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Oats

Soluble Fibre, Beta-Glucan

Soluble fibre: Beta-glucan

  • Soluble fibre benefits those with high cholesterol levels. Numerous studies show that even small consumption of soluble oat fibre even just 3 grams a day [approximately 1 bowl full of cooked oats] can lower total cholesterol by 8-23%. Is this significant? Well consider that each 1% drop in serum cholesterol can result in a 2% decrease in the risk of atherosclerosis or blockages in critical arteries such as in your heart or carotid arteries supplying the brain.
  • Oats are also rich in beta-glucan a polysaccharide. Many studies have shown that a beta-glucan rich diet can result in weight loss and many other studies have shown an anti-cancer effect of beta-glucan. Being overweight or obese is a significant risk for breast and many other cancers. Oats may help in this regard.
  • Beta-glucan is a soluble fibre that can modify stomach emptying, decreasing blood glucose and insulin levels after a meal. Decreasing insulin responses may be protective of breast cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer and others. (Augustin, Dal Maso et al. 2001). A large UK study showed that a high fibre diet reduced the risk of breast cancer in premenopausal women the conclusion of this study was “In pre-menopausal, but not post-menopausal women a statistically significant inverse relationship was found between total fibre intake and risk of breast cancer” (Cade, Burley et al. 2007). So oats are a great ally in protecting you against many cancers and heart disease.

Avenanthramides

  • Avenanthramides are a type of oat phytoalexins. Oat Avenanthramides are compounds that can help protect your heart and cardiovascular system by helping to suppress adhesion molecules such as ICAM-1 (intracellular adhesion molecule-1), VCAM-1 (vascular adhesion molecule-1), E-selectin. Inflammation is a central component of ischaemic [artery blockages] heart disease cardiovascular disease in general. Avenanthramides can also inhibit the secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines such as IL-6, IL-8 and MCP-1 (monocyte chemo-attractant protein). Oat avenanthramides act synergistically with Vitamin C to protect against oxidation of LDL [the ‘bad’ cholesterol]. So having a glass of orange juice is definitely very helpful at breakfast! (Chen, Milbury et al. 2004).

Tutorial: Please view ‘Atherosclerosis & Inflammation

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