes regularity. In one study of 30 people with constipation who ate oat flour daily, more than two-thirds had quit using laxatives after the treatment period.
How to make oat flour
Oat flour is available in many health food stores and groceries. But you can also easily make some at home. Try and follow this simple recipe to make your own batch of oat flour:
Ingredients for 6 servings:
- 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
- Place the oats in a blender and blend them into a powder.
- Check for large pieces of oats. If there are some left, shake the container and blend again. This should not take you more than 15–20 seconds. Don’t overdo it or else the flour will form clumps.
- The flour is done when no more large pieces are left. You can use the flour immediately or store it in a jar and leave it in a cool, dry place. It should keep for a month. When frozen, it will keep for three months.
Cooking with oat flour
Oat flour is a versatile ingredient. You can use it as a thickener to give your sauces a silky texture. You can bake all kinds of pastries with oat flour, too, such as muffins, cookies and crumbles.
If you want to give oat flour a go, whip up these gluten-free tart cherry pie bars with oatmeal crumble:
Ingredients for 16 servings:
- 2 1/2 cups frozen tart cherries
- 1 1/2 cups oat flour
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1/2 cup coconut sugar
- 1/2 cup melted unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons organic maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon arrowroot starch, plus more
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
- 1/3 teaspoon almond extract, divided
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a deep square baking pan with parchment paper. Lightly brush with olive oil and set aside.
- In a large bowl, mix oat flour, oats, coconut sugar, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Stir in butter, almond extract and vanilla extract. Continue stirring until crumble forms.
- Place 1 1/2 cups of the crumble into the prepared pan. Set aside the remaining crumble in the fridge. This will be used later for the topping. Use your hands to spread the crumble evenly in the pan. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, heat a pot. Add tart cherries, maple syrup, almond extract and arrowroot starch. Use a spoon to break the cherries.
- Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and cook for 5 minutes until the mixture thickens.
- Pour the tart cherry mixture over the crumble in the pan. Spread evenly with a spoon.
- Take the chilled crumble out of the fridge. Sprinkle this over the tart cherry mixture. Bake for 30 minutes or until filling is bubbly and the crumble on top is golden brown.
- Let the entire thing cool before placing it in the fridge to chill. Cut into 16 bars when ready to serve.
Oat flour is a healthier alternative to refined flours like all-purpose flour. Start using oat flour today to enjoy its many impressive benefits for your health, from better digestion to a lower risk of heart disease.
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