Oats are cereals extracted from oat plants. The edible seeds of oat grass are called oats, which we often add to our breakfast routine. Known for their rich fiber, oat groats or oat kernels are a healthy choice. Oat kernels can be consumed as they don’t have hulls. One can cook and eat the cereal once the hulls are removed. But oat groats take a long time to cook and take longer to get digested too. 

To avoid these issues, most people prefer steel cut oats, rolled oats, or instant oats. 

Steel cut oats

Steel cut oats are similar to unprocessed oat groats. Oat groats are cut into pieces with large steel blades. The nutritional value of steel cut oats is higher than rolled and instant oats. The cooking time of the steel cut oats would be at least 15 to 20 minutes.  

Steel cut oats, popularly known as Irish oatmeal, have a coarser, chewing texture. To reduce the cooking time, one can soak the cereal before eating.

Benefits of steel cut oats

This type of oat is packed with fiber and they have a low glycemic index making it more difficult for your digestive system to break down the starch content it holds. This will help you feel full for a longer period. This way steel cut oats help in weight loss.

Rolled Oats

Rolled oats are a processed form of oat groats. The process includes steaming and flattening the oat kernels. 

Rolled oats are easy to cook as they are already half-cooked in the steaming process. The cooking time would be two to five minutes.

Benefits of rolled oats

Compared to steel-cut oats, rolled oats have less fiber and a slightly higher glycemic index. But both the oats have the same nutritional value. However, due to the texture, steel-cut oats take a long time to digest.

Instant or Quick oats

As the name suggests, quick oats are an instant kind of oatmeal. Quick oats are also rolled forms of oats but they undergo further processing compared to rolled oats.

After the steaming process, they are dried and rolled and pressed slightly thinner than the rolled oats. 

Benefits of instant oats

Instant oats are easily digestible. Once you cook the oats, they will lose their texture and become mushy like porridge. Hence, this type is suitable for children under the age of five. 

Which is healthier, steel-cut oats or instant oatmeal?

When it comes to instant oats vs steel-cut oats, the benefits of steel cut oats are higher because of their fiber content.

Health benefits of eating oats

Consuming oatmeals provides you with a balanced diet. The cereal is packed with significant proteins, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. 

Regular consumption of oats helps reduce your blood sugar level and lowers cholesterol. 

Oats play a vital role in protecting the LDL (Low Definition Lipoprotein) or bad cholesterol from oxidation. The oxidation of LDL produces inflammation in arteries and can increase the risk of heart disease.

According to studies, early introduction of oats to kids reduces the risk of developing childhood asthma.

Oats are enriched with beta-glucan, a kind of soluble fiber. This fiber dissolves in water and forms a gel-like layer in your stomach. Thus, oats help in increasing the gut bacteria which are essential for digestion.