Oats originated thousands of years ago in Asia, and have been cultivated since then all over the world, being used originally for medicinal purposes before consumed as a food. They are a mild grain and gain part of their flavour through the roasting process after harvest. The hulling process does not remove the bran and germ so the nutritional value remains.
Oats are an excellent source of manganese, selenium, vitamin B1 (thiamin), magnesium, protein and phosphorus. They are also a good source of a fibre called beta-glucan which enhances the immune system and lowers cholesterol levels, thus reducing risk of heart disease. Oats are an excellent breakfast choice since they help stabilize blood sugar, making it easier to keep blood sugar levels in control throughout the day.
Those with celiac disease may worry about including oats, which are often contaminated with wheat or barley, in their diet; however, studies have shown that when on a gluten-free diet including uncontaminated oats the majority of celiacs suffer no ill effects. We use only pure, uncontaminated gluten free oats from Avena Foods Ltd, a company of farmers in Regina, Saskatchewan, dedicated to producing only uncontaminated oats and oat products under the brand "Only Oats".
Health Canada now allows oats tested to have gluten levels under 20 parts per million to be labelled as gluten-free. According to the Avena’s chief operating officer, oats do contain a kind of a protein called avenin which can trigger an immune response similar to gluten. Studies show that a small percentage of celiacs do react negatively to pure oats, so pay attention to your body to find out if you can digest pure oats properly.
If you are introducing pure oats to your diet after abstaining for a long time, the Canadian Celiac Association recommends only eating a limited amount at a time (1/2-3/4 cup per day) to let your digestive system adjust.
We do offer many oat-free products in our bakery as well.