Locally grown oats are vegan

Locally grown oats are sustainable and vegan, and five other reasons to add oats to your vegan diet.

Known as the Finnish superfood, oats are a compact package of gentle flavour and rich in healthy nutrients. In addition, domestic oats are sustainable food from a sustainability perspective. For a vegan, there are plenty of reasons to add oats on to the plate in many different forms.


Today is World Vegan Day, which highlights the importance of a vegan and vegetarian diet. Domestic oats are a good addition to a vegan diet, both for their health and environmental benefits. From a sustainability perspective, it is important that food is not transported long distances.

- Oats thrive in many different types of soil and are successful in almost every corner of Finland, making them a truly local food. In addition, compared to for example wheat, oats are a relatively modest cereal grain which uses nutrients efficiently and does not waste water," says Veli Hietaniemi, chairman of the Finnish Oat Association and special researcher at the Natural Resources Institute Finland.

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For example, compared to rice, which is a water-rich crop, oats are an excellent environmental alternative. When considering the wellbeing of fields, oats are also an excellent pre-crop, meaning that growing them is good for the soil. Oats, which are suitable for many purposes, can be used as a substitute for less ecological foodstuffs.

- Rice is in a class of its own when it comes to water use. Oats are very similar to rice in terms of starch composition, and rice can therefore very easily be replaced with oats," says Hietaniemi.


Especially for vegans on a gluten free diet, it can be difficult to find the right diet building blocks. Oats are naturally gluten free, making them suitable for a gluten free vegan diet.

However, it is important to remember that only products made from gluten free pure oats are completely gluten free products suitable for people with coeliac disease. Gluten free pure oats are oats that have not been in contact with gluten-containing grains at any stage of production.


1) Oats are environmentally friendly food. Domestic, locally produced oats are sustainable food because they are not transported long distances and can survive in less demanding conditions than rice and wheat, for example.

2) Oats are rich in beta-glucan. Oats are rich in a blood cholesterol-lowering soluble fibre called beta-glucan, which is particularly useful for people who eat a lot of hard fats, both vegans and omnivores.  The cholesterol-lowering effect is one of the health claims approved for oats in the EU.

3) Oats provide protein. Adequate protein intake is particularly important for vegans, as plant-based protein sources are often not as nutrient-dense as meat products. Oats also have a well-balanced amino acid composition and a greater variety of proteins than many other grains, which is particularly beneficial for those following a vegan diet.

4) Oats contain slow carbohydrates. Oats with a high fibre content are not only good for your stomach and intestines, but they also keep hunger at bay for longer. Slow carbohydrates release energy and raise blood sugar levels more slowly than, for example, light wheat, which keeps you feeling full and your mind sharp for longer.

5) Oats are naturally gluten free. Oats are a naturally gluten free grain, making them a great diet building block for those on a gluten free diet. However, it should be remembered that only products made from gluten free pure oats are completely gluten free, for example for people with coeliac disease. Helsinki Mills gluten free selection includes breakfast and baking products as well as ingredients suitable for cooking.

6) Oats are versatile. Don't get stuck with just porridge or snack bars, as soft and tasty oats make a delicious and higher protein side dish to replace rice or potatoes. Try Myllärin Long Groat Oat or pre-flavoured Pastry Mixes either on their own or as a base for different dishes.

Sources: Natural Resources Institute Finland, The Finnish Organic Association, Vegaani.org, Vegaaniliitto.fi

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