Gluten-free oat flour and it's advantages

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Gluten-free oat flour and it's advantages

Oats are Naturally Gluten-Free

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. Oats do not contain this protein but can be contaminated with it if they are grown on nearby fields, shipped in the same vehicles, or processed on the same equipment as wheat, barley, or rye. Only single producer farmers who plant and process only oats can be certified as gluten-free because the risk of contamination is otherwise very high.

Oats Support Heart and Digestive Health

Beta-glucan is a unique type of dietary fiber that has some powerful health benefits. It is only found in oats and barley, and to a smaller extent in wheat and rye. Oats are the only gluten-free grain source of this type of fiber. Beta-glucan is also naturally found on some bacteria, fungi, and yeasts (think: kombucha, mushrooms, and sourdough bread) that might make their way into our diets, but the beta-glucan fiber in grains is the only type that is soluble, meaning it interacts with water and slows things down instead of scooting through our digestive tract undigested.

Soluble beta-glucan fiber seems to reliably lower cholesterol when it is a part of a diet otherwise low in saturated fat. Beta-glucan fibers absorb water in the digestive tract and stick onto bile acids, which are normally re-circulated in our bloodstream. Beta-glucan helps our bodies better regulate cholesterol levels in our blood, keeping the path through our blood vessels nice and smooth!

There are Many Other Related Health Benefits of Oats

Oats are one of the most satiating foods due to how they expand in the stomach. This expansion accelerates hormone production that signals “fullness” to the brain. Not only do we fill up faster, but we also stay full for a longer time because the soluble fiber in oats helps them move more slowly through our digestive tract and limits the rate that glucose enters the bloodstream (no sugar high or crashes here!). Because of this “slow drip” of glucose into the blood, oats can help prevent insulin resistance and reduce the risk of developing type II diabetes.

More than Just a Food

Some of the same compounds in oats that make them healthful to eat make them wonderful for our skin as well. You may be familiar with oatmeal masks or oatmeal baths. Oats have been used as a topical treatment for wounds and sore skin for hundreds of years; the popular bath product brand Aveeno - which uses oats as its main ingredient - is also named after them (Avena is the scientific name for oats).

The antioxidants in oats have anti-itching properties that make them good to use during dry winter months when skin is easily irritated and inflamed. The beta-glucan in oats also seems to help promote wound healing when applied to the skin.

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