Avena sativa (Common Oat)



Avena sativa (Common Oat) is a species of cereal grain grown for its edible seeds, in the true grass family of Poaceae. The seeds are processed for human consumption as oatmeal and rolled oats, and also as livestock feed. Oats make up a huge part of diet of horses, cattle, and also used in some brands of dog and chicken feed. Oat extract can be used to soothe skin conditions, as in skin lotions.

Oats are annual plants, grown throughout the temperate zones. The plants have lower summer heat requirement and greater tolerance of rain than other cereals like wheat, rye or barley. They are particularly important in areas with cool, wet summers such as Northwest Europe. Oats can be planted either in autumn (for late summer harvest) or in the spring (for early autumn harvest).

Oats can be rolled or crushed into oatmeal, or ground into fine oat flour. Oatmeal can be taken as porridge, or used in making a variety of baked goods, such as oatcakes, oatmeal cookies, and oat bread. Oats are also an ingredient for many cold cereals, such as muesli and granola.

Oats are sometimes used in a few different drinks. It is used in Britain for brewing beer. Oatmeal stout is a variety brewed using an amount of oats for the wort. In Latin America, ground oats and milk are mixed to make into a sweet drink, which is a popular refreshment there.

Oats are a widely appreciated health food due to their cholesterol-lowering properties. Oat bran is the outer casing of the oat, which can lower LDL (bad) cholesterol, and helps to reduce the risk of heart disease. Oats also contain more soluble fiber (Beta-D-glucans) than any other grain, resulting in slower digestion and an extended sensation of fullness. Oats also contain high level of lipid content, and are the only cereal containing a globulin or legume-like protein, avenalin. The more typical cereal proteins, such as gluten and zein, are prolamines (prolamins). Oat protein is nearly equivalent in quality to soy protein, to be equal to meat, milk, and egg protein.

Coeliac disease, or celiac disease, is a disease often associated with ingestion of wheat. Oats lacks many of the prolamines found in wheat. Avenin is a prolamine that is toxic to the intestinal submucosa and can trigger a reaction in some celiacs.

Oats have a vigorous growth habit which tend to choke out most weeds, and are relatively free from diseases and pests, with the exception of leaf diseases, such as leaf rust and stem rust.

Avena sativa (Common Oat)Avena sativa (Common Oat)
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Avena sativa (Common Oat)Avena sativa (Common Oat)
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Avena sativa (Common Oat)Avena sativa (Common Oat)
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Avena sativa (Common Oat)Avena sativa (Common Oat)
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Rolled oatsRolled oats
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