Naked oats are dressing up a new product to help people in need
A new variety of oat is replacing rice in a nutritious new product just unveiled by Campbell's Company of Canada. The new product, Nourish, was developed to deliver health benefits, many of them boosted by the new hulless and hairless - or naked - oat variety developed by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) scientists.
Previous hulless varieties were still covered with fine hair, or trichomes, which represented a health challenge to growers and processors for harvesting, handling and processing the grain. These hairs were the reason many growers refused to grow previous hulless varieties, wanting to avoid the respiratory and itchy effects when they were released into the air during harvest.
This hairless, made-in-Canada variety, AC Gehl, is the result of more than 15 years of research and breeding by AAFC scientists, led by Dr. Vern Burrows.
Naked oats have twice the protein, ten times the fibre and five times the iron of white rice. With high levels of beta glucan and anti-oxidants, it can help lower cholesterol. Naked oats also have a low glycemic index, making it an excellent option for diabetics and health conscious consumers, and are also proving to be suitable for gluten-free diets for celiac patients. AAFC scientists have also worked closely with the Canadian Celiac Association to develop and perfect a method to keep oats pure at every step, from planting to retail.
Chefs are also taking an interest in this new variety. They are interested in the natural, locally grown aspect and a new and different ingredient to bring to their menus. This "new" food was recently featured at an AAFC Savour Canada event at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver and served to world leaders at the G-20 Summit in Toronto in the summer of 2010.
This nutritional powerhouse is just one innovation among many in AAFC's 125-year history of agricultural research in Canada. AAFC research has led to discoveries that lead to more varied, nutritious, sustainable and higher quality food for Canadians.
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