All the Facts about Oatmeal that you didn’t Expected

In this blog we’ll show you the characteristics of oats (both the cereal and the plant), its properties, history, main producers and importers, how it is cultivated, its forms of use and some products made from this important cereal. Don’t miss it!   

What is oats and what are its characteristics? 

Scientific nameAvena sativa
Common nameOatmeal
Place of originCentral Asia
HabitatTemperate temperatures, mostly cold. Deep and sandy soils.
DistributionNorth America, Europe and Oceania (see section on top 5 oat producers in the world for more information).

Characteristics of oat

Oats belong to a genus of plants of the Poaceae or grass family, which also includes popular cereals such as wheat, corn and rice.

This plant has a stem that can reach 50 to 100 centimeters high.  

It produces flowers in the form of spikes from which the flakes are obtained, this could be taken as its fruit, used for human consumption. Its grains are quite small, no larger than 1 mm long and 0.82 mm in diameter and have colors ranging from a yellowish tone to a brownish spotted one.  

The plant normally has 2 or 3 spikes. Its leaves have a flattened, elongated silhouette, very shallow and green.

Oat ear
By Matt Lavin from Bozeman, Montana, USA – Avena sativaUploaded by Jacopo Werther, CC BY-SA 2.0,

Properties and benefits of oat 

Nutritional profile of oat  

We invite you to see the nutritional table of oats per 100g taken from Vegaffinity.  

CompositionQuantity (gr)CDR(%)
MineralsQuantity (mg)CDR(%)
VitaminsQuantity (mg)CDR(%)
Vitamin A00%
Vitamin B10.6755.8%
Vitamin B20.1713.1%
Vitamin B33.370%
Vitamin B1200%
Vitamin C00%

5 great properties of oat  

Good alternative for dieting  

Drinking oatmeal gives a quick feeling of satiety in the stomach because its carbohydrates are easily absorbed, making you less hungry or cravings and, therefore, preventing you from ruining your diet by snacking on all kinds of food.

Natural energizer  

You can have oatmeal for breakfast if you want to start the day full of energy, which will help you perform at your work tasks in the best way. Due to its carbohydrates, oatmeal is rich in energy and thus highly recommended for athletes and people who exercise frequently.

Combats hyperthyroidism   

Oatmeal is rich in iodine and, as such, it is a natural medicine for people who suffer from thyroid-related conditions, since iodine acts as a regulator of this hormone.

Treats respiratory diseases  

On the other hand, oats also have mucolytic and expectorant effects. These properties make this food a remedy for expelling mucus from the body in diseases such as bronchitis, the common cold, COVID-19 and pneumonia. It is also known that eating oats from an early age prevents the risk of suffering from persistent asthma.

Rich in protein  

This cereal’s proteins have a great value for the organism since they have 8 of the 9 amino acids that our body needs but cannot produce without help. These proteins result from the fusion of amino acids that nourish and form the body’s tissues such as muscles.

History and origin of oat

Its origin dates back to central Asia. Little is known about the history of oat farming, only that, in the beginning, it was not as important as wheat or barley since oats were taken as a weed among these similar species.  

The oldest traces of oat cultivation are found in Central Europe and date back to the Bronze Age. Other archeological traces of oats were found in the Egyptian country, however, no traces of its use in this country were discovered, thus it was discarded for the same reason that it was considered as a type of weed.

Global industry  of oat

Meet the main producers and importers of oats in the world.    

Top 5 oat producers in the world   

For the year 2019, according to FAO, 22,997,181 tons of oats were produced worldwide.

Let’s take a look at the 5 countries with the highest amount of oat tons produced:

CountriesTons of oatmeal produced in a year


The area of oats cultivation in this country is 2’337,906 hectares, but despite this large number, Russia’s invasion in Ukraine has affected the world consumption of oats. As the country is at war, it has decided to prioritize its domestic production to ensure that the country endures as little hunger as possible during this conflict, reducing the importance of its exports, which means a decrease of this cereal in markets around the world.  


The North American country has contributed 57% of the world’s oat exports in recent decades. Part of its percentage is due to its number 1 customer: the United States, as its production has been progressively reduced since the 1960s, so Canada took this opportunity to boost its export by lending a hand to its neighboring country.


