Oats 101: Nutrition Facts and Instant Health Benefits

Oats Nutrition Facts
Raw oats jar on table

Oats, scientifically known as Avena sativa, are a type of whole-grain cereal that is primarily cultivated in North America and Europe. They provide a remarkable amount of fiber, particularly beta glucan, and are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Whole oats are the exclusive dietary origin of avenanthramides, an exceptional collection of antioxidants that are thought to provide protection against cardiovascular ailments.

Oats have garnered significant attention as a nutritious food due to their numerous advantages, including the ability to reduce blood sugar and cholesterol levels (1234).

Oats are commonly rolled or crushed and can be enjoyed as oatmeal (porridge) or utilized in baked goods, bread, muesli, and granola.

Oat groats, which are whole-grain oats, are often rolled or crushed into flat flakes and lightly toasted, resulting in the creation of oatmeal.

The composition of quick or instant oatmeal involves thinner rolled or cut oats that possess enhanced water absorption capabilities, enabling them to cook at a quicker pace.

The outer layer of the grain, known as bran, is frequently consumed on its own as a cereal, paired with muesli, or incorporated into breads.

Discover all the necessary details about oats in this informative article.

Oats Nutrition facts

The nutrition facts for 1 cup (81 grams) of raw oats are (5):

  • Calories: 307
  • Water: 8.7 grams
  • Protein: 10.7 grams
  • Carbs: 54.8 grams
  • Sugar: 0.8 grams
  • Fiber: 8.1 grams
  • Fat: 5.3 grams


The largest constituent of oats is starch, which is formed by long chains of glucose molecules.

Oats contain a distinct type of starch that sets it apart from other grains. This particular starch exhibits a higher fat content and a greater viscosity, allowing it to effectively bind with water (678).

Oats contain three distinct varieties of starch (91011).

  • Rapidly digested starch (7%). This kind is quickly converted to glucose and absorbed.
  • Slowly digested starch (22%). This form undergoes a breakdown process and is assimilated at a slower rate.
  • Resistant starch (25%). Resistant starch acts similarly to fiber by evading digestion and enhancing the health of your gut through nourishing beneficial bacteria residing in your digestive system.


Oats consist of 66% carbs by dry weight.

Fiber makes up about 11% of the carbohydrates, and starch makes up 85%. Just 1% of the sugar in oats is from sucrose, which is incredibly low.


At 11–17% of dry weight, oat contain more high-quality protein than most other grains (12).

Avenalin, the predominant protein in oats comprising 80% of their total composition, is unique to this grain type and bears resemblance to the proteins found in legumes.

Avenin, a small protein, has a connection to wheat gluten. For the majority of gluten-intolerant individuals, pure oats are thought to be safe (1314).


The fiber content of porridge is 1.7%, while whole oats contain nearly 11%.

Most of the soluble fiber found in oats is a type of fiber known as beta glucan.

Oats are also a source of insoluble fibers, such as lignin, cellulose, and hemicellulose (15).

Oats provide a higher amount of soluble fiber compared to other grains, resulting in a slower digestion process, enhanced satiety, and reduced appetite (1617).

A gel-like solution can be formed at a relatively low concentration of soluble oat beta glucans, making them unique among fibers.

Raw, whole oats contain a significant amount of beta glucan, ranging from 2.3% to 8.5%. This valuable component is primarily found in the oat bran (18, 19).

Oat beta-glucans have been shown to raise bile acid production and decrease cholesterol. After a meal high in carbohydrates, they are also thought to lower insulin and blood sugar levels (20212223).

Regular beta-glucan consumption has been demonstrated to lower cholesterol, particularly LDL (bad) cholesterol, which may reduce your risk of heart disease (24).

Vitamins and minerals

Oats are rich in numerous vitamins and minerals, such as:

  • Manganese: This trace mineral, crucial for development, growth, and metabolism, is commonly abundant in whole grains.
  • Phosphorus: The maintenance of tissue and the health of bones depend on this mineral.
  • Copper: Copper, an antioxidant mineral that is frequently deficient in Western diets, is thought to be vital for heart health.
  • B1 vitamin: This vitamin, also called thiamine, is present in a wide variety of foods, such as grains, beans, nuts, and meat.
  • Iron: Iron is vital to human nutrition because it is a part of hemoglobin, a protein that carries oxygen in the blood.
  • Selenium: This antioxidant is necessary for a number of bodily functions. Reduced immune and mental function, as well as an increased chance of dying young, are linked to low selenium levels.
  • Magnesium: This mineral, which is frequently deficient in diet, is necessary for many bodily functions.
  • Zinc: This mineral is crucial for overall health because it takes part in a variety of chemical reactions in your body.

Additional plant substances

Antioxidants found in whole oats may have a number of positive health effects. Their primary plant-based constituents are

Avenathramides: Only found in oats, avenathramides are a family of powerful antioxidants. They could lower arterial inflammation and control blood pressure (252627).

