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|Oat plants with inflorescences|
|Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)|
|Energy||1,628 kJ (389 kcal)|
|Dietary fiber||10.6 g|
|Pantothenic acid (B5)||
|β-glucan (soluble fibre)||4 g|
|Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.|
The oat (Avena sativa), sometimes called the common oat, is a species of cereal grain grown for its seed, which is known by the same name (usually in the plural, unlike other cereals and pseudocereals). While oats are suitable for human consumption as oatmeal and rolled oats, one of the most common uses is as feed.
The wild ancestor of Avena sativa and the closely related minor crop, A. byzantina, is the hexaploid wild oat A. sterilis. Genetic evidence shows the ancestral forms of A. sterilis grew in the Fertile Crescent of the Near East. Domesticated oats appear relatively late, and far from the Near East, in Bronze Age Europe. Oats, like rye, are usually considered a secondary crop, i.e., derived from a weed of the primary cereal domesticates wheat and barley. As these cereals spread westwards into cooler, wetter areas, this may have favored the oat weed component, and have led to its domestication.
Oats are best grown in temperate regions. They have a lower summer heat requirement and greater tolerance of rain than other cereals, such as wheat, rye or barley, so are particularly important in areas with cool, wet summers, such as Northwest Europe and even Iceland. Oats are an annual plant, and can be planted either in autumn (for late summer harvest) or in the spring (for early autumn harvest).
Oats have numerous uses in foods; most commonly, they are rolled or crushed into oatmeal, or ground into fine oat flour. Oatmeal is chiefly eaten as porridge, but may also be used in a variety of baked goods, such as oatcakes, oatmeal cookies and oat bread. Oats are also an ingredient in many cold cereals, in particular muesli and granola.
|Top Ten Oats Producers—2013
(Thousand Metric Tons)
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