Oats: Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Oats (Avena sativa), a starchy grain from the family Poaceae, are used as food material worldwide. (1) Oats are usually used as livestock feed and require processing for human consumption. 

These are generally a healthy option for breakfast as they are gluten-free and fibrous, comprising essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. These also carry colossal health benefits and are one of nutritionists’ favorite choices. It is an ideal food choice for people with heart and sugar diseases and those seeking help losing weight. (1) 

It is highly nutritional food carrying many health benefits. Beta-glucan, an important source of dietary fiber, is known for its cholesterol-lowering and antidiabetic effects. (2) Other bio-active compounds like phenolic acids, tocols, sterols, avenacosides, and avenanthramides are also present in oats. These compounds benefits human gut health, prevents diseases like atherosclerosis, dermatitis, and some types of cancer. (2) 

Many foods, when consumed in the correct ratio and amount, help generate good health. Oats are one such food that is the ideal choice for maintaining good health. Following are the areas where the consumption of oats is beneficial: 

Derivatives of Oats

Oat grain is processed further for human consumption. Different derivatives of oats can be found in the market like groats, rolled, steel-cut, milk or flour. (1)

  1. Oat groats: These are whole-grain cleaned and contain high beta-glucan. It is packed with fibers, vitamins, and minerals compared to other forms of oats. But it requires a longer time to digest.
  2. Oat bran: It is a type of oat groats that is also cleaned. Like groats oat, it is also packed with fibers and requires a longer time to digest. 
  3. Rolled or old-fashioned oats: These are oat groats steamed, rolled, and flattened to make flakes. These flakes are then dried to remove moisture and increase shelf life. 
  4. Steel-cut oats: These are oat groats cut into two-three smaller pieces with the help of a steel blade. The cooking time relies on the size of the pieces.
  5. Oat milk: Oats and filtered or purified water is mixed in a mixer until creamy white textured fluid is obtained. It is then strained and chilled before use.  
  6. Flour: The rolled or old-fashioned oats are finely ground to form a powder. This powdery consistency is used to make various recipes.

Nutritional Value in Oat Grain

Oats are nutrition-dense grains carrying high amount of health benefits. It is rich in minerals like magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus, carbohydrates like dietary fiber, beta glucan, and starch. The amount of proteins in oat grain is also adequate. 

Rolled oats provide 382 Kcal/100 g energy and water content in whole grain rolled oats is 10.2 g/100 g). 100 g of oat grains consists of following proximate: (3,4)

NameAmountDaily Requirements for Adults
Water10.2 gm
Energy382 Kcal 2000-2,500 Kcal
Carbohydrate68.7 gm300-375 mg
Starch53.8 gm
Protein10.4 gm50-70 g
Total dietary fiber13.5 gm25-30 g
Beta glucan3.82 gm


Oats are rich in minerals like phosphorus, potassium, selenium, and molybdenum. Phosphorus in rolled oats is 387 mg/100 g whereas in steel cut oats it is 417 mg/100 g. Likewise, potassium in rolled oats is 350 mg/100 g and in steel cut is 376 mg/100 g. Calcium in rolled oats is 46 mg/100 g and in steel cut is 51 mg/100 g. 100 g of rolled oat grains consists of the following minerals: (3,4)

NameAmount in rolled oats Daily Requirements for Adults 
Calcium, ca46 mg1,000 – 1,200 mg
Copper, Cu0.428 mg900 mcg
Iron, Fe4.34 mg8 mg-18 mg
Magnesium, Mg126 mg310-420 mg
Manganese, Mn3.23 mg1.8 mg – 2.3 mg*
Molybdenum160 mcg45 mcg
Phosphorous, P387 mg700 mg
Potassium, K350 mg2,600 – 3,400 mg*
Sodium, Na1 mg<2,300 mg*
Selenium, Se25.4 mcg55 mcg
Zinc, Zn2.74 mg8 mg – 11 mg


Vitamins like thiamine, niacin, B6, biotin, and folate are found in oats. Biotin present in rolled oats is 22 mcg/100 g and folate is 32 mcg/100 g. 

NameAmount Daily Requirements for Adults 
Thiamin 0.406 mg1.1 mg – 1.2 mg
Niacin 0.993 mg14 mg – 16 mg
Vitamin B6 0.119 mg1.3 mg to 1.7 mg
Biotin (vitamin B7)21.9 mcg30 mcg*
Folate32 mcg400 mcg

Nutritional Value in Oat milk

Carbohydrates: The carbohydrates in oat milk are sucrose, maltose, lactose, glucose, fructose, and galactose. These are simple carbohydrates and are easier to digest and gain energy. 

Protein: Oat milk consists of six essential amino acids among the nine essential amino acids. It lacks histidine, valine, and phenylalanine amino acids. So, oat milk is a good source of proteins. 

Fibers: Oat milk consists of beta-glucan, hemicellulose, lignin, and cellulose. The beta-glucan is a soluble fiber that gives the feeling of fullness due to slower digestion. Hemicellulose, lignin, and cellulose are insoluble fibers.  

