Published: 01/09/2013 - Updated: 02/08/2018
The oat crop was created in Europe, around 1000 BC, and gain space in cold and wet climates, such as Scotland and Scandinavia, where other grains could not survive. For many years, it was used only for animal feed and used to be considered "poor food" because it was cheap and filling.
In recent years, oat has become popular, because it has a natural power to reduce blood cholesterol levels. It is no longer the humble grain for farmers and has become an important and "healthy" food in the daily use, either as cereal, in granola, breads and many other tasty dishes.
Oats against cholesterol
Oat bran is concentrated oat fiber as it is the husk of the grain. It is rich in soluble fiber; helps remove cholesterol from the body and slow the absorption of food (particularly useful for diabetics).
The cereal contains oat bran also, since it is part of the grain, but in smaller amounts.
Three tablespoons (30 grams) of oat bran provide about 5 grams of fiber and 150 calories.
To obtain significant results in controlling cholesterol, you should consume between 60 and 100 grams of oats, besides modifying dietary fats.
Other health benefits
While the effects of oats against cholesterol are well known, we should not ignore the other benefits it provides to us.
It is an easily digestible cereal
Oats are easily digested and are a soft food for people with fever and a good first food for those who have experienced intestinal diseases or food poisoning. Oatmeal is also a great alternative to reduce eggs and sausage or bacon for those who want to reduce fat and cholesterol in the diet.
Useful for diabetics
Beta-glucan from oats decreases increased glucose levels in the blood after a meal and its rise delay before meals. Here's how it works. As the beta-glucan in the oat soluble fiber is digested, a gel is formed, which causes that the viscosity of the contents of the stomach and small intestine increase. This in turn slows down the digestion and prolongs the absorption of carbohydrates in the bloodstream. This means that the dramatic changes in the levels of blood sugar are avoided. Remember that oat is also a source of carbohydrates, so consumption should not be abused.
Oat benefits against cancer
Oats, as well as other grains and vegetables, contain hundreds of phytochemicals (vegetable chemicals), substances which are believed to reduce the risk of an individual developing cancer.
Compounds such as phytoestrogens and lignans in oats, have been linked to lower risk of hormone-related diseases, such as breast cancer.
The insoluble oat fiber is also believed to reduce the carcinogens present in the gastrointestinal tract.
One of the benefits of eating oatmeal is that regulates blood pressure. A daily serving of oats can reduce hypertension, or high blood pressure, and reduce the need for antihypertensive medication.