Eating oats reduces levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol in the body, research finds.
Bad cholesterol can block the arteries, leading to cardiovascular disease.
Oats are a rich source of beta-glucan, a fibre that provides a range of benefits.
However, it may be difficult to get the recommended amount of oat fibre from oatmeal alone.
Instead, the researchers recommend oat bran, as this has double the amount of beta-glucan.
Oat bran is available as a cereal and is also in some baked goods.
The conclusions come from a review of 58 clinical trials including almost 4,000 people.
These studies examined the effect of eating diets enriched with oats on LDL cholesterol (or ‘lousy’ cholesterol), non-HDL cholesterol and apolipoprotein B.
Apolipoprotein B is a lipoprotein that transports bad cholesterol through the blood.
Dr. Vladimir Vuksan, who led the study, explained the results:
“Diets enriched with about 3.5 grams a day of beta-glucan fiber from oats were found to modestly improve LDL cholesterol, but also non-HDC and apoB compared to control diets.”
The study found that LDL cholesterol was reduced by 4.2 percent, non-HDL cholesterol by 4.8 percent and apoB by 2.3 percent.
One of the first studies, conducted in 1963, found that changing from white bread to oat bread lowered LDL cholesterol.
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The study was published in the British Journal of Nutrition (Ho et al., 2016).