A 100 g of unsweetened, plain, and refrigerated oat milk consists of following contents: (4,5)

NameAmountDaily Requirements for Adults
Water90.6 g
Energy48 Kcal2000-2,500 Kcal
Protein0.8 g50-70 grams*
Total fat2.75 g60-80 g
Carbohydrate5.1 g300-375 g
Total dietary fiber0.75 g25-30 g
Nitrogen0.13 g


Oat milk is a good source of essential minerals like potassium, sodium, calcium, and phosphorus. Other minerals in oat milk are iron, selenium, zinc, magnesium, manganese, and selenium. 100 g of plain unsweetened oat milk consists of following vitamins: (4,5)

NameAmountDaily Requirements for Adults 
Calcium, ca148 mg1,000 – 1,200 mg
Copper, Cu27 mcg900 mcg
Iron, Fe0.26 mg8 mg-18 mg
Magnesium, Mg5.9 mg310-420 mg
Manganese, Mn0.126 mg1.8 mg – 2.3 mg*
Molybdenum10.1 mcg45 mcg
Phosphorous, P89 mg700 mg
Potassium, K148 mg2,600 – 3,400 mg*
Sodium, Na42 mg<2,300 mg*
Selenium, Se<2.5 mcg55 mcg
Zinc, Zn0.09 mg8 mg – 11 mg

* Adequate intake level determined by National Academy of Medicine. 


The vitamins in the oat milk include vitamin A (retinol), B-6, B-12, thiamine, riboflavin, folate, biotin, and niacin. So, oat milk is a good source of vitamins as well. 100 g of plain, unsweetened oat milk consists of following vitamins: (4,5)

NameAmountDaily Requirements for Adults 
Vitamin A 85 mcg700 mcg – 900 mcg
(2,333 IU to 3,000 IU)
Vitamin D1.7 mcg15 mcg
Thiamin 0.04 mg1.1 mg – 1.2 mg
Riboflavin 0.281 mg1.1 mg – 1.3 mg
Niacin 0.096 mg14 mg – 16 mg
Vitamin B6 0.006 mg1.3 mg to 1.7 mg
Biotin1.41 mcg30 mcg*
Folate <6 µg400 mcg
Vitamin B120.51 mcg2.4 mcg

* Adequate intake (AI) level determined by National Academy of Medicine.

gm- gram, mg- milligram, mcg- microgram, kcal- kilocalories or 1000 calories 

Benefits of Oats

Many foods, when consumed in the correct ratio and amount, help generate good health. Oats are one such food that is the ideal choice for maintaining good health. Oats are highly nutritious which helps in preventing various diseases like coronary heart diseases, dermatitis, atherosclerosis, and cancers. (2) Following are the areas where the consumption of oats is beneficial: 

  1. Very nutritious: Oats have 383 Kcal calories and almost 11 grams fiber. Likewise, it has an excellent source of vitamins like thiamine, and B-6, minerals like iron, phosphorus, potassium, and proteins. (3) 
  2. Control heart diseases: Some articles suggest that oats carry a good amount of fiber that lowers the level of bad cholesterol (LDL), which aids in controlling heart diseases like coronary heart disease. So consumption of oats and oats-based products helps in maintaining heart health. 
  3. Promotes weight loss: A fiber named beta-glucan in oats gives you the sensation of being full earlier than other fibers. This triggers the brain that the amount of food consumption amount is enough and helps in controlled consumption of calories per day, aiding in weight loss. (2)
  4. Suitable for diabetic patients: Although it is a high-carb food, minimally processed whole grain oats contain the fiber beta-glucan also helps to reduce the sharp rise in blood sugar and insulin level after consumption. (2) 
  5. Promotes bowel movement: The fibers in oats and derivatives of oats help in obtaining bowel movement. Studies have shown bowel movement in adults is better if oats are consumed daily.   (6)
  6. Good for skin: Oats have antioxidants like aventhramides that help obtain a calming effect. It is recommended to use products with oats during inflammation and itching. (6)
  7. Maintains blood pressure: The aventhramides (antioxidants) also help in increasing the level of nitric oxide which works to open up the blood vessels properly. (6)
  1. Oats [Internet]. Hsph.harvard.edu. [cited 2023Jan10]. Available from: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/food-features/oats/
  2. Paudel D, Dhungana B, Caffe M, Krishnan P. A review of health-beneficial properties of oats. Foods. 2021;10(11):2591.  
  3. Food data Central Search Results [Internet]. FoodData Central. USDA; [cited 2023Jan11]. Available from: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/2346396/nutrients 
  4. Institute of Medicine 2006. Dietary Reference Intakes: The Essential Guide to Nutrient Requirements. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/11537
  5. Fooddata Central Search Results [Internet]. FoodData Central. USDA; [cited 2023Jan11]. Available from: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/2257046/nutrients 
  6. Kumar, Mathan. (2012). Oats and health benefits. 

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