The figure in the production table for Poland is actually a drop, as in the previous year (2018) it had a figure of 1.4 million tons produced of oats. This country has a production area of 495,500 hectares. So far we only know the data on the processing capacity of one of the villages in Poland called Stoisław, where the daily capacity of oats is 60 tons.


This country has a greater amount of export than production, only one tenth is destined for domestic consumption. Oats in this nation have a production area of 297,500 hectares.

Oat production has become popular in Finland thanks to this new trend that Pulled Oats has developed not only there, but also in other countries such as the USA. This is a product designed to replace meat and have a healthier diet, but not only that, it is also conceived to stop the “unsustainable production” of meat, according to Dr. Reetta Kivelä who is the founder of this product and co-founder of Gold&Green Foods.  

If you want to know what are the ingredients of pulled oats, we invite you to read the “oat-based products” section at the end of this post.


This country had a 4.7% stake in the world production of oats in the period of 2018/2019. In 2018, it accounted for 1’227,837 tons, which was higher than in the following year, as shown in the production table above.  

On the other hand, Australia has a production area of 938,129 hectares.

Top importers of oats in the world     

You can see in the following table the main importers of oats in 2020, these figures are taken in millions of kilograms.

oat imports in the world

How is oat farmed?    

To cultivate this cereal there are a series of requirements that must be taken into account. Below, we will show you what they are:    


This plant is said to be quite adaptable as it is not very demanding in terms of soil conditions. However, oats are best grown in deep soils with a sandy or clay texture, a good amount of lime but not too much, and plenty of water. Oats is a crop that shows greater adaptation than other cereals to acid soils with a pH between 5 and 7, for this reason it is usually grown in freshly plowed soils that are rich in organic matter.


As we had mentioned in the characteristics of oats, this crop has a preference for cold or temperate climates that are closer to cold than to heat, since its flowering and grain formation are greatly affected by high temperatures. Because of its high water requirement, oats are best adapted to cold climates, which must also be humid.

Method of sowing oats  

Land selection   

It is necessary to choose a site suitable for harvesting, making sure that the soil has enough soil and that it is a wide site so that there is enough space for each plant.

Preparation of the soil

Start by pulling out all the weeds from the land destined for the oat crop to ensure both availability and that it is not difficult for the crop to grow if the soil is overgrown with weeds.


Once the weeds have been eliminated, the soil must be tilled using a homemade rake. This procedure consists of drawing shallow lines in the soil where the seeds will be planted. Then start sowing the seeds leaving a space of 0.6 centimeters between each one in all the lines made with the rake.  

In terms of depth, the seeds should be approximately 2.5 centimeters below the ground and, to achieve this depth, it is recommended to walk on the seeds. This is a well-known tip since it is easier than digging holes measuring 2.5 centimeters for each seed. After this, the seeds are covered with some soil.


From the moment the seeds are sown, they must be watered with a little water constantly to keep the soil moist, approximately every 2 or 3 days. When the plant has germinated, the frequency of watering can be diminished.

Weed again  

Normally, when the oats begin to flower, the weeds will grow again and therefore, it is necessary not only to weed when the soil is prepared, but to continue to do it every time it grows, because this will prevent the oat crop from developing and to do it quickly.

Harvesting oat  

Once the crop is fully grown (within 45 to 50 days after sowing), a way to know if it is time to harvest the flakes is to observe that the plant begins to grow heads, similar to wheat, from which the flakes come out.  

The heads are gently touched to see if the heads are dry or wet, dry means that they are ready to be harvested, which can be done with garden scissors or by hand. After the heads have been cut or subtracted, the flakes inside can be removed by hand.

Post-harvesting of oat  

These flakes must be stored in a cool, dry space. If it is not possible to do so immediately, they can be stored in an airtight container until a cool, dry area can be found in the house.

The oats are subjected to a process to be preserved that consists of a series of phases:


Here the oat kernels are cleaned of impurities such as stones and chaff.


The skin is removed from the grain before being used, however, the remaining husk is used in foodstuffs on the market.

Heat and moisture treatment   

This process is carried out so that the oats do not rot in the open air due to the effect of lipases on lipids and so that germination is not stopped.

Grouping by size   

At this stage, the grains are classified according to their size, whether coarse, fine, medium or whole.

