Cholesterol levels and heart disease risk may be lowered by eating oats. In a review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials, the researchers concluded that oat fiber can reduce LDL cholesterol, non-HDL cholesterol, and apolipoprotein B (apoB), which are all markers of cardiovascular disease risk.
Oats are a great source of soluble fiber which is what gives oats the beneficial properties. Previous studies found that swapping out white bread with bread containing oats was a successful strategy for lowering LDL cholesterol.
Lead researcher Dr. Vladimir Vuksan explained, “Diets enriched with about 3.5 grams a day of beta-glucan fiber from oats were found to modestly improve LDL cholesterol, but also non-HDC and apoB, compared to control diets.”
Dr. Vuksan suggests it is difficult for a single person to consume the required amount of oat fiber just by eating oat meal, so they should supplement it with oat bran as well. Furthermore, oat bran contains less calories than oat fiber, which makes it a more diet-friendly option. Oat bran can be consumed as cereal and used in baked goods, too.
How much oats do you need for healthy cholesterol levels?
The recommended intake for an average adult is 25 grams of fiber, but many Americans only take in about 15 grams. In 1.5 cups of oatmeal, there is only three grams of fiber, which is enough to begin lowering cholesterol levels. Although 1.5 cups of oatmeal for breakfast is a lot, you may find it easier to include oat bran and oat fiber in all your meals throughout the day in order to get in the adequate amount.
Getting in oat fiber throughout your day isn’t that difficult. You can start with an oat meal cereal for breakfast and add some oat bran to your other meals such as casseroles or soups.
Other benefits of eating oats
Aside from reducing cholesterol and cardiovascular disease risk, oats in general are quite healthy and should be incorporated into your healthy diet.
Oats are also a powerful antioxidant food, improve blood sugar levels, aid in weight loss, promote skin health, may reduce childhood asthma, relieve constipation, and may help reduce the risk of colon cancer.
Healthy recipe: Oats with apples, dates, and almonds
Oats contain three grams of fiber per serving; half of an apple contributes 2.5 grams of fiber; and the two dates have a combined four grams of fiber. Use un-blanched almonds to take advantage of the fiber in the brown husk.
1/3 cup dry old-fashioned oats (not instant)
½ apple, with skin, chopped
2 dates, chopped
10 almonds, chopped
Combine the oats, apples, and dates together in a small pot with a cup of water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for three to five minutes, or until thick and most of the water is absorbed. Top with the chopped almonds and a splash of milk, if desired.