Eat oatmeal to help your heart

Eat oatmeal to help your heart

How do you prefer your oatmeal with fruit or nuts? Eating a bowl of oats as part of a healthy breakfast has long been touted as a great way to start your day.

According the Whole Grains Council, oats contain soluble fiber, which has been shown to help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol. And now new research shows a bowl of good old-fashioned oatmeal could also benefit the heart even more than originally thought.

The research, presented at the 247th Annual Conference of the American Chemical Society, found that avenanthramide (AVE), a compound found only in oats, may possess anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-itch and anti-cancer properties. The culmination of the studies suggests that oat AVEs may play an important role in protecting the heart.

“While the data to support the importance of oat beta-glucan remains, these studies reveal that the heart health benefit of eating oats may go beyond fiber,” Dr. Shengmin Sang of the Center for Excellence in Post-Harvest Technologies at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University said in a press release. “As the scientific investigators dig deeper, we have discovered that the bioactive compounds found in oats – AVEs – may provide additional cardio-protective benefits.”

The research presented found the benefits of oat AVEs include:

  • Anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties protect against the formation of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries)
  • Suppress the production of inflammatory cytokines associated with fatty streak formation in the arteries
  • Repress the process associated with the development of atherosclerosis

“There is no question that oats are an important component of a heart-healthy diet,” says Dr. Irina Staicu, cardiologist on staff at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington and with Advocate Heart Institute. “As scientists continue to study oats, even more potential heart-health benefits may be found.”

Heart disease is a leading cause of death in the United States for both men and women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Dr. Staicu says that while some of the causes of heart disease are beyond ones control, many are not. By following a healthy diet and leading an active lifestyle, she says, it is possible to reduce the risk of heart disease.

Do you know your risk for heart disease? Take our heart risk assessment here. If you are at high risk, see one of Advocate Heart Institute’s cardiologists within 24 hours.

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  1. I love oatmeal, especially in the winter, but I don’t eat it as often as I should.

  2. Are the packets of oatmeal that come 10 to the box healthy to eat ? (includes added sugar and dehydrated fruit) Or do we have to fire up the boiler and cook the “big” box of oats overnight as in the old days ?

  3. Oatmeal, like virtually all grains, sends my blood sugar surging higher. I have been diabetic for 25 years, and learned early on that the whole grain mantra wasn’t appropriate. I’m trying to avoid the wonderful list of side effects of diabetes, ergo no grains.

    Your mileage may vary.

  4. The article only mentions oatmeal as a source of oats. I’d like to know whether cold cereals containing oats are just as beneficial.

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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Aurora Health sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.