When oatmeal is used as a hot breakfast cereal, it is often cooked in liquid on the stovetop or in a microwave oven. Many forms of oats, such as whole-grain oats, old-fashioned oats, and oatmeal, are also used in a variety of baked dishes, especially breads, desserts, stuffing, and as a food extender for numerous meat dishes, such as meatloaf. When storing the different forms of oats, use sealed containers of plastic or glass and store in a cool, dry, dark cabinet. The high level of antioxidants in oats helps to prevent spoilage, so oats will keep for very long periods if properly stored.
Oats are one of the most nutritious grains and are considered to be a good source of the soluble fiber betaglucan, which helps to decrease cholesterol in the blood. Other important nutrients found in oats are B vitamins, vitamin E, copper, iron, zinc, magnesium, phosphorous, calcium, and thiamin.