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Eat oats for better heart health, and beyond

A key morning breakfast food has just got better. The soluble fibre in oats helps lower total and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or ‘bad’ cholesterol but scientists now say that the cardiovascular health benefits of oats goes beyond fibre.

The phenolic compound avenanthramide (AVE) – found only in oats – may possess antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-itch and anti-cancer properties.

It suggests that oat AVEs may play an important role in protecting the heart.

Eating whole grains is consistently associated with a reduced risk of chronic disease, including cardiovascular disease.

“Our studies reveal that the heart health benefit of eating oats may go beyond fibre,” said Shengmin Sang from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University.

The soluble fibre beta-glucan found in oats has been recognised for its ability to lower both total and LDL cholesterol.

According to Mohsen Meydani from the Vascular Biology Laboratory at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Centre on Aging at Tufts University, oat AVEs suppress the production of inflammatory cytokines associated with fatty streak formation in the arteries.

In addition, oat AVEs appear to repress the process associated with the development of atherosclerosis.

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