Final processing  

  • Flaking: here flakes of different widths are obtained, the typical ones being the coarse flake, the fine or “fast” flake and the ultrafine or instant flake. Each flake is rolled in 3 or 4 parts.
  • Milling: in this part the bran is separated from the flour.
  • Flour milling: to finish the process, the coarser flour is separated from the higher quality flour.

Oat grains can be stored for up to 3 months after processing.

Forms in which oat is consumed 

This cereal can be found in 5 presentations, which are:

Oat grains  

This is the original form of oats, i.e. unprocessed. This form of oats is mainly used to feed animals in the livestock industry. Flakes are obtained from it.

Oat bran  

We can say that this product is obtained by refining the grain of oats. It consists of the most superficial layers of the oat grain, which means that it consists of the pericarp and its 3 sub-layers called: epicarp, mesocarp and endocarp.

Another thing that makes it different is that it can be used as an additional component in breakfasts, bakery and confectionery products without mixing it as it happens in beverages. However, if you decide to add this product to your food, do not forget to drink enough water to avoid intestinal obstructions.

Oat flakes  

This is the most traditional form of using oatmeal, you can find cookies, cakes, cereals, breads, creams, porridge, smoothies or porrdige made from oat flakes or oats.

Oat drink  

It can be prepared in 2 ways, either by cooking the oat flakes with milk to obtain a hot drink or by blending the oat flakes with cold milk to obtain a kind of smoothie at room temperature. Adding ice cubes to this smoothie is an option if you want a refreshing drink or adding fruits such as strawberries or bananas to give it more flavor.


This one is very similar to the bran, but the bran has more nutrients than this presentation, even so, if desired, it can also be used to make cookies, cupcakes or breads. However, many consider that this flour is a semi-bread type, and therefore it is necessary to add other flours that are fully bakable. When a product is bakable, it means that it can be used to make bread.

By-products made from oats  

As previously mentioned, oats can be consumed fresh or processed, but animals are the main consumers of fresh oats, while processed oats are more intended for human use. Some oat-based products have also been launched on the market, such as the ones we’ll show you below.

Handmade organic oatmeal exfoliating soap   

It is possible to make a soap without the fragrances or perfumes that most industrial soaps contain and that affect the pH of the skin. This soap, being free of these artificial substances, promises to suit all skin types. For this soap you can use ground oatmeal, pure honey and organic shea butter. Not only will you be able to exfoliate your complexion, you’ll also be able to cleanse it of all impurities.

Industrial foods made with oatmeal  

Pulled oats  

Moving on with the information exposed in the section of oat producers, pulled oats is considered an oatmeat product, as it has a very similar taste and texture, which is why this vegan protein was chosen as an alternative to traditional meat for people who find it hard to stop eating it because they cannot resist its taste. This type of meat is obviously composed of oats, but it also contains beans and peas.  

Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported Photo by mwduin for Open Food Facts

Oat milk   

This milk has some benefits for which it stands out, one of these is that it is much more digestible than cow’s milk. In addition, it has some nutrients such as vitamin B which is very important to protect our central nervous system and for it to function properly.

Oat husk  

This part of the oat is the most common found in the by-products obtained in the milling of oats. One of the reasons for this is its high fiber content and low carbohydrate content.

Oatmeal cookies

These cookies are made with wheat flour that is mixed with oatmeal. They are well known in several countries around the world and you can even find other varieties that include ingredients such as raisins or chocolate chips.

De Joe Foodie – originally posted to Flickr as High Fiber Oatmeal Raisin Chocolate Chip Cookies, CC BY 2.0,

Cosmetics made from oatmeal  

Organic exfoliating oatmeal  

This product is labeled as a “body wash” which is a combination of soap and moisturizer and is not just for exfoliating the skin. Like the oatmeal soap, this one also has shea butter, loofah, apricot kernels and cocoa butter.

Oatmeal body cream

These types of creams or lotions are in high demand because of the benefits attributed to it for the skin, some of these are:

  • Softens, protects and repairs the skin.
  • Relieves the burning of sunburned skin.
  • Improves its appearance  
  • Restores the pH of the skin and moisturizes it.
  • Calms the sensation of hives caused by mosquito bites.
  • Stimulates collagen producti on due to its beta-glucans.


As we have seen throughout this blog, oatmeal is one of the most important cereals and has more uses for humanity, not only talking about food but also about body care products. In the same way it has many properties that can benefit the body if consumed daily, and it is for this reason that we invite you to consume oatmeal frequently.