WELLNESS

HIDDEN BENEFITS OF OATMEAL FOR YOUR HEART

Humans have been consuming oats for more than 2,000 years and recently, researchers found two particular compounds in oatmeal that could help you reach a healthier cholesterol level.

02.07.2022
BY WILHEMINA BOWEN
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Oatmeal is both delicious and healthy. It is a solid pick for your heart, not only in terms of mindfulness as it's such a cozy meal, but oats are also so powerful for your cardiovascular health.

Humans have been consuming oats for more than 2,000 years, which satiate your hunger and when paired with more fruits, nuts, and other add-ins, it relieves your inner child. On top of it, many have linked the yummy grains to cardiovascular health, especially when it comes to cholesterol.

There are two particular compounds in oatmeal that could help you reach a healthier cholesterol level. One is an antioxidant that’s found exclusively in oats, called Avenanthramide, also known as “polyphenolic amides”. Avenanthramides are a group of antioxidants classified as polyphenols, which are powerful micronutrients found in some natural foods and drinks, like grapes, green tea, wine, red fruits, and coffee.

Research shows avenanthramide may offer a range of health benefits, some of which pertain specifically to heart health and concerning cholesterol levels, including antioxidant properties and anti-inflammatory effects. Some research has suggested that avenanthramide may help lower low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, better known as LDL.

The second component is beta-glucans, which are demonstrated to have a significant effect on your cardiovascular health. Here, we explore the possible benefits of avenanthramide and beta-glucans, among other heart-healthy effects of oatmeal. Beta-glucans, a type of soluble fiber found in oats, boost the benefits brought by avenanthramide. Beta-glucans can directly bind to cholesterol, inhibiting its absorption.

Time to cook some oatmeal
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends whole grains should compose at least half our daily grain intake. For most adults, that means a half-cup of cooked oatmeal could count for one of the three to four whole grain servings is recommended per day. The experts say really any type of oat, as long as it is whole oats and not heavily processed, has health benefits. However, slower-cooking types of oatmeal in a more whole, unprocessed form are the healthiest.

The nutrition professionals we spoke with added that it’s important to stay away from oat products with added sugars, fat, artificial flavors, preservatives, and oils.

Several studies found that eating oats for around a month or more seemed to have positive benefits. In one 2017 study, people who ate 70 grams of oatmeal twice daily for four weeks experienced an 8.1 percent reduction in their total cholesterol levels and an 11.6 percent reduction in their LDL levels.

Aside from oatmeal’s possible cholesterol-reducing effects, consuming oats can also help reduce blood pressure, reduce the risk of plaques forming in blood vessels, and reduce the risk of other conditions that raise the risk of heart diseases, such as obesity, diabetes, and lung disease. The fiber found in oats can also help with maintaining regular bowel movements.

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