Most varieties of oats are surrounded by a hull that must be removed. In the U.S. oats are usually steamed and flattened to produce rolled oats. They have a mild, but unique whole-grain flavor and are nearly always sold and eaten as whole grains. They contain a water-soluble fiber known as beta glucan, that can help effectively lower cholesterol. It helps to reduce the risks of coronary heart disease and some forms of cancer and has more total protein and higher amounts of amino acids, calcium, magnesium, zinc, and vitamin B1 than the other cereal grains.