Hearty oats

31-Jan-2017

Oats for the heart


Oatmeal helps lower cholesterol

It has been confirmed, in a real-life setting and along with more than 40 scientific studies, that Oatmeal actually works to help lower LDL "bad" cholesterol without lowering the good cholesterol your body needs.

Oats were the first whole grain recognised by the FDA to help reduce cholesterol. In fact, the FDA approved the first ever food specific health claim for oatmeal in 1997 because of its heart healthy benefits in a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol.

What is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a fatty substance produced by the liver. It is also found in foods we eat that come from animals, such as beef, poultry, seafood and dairy products.

Cholesterol has a number of important jobs, including the production of certain hormones as well as the breakdown and digestion of fat. However, sometimes our bodies have too much cholesterol, and this can become a problem because the extra cholesterol can eventually damage and clog arteries.

So how do oats work?

Experts believe that it's the soluble fiber found in oats that helps reduce blood cholesterol levels.

In simple terms, oat soluble fiber (beta glucan) helps control blood cholesterol by binding some of the cholesterol in your digestive tract.

More specifically, soluble fiber helps trigger the liver to pull LDL (bad cholesterol) from the bloodstream for excretion. Beta glucan also helps trap cholesterol in the gut, preventing it from entering the bloodstream.

Oats and a healthy balanced lifestyle

It is well known that a well balanced diet, combined with regular physical activity, can help keep your body strong and healthy. It can also help prevent the development of many serious diseases, including heart disease, diabetes and obesity.

Fortunately, you don’t have to make sudden, drastic changes to your eating habits. Making several small changes over the course of a few weeks or months can really make a difference, such as:

  • Don’t skip meals. Following a regular eating schedule makes it easier to monitor your diet and avoid become overly hungry.
  • Start each day with a whole grain cereal.
  • Add fresh fruit and granola to low-fat yogurt to make a more balanced meal.
  • Prepare and pack your lunch
  • When you’re ordering a sandwich, substitute mustard or nonfat/lowfat Greek yogurt for mayonnaise.
  • Eat the edible skins of fruits and vegetables for more nutrients than without the peel.
  • Choose lean cuts of poultry, fish or white meat pork rather than fatty red meats.
  • Use oils such as olive and canola, instead of butter, when cooking to help lower saturated fat intake.
  • Eat a small salad or piece of fresh fruit before you go out to dinner so you aren’t feeling famished.
  • Thirst can be misinterpreted as hunger, so drink enough water each day to help keep your body hydrated.
  • Don’t label any food as off-limits. If you eat a piece of chocolate cake, simply adjust your caloric intake for the rest of the day to account for it.
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