Ferulic acid: Oats and other cereal grains contain the most of this particular polyphenol antioxidant (15, 28).

Acid phytic: Most abundant in bran, phytic acid can impair your absorption of minerals such as iron and zinc (1529).

Health benefits of oats

Oats have been attributed many health benefits by experts, including reduced blood pressure and a reduced chance of developing obesity and type 2 diabetes. The primary benefits of consuming this grain are given below (3031323334).

1. Can lower cholesterol

Oats have been shown in various studies to lower cholesterol, which may lower your risk of heart disease (35363738).

The world’s leading cause of death from heart disease is high cholesterol, particularly oxidized low-density lipoprotein (bad) cholesterol, which is a major risk factor (3940).

The main factor responsible for oats’ cholesterol-lowering properties is their beta-glucan content.

Beta-glucan has the potential to decelerate the absorption process of fats and cholesterol in your body by enhancing the thickness or viscosity of the food you have consumed (41).

Once in your stomach, it attaches itself to bile acids, which are high in cholesterol and produced by your liver to help with digestion. Beta-glucan efficiently transports these acids through your system.

Beta-glucan prevents the bile acids from being reabsorbed into your digestive system, which lowers your cholesterol (42).

According to authorities, eating at least 3 grams of beta-glucan-containing food each day may reduce your risk of heart disease (43).

2. Prevents type 2 diabetes

The prevalence of type 2 diabetes has significantly increased in recent times.

The abnormal control of blood sugar, which typically results from a reduction in sensitivity to the insulin hormone, is the hallmark of this illness.

The soluble fibers found in oats, called beta glucans, have been shown to help regulate blood sugar (4445).

It has been discovered that after meals high in carbohydrates, modest doses of beta glucans from oats can moderate both the glucose and insulin responses (464748).

After consuming oatmeal for four weeks, individuals with type 2 diabetes and severe insulin resistance experienced a 40% decrease in the amount of insulin required to stabilize their blood sugar levels (49).

Although a review study found conflicting evidence, studies indicate that beta glucans may enhance insulin sensitivity, postponing or preventing the onset of type 2 diabetes (5051525354).

Low glucose and insulin responses result from boiling whole oats; however, if the oats are ground into flour beforehand, the responses rise dramatically (555657).

3. Improve the feeling of fullness

Since it makes you stop eating until you feel hungry again, fullness plays a crucial role in energy balance (58).

Type 2 diabetes and obesity are correlated with altered fullness signaling (5960).

Oatmeal placed third overall and first among breakfast foods in a study that ranked the fullness effect of 38 common foods (61).

By postponing stomach emptying and encouraging the release of fullness hormones, water-soluble fibers like beta-glucans may make you feel fuller for longer (62763).

Oatmeal may increase fullness and decrease appetite more than other forms of dietary fiber and ready-to-eat breakfast cereals, according to studies conducted on humans (16176465).

Oats are a great complement to a diet that helps people lose weight because they are low in calories and high in fiber and other beneficial nutrients.

4. Mostly gluten-free

For many people with gluten sensitivity and for those with celiac disease, the only treatment is to follow a gluten-free diet.

While oats don’t contain gluten, they do contain avenin, a related kind of protein.

Clinical research shows that most celiac disease sufferers can tolerate moderate or even high amounts of pure oats (666768697071).

It has been demonstrated that oats improve the nutritional value of gluten-free diets by raising intakes of fiber and minerals (7273).

However, because they are frequently processed in the same facilities, oats may contain wheat contamination (7475).

It is crucial that those who have celiac disease limit their oat consumption to those that have received gluten-free certification.

Other health advantages

There are some more possible advantages to oats.

Giving oats to infants younger than six months of age has been linked to a lower incidence of asthma in childhood (76).

Furthermore, some research suggests that oats may strengthen your immune system, improving your defenses against bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites (77).

Consuming oat bran fiber may enhance general health and reduce the need for laxatives in older adults (787980).

Oats’ possible drawbacks

In healthy individuals, oats are generally well tolerated and do not have any negative effects.

Avenin-sensitive individuals, on the other hand, should avoid oats in their diet, as they may have negative symptoms that resemble those of gluten intolerance (818283).

Furthermore, individuals with celiac disease or wheat allergies should avoid oats due to the possibility of contamination with other grains, such as wheat (7475).

Those who are intolerant or allergic to wheat or other grains ought to purchase only pure-certified oats.


The bottom line

One of the healthiest grains on the planet, oats are a rich source of various vitamins, minerals, and special plant compounds. This grain contains soluble fiber in the form of beta-glucans, which have several health advantages. These include decreased blood sugar and insulin reactions, improved heart health, and lower cholesterol. Oats are also incredibly filling, which may help you eat fewer calories and suppress your appetite. You can include oats in your diet right now if you’re interested in learning more.

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