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Oat Bran and its Potential Benefits

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Oats are considered to be a very healthy grain and increasingly fashionable for its potential and content in fiber and minerals. More and more new recipes appear for use, whether included in salads, smoothies, yogurts, etc.

Usually, oats undergo a physical process where the outer shell is removed, since it is not entirely edible. However, if the layer is left immediately inside, we talk about oat bran. This product can be consumed together with the unprocessed grain or directly purchased only as bran.

This compound has participated in several scientific studies and has been found multiple health benefits, especially linked to its high content in fiber and minerals. On the other hand, oat bran is closely linked to an adequate intestinal flora and as an excellent prebiotic food.

In this article we tell you the main characteristics of oat bran and the benefits linked to health from several scientific investigations carried out.

Nutritional composition of oat bran

First of all, let’s analyze what is the nutritional composition of oat bran. This will allow us to anticipate many of the properties that we will be commenting on point by point. As for carbohydrate concentration, it is usually very similar to that of normal oats, but the bran contains some more fiber and protein with a lower energy intake (calories).

An approximate amount of one cup (between 200 and 220 grams) of pre-cooked oat bran contains the following nutritional composition:

  • Energy: 88 kcal
  • Protein: 5 %
  • Carbohydrates: 25 g
  • Grease: 0 %
  • Fibre: 6 g
  • Potassium: 4% of the recommended daily allowance
  • Magnesium: 20% of the recommended daily allowance
  • Phosphorus: 20% of the recommended daily allowance
  • Iron: 11% of the recommended daily allowance
  • Zinc: 11% of the recommended daily allowance
  • Thiamine: 30% of the recommended daily allowance
  • Riboflavin: 6% of the recommended daily allowance

An important fact to keep in mind about bran is that it does not contain gluten. However, it is important to know the source of provenance as it may have been processed along with foods that do contain gluten.

 

Oat bran properties

Benefits of Taking Oat Bran

1. Helps control our body weight

The high soluble fiber content that provides the oat bran allows us to satiate ourselves with small amounts of this food. This fiber is very interesting to ensure proper intestinal health and the regulation of hormones that send satiety signals (cholecystokinin) and reduce those that are activated by hunger (ghrelin).

Therefore, replacing more copious and high-fat foods with oat bran is a great idea for achieve weight loss in a healthy way. It is advisable to introduce it at breakfast as a substitute for other more energetic cereals, such as corn or wheat flakes.

2. High antioxidant content

Among the nutrients contained in oat bran are those known as antioxidants from polyphenols. These substances bind to free radicals preventing them from causing cellular oxidation, associated with various chronic degenerative diseases. [See study]

Therefore, oat bran provides us with a good source of antioxidants of vegetable origin, suitable for a vegan diet.

In particular, salvo contains more of these antioxidants compared to other sources of oats. It is rich in these 3 beneficial components:

  • Avenanthramides
  • Phytic acid
  • Ferulic acid

Avenanthramides are a very powerful antioxidant located especially in oats and the entire family of related plants. This compound has been associated with various benefits such as reducing hypertension, cancer prevention and against various inflammatory processes.

3. It is related to adequate cardiovascular health

The diet keeps a close relationship with cardiovascular health, cholesterol, blood pressure and glycemic index. Therefore, oat bran has been shown to be an important source of resources to reduce markers of cardiovascular risks, especially high cholesterol and hypertension.

The basis of the success of this food is based on its content in beta-glucan, a water-soluble fiber that forms a gel in the digestive tract and reduces the absorption of cholesterol into the blood. [See study]

In several scientific investigations carried out, it has been proven that oat bran reduces bad cholesterol (LDL) by up to 0.3 mmol/L.  In addition, there are several studies that conclude the positive impact of this nutrient on blood pressure, reducing high values, so it generates a positive impact on people suffering from hypertension.

LDL cholesterol is considered a negative factor in cardiovascular health. The avenantramide compound present in oats (especially in bran), favors the reduction of its accumulation and oxidation in the body. [View Report]

Oat bran recipe

4. May regulate glucose levels in diabetics

One of the biggest problems of the 21st century is type 2 diabetes, which affects nearly 400 million people worldwide. And this risk factor is closely related to food and, especially, high fat consumption and low fiber.

Foods rich in soluble fibers, such as oat bran, favor a lower glycemic index and less blood sugar buildup. In particular, the beta-glucan compound present in oats reduces the digestion of food and, with it, the rapid assimilation of carbohydrates, which quickly raise blood sugar levels. In this way, it is possible to reduce the peaks of high and low sugar and a more balanced glucose index is maintained.

People who suffer from type 2 diabetes and have been fed daily with oat bran to incorporate beta-glucan into the diet (6 grams over 1 month) have shown a statistically significant reduction in blood glucose levels.

5. It is a potential ally for the intestine

Intestinal problems can be associated with a low-fiber diet, being a global problem, especially in the Western world. A simple way to incorporate a high amount of soluble fibers it is through oat bran, as it also promotes an ideal intestinal function and is a prebiotic food.

Oatmeal provides us 2 types of fiber, soluble and insoluble. The latter helps in the speed of bowel movements, since it drags the rest of the components that circulate through the small and large intestine.

6. It can prevent the appearance of some types of cancer

Bowel and colorectal cancer is a fairly common disease in the Western world (in the United States, the third most common type). Oat bran, thanks to its beta-glucan content, has proven to be a powerful ally as a preventive, since it acts as a prebiotic of microorganisms that ferment fiber and produce short-chain fatty acids. This component can reduce the development of cancer cells. [See report]

In general, fiber-rich foods are recommended by the scientific community and doctors since they are linked to a lower risk of bowel cancer.

Bibliography consulted

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  • Whitehead A, Beck EJ, Tosh S, Wolever TM. Cholesterol-lowering effects of oat β-glucan: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Am J Clin Nutr. 2014;100(6):1413-1421. doi:10.3945/ajcn.114.086108.
  • Chen, Oliver & