It is well known that eating oats helps lowering cholesterol levels and reduces the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.
More and more studies are focusing on the impact oats have on levels of LDL cholesterol, which is collected in the walls of blood vessels, causing blood clots or blockages.
There is evidence that more accurate cardiovascular risk assessment can be made with the help of two other markers – non HDL cholesterol which is the total cholesterol minus the “H” or “healthy cholesterol” and apolipoprotein (apoB) which is essentially a bad cholesterol carrier trough the blood. This is especially applied to people with Type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome since they don’t have elevated LDL cholesterol levels.
Meta analysis and systematic reviews concluded that by eating oat fibers can reduce these markers. The study was led by Dr. Vladimir Vuksan, scientist and associate director of the Risk Factor Modification Centre of St. Michael’s Hospital.
He said that oats contain beta-glucan, which is a viscous soluble fiber, believed to be responsible for beneficial effects. The first study of this type which was published in 1963, published that LDL cholesterol can be lowered by substituting white bread with oat bread.
The effects of oat beta glucan enriched diets were compared with controlled LDL cholesterol diets in 58 clinical trials which involved around 4.000 people. They were looked at by Dr. Vuksan’s team.
“Diets that are enriched with 3.5 grams of beta-glucan fiber a day, improve LDL cholesterol, as well as HDC and apoB compared to other controlled diets.” – Dr. Vuksan concluded.
The review found out that non-HDL cholesterol was reduced by 4.8%, apoB by 2.3% and LDL cholesterol had a 4.2% reduction.
Dr. Vuksan admits that most people find it hard to consume the recommended amount of oat fiber, so he recommends that they should increase the consumption of oat bran. One cup of oat bran (cooked) generally contains the same amount of beta-glucan as twice the amount of cooked oat meal.
Canada ranks 3rd on the scale of oat producers in the world, so increasing the consumption of oats is good for the health as it is for the economy. Oat consumption has been in steady decline for years.