Oatmeal is abundant in complex carbohydrates and oat bran, a unique class of dietary fiber that boasts a number of important health benefits. From controlling blood sugars to lowering cholesterol, oat bran can be an important boon to health. Derived from whole grain oats, oat bran isn't digested or absorbed by the body. In general, dietary fiber helps promote healthy digestive health, promotes satiety and boosts insulin sensitivity. What makes oat bran stand out is its high level of beta-glucans, viscous compounds that clings to cholesterol in your gut.
Elevated cholesterol levels, especially "bad" LDL cholesterol, significantly increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Adding oat bran to a heart-healthy diet can reduce high cholesterol levels, a study published in the March 2007 of "Nutrition Journal" found. In this study, 75 adults with high cholesterol were given 6g of daily oat bran or a placebo. The researchers found that those who took the daily oat bran reduced their total and LDL cholesterol levels significantly.
Chronically elevated glucose and insulin levels can contribute to the development of cardiovascular disease. A research study published in the June 2010 edition of "Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases" found that consuming a meal with 5g of oat bran helped limit the spike in glucose and insulin following the meal.
A well-controlled appetite can aid in healthy food choices and portion control. Consuming oat bran promotes satiety and helps control appetite, the January 2009 "Journal of Nutrition" states. The paper authors note that oat bran stimulates the release of hormones such as cholecystokinin, which reduces appetite.
Although generally safe and well tolerated, the long-term safety of oat bran supplements has yet to be established. If you choose to take oat bran supplements talk to your doctor beforehand to ensure that oat bran is safe for you. To reduce the risk of constipation from oat bran, drink plenty of fluids and stay physically active.
- "Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases"; Semisolid meal enriched in oat bran decreases plasma glucose and insulin levels, but does not change gastrointestinal peptide responses or short-term appetite in healthy subjects; K Juvanon et al.; June 2010rel="nofollow"
- "Nutrition Journal"; Concentrated Oat β-Glucan, a Fermentable Fiber, Lowers Serum Cholesterol in Hypercholesterolemic Adults in a Randomized Controlled Trial; K Queenan et al.; March 2007rel="nofollow"
- "Journal of Nutrition"; Viscosity of Oat Bran-Enriched Beverages Influences Gastrointestinal Hormonal Responses in Healthy Humans; K Juvanon et al; March 2009rel="nofollow"
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