How to direct your shoppers in a heart healthy direction when looking for oats? Here are seven ways your shoppers can get their oats.
Oats, oat bran, and oatmeal contain a special type of fiber known as beta-glucan. Study after study demonstrate the beneficial effects of beta-glucan on cholesterol levels. Individuals with high cholesterol, consuming just three grams of soluble oat fiber per day (found in one bowl of oatmeal) experience lower total cholesterol. The fiber helps carry out the unnecessary cholesterol from the body, thus lowering the risk of heart disease.
More specifically, a study recently published in the British Journal of Nutrition showed that in addition to lowering LDL cholesterol, eating oat fiber may also reduce non-HDL cholesterol and apoB, a lipoprotein that carries LDL through the blood.
The researchers looked at 58 clinical trials involving almost 4,000 people from around the world that assessed the effect of diets enriched with oat beta-glucan. The review found that overall, LDL cholesterol was reduced by 4.2%, non-HDL cholesterol by 4.8%, and apoB by 2.3%.
In addition, there is another mechanism in which oats boost heart health: antioxidants called avenanthramides, which are unique to oats, help prevent free radicals from damaging LDL cholesterol, thus reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, according to a study in The Journal of Nutrition.
Oats are also rich in manganese, necessary for an enzyme, manganese superoxide dismutase, a potent antioxidant, associated with protection against free radical damage. They are also rich in magnesium, which helps maintain nervous system balance as well as controlling inflammation; both contribute to heart health.
How to direct your shoppers in a heart healthy direction when looking for oats? Here are 7 ways your shoppers can get their oats:
Oat bran: the outer layer of the grain that resides under the hull. While oat bran is found in rolled oats and steel-cut oats, it may also be purchased as a separate product that can be added to recipes or cooked to make a hot cereal.
Oat groats: unflattened kernels that are good for using as a breakfast cereal or for stuffing.
Steel-cut oats: featuring a dense and chewy texture, they are produced by running the grain through steel blades that thinly slices them.
Old-fashioned oats: have a flatter shape that is the result of their being steamed and then rolled.
Quick-cooking oats: processed like old-fashioned oats, except they are cut finely before rolling
Instant oatmeal: produced by partially cooking the grains and then rolling them very thin. Oftentimes, sugar, salt and other ingredients are added to make the finished product.
Oat flour: used in baking, it is oftentimes combined with wheat or other gluten-containing flours when making leavened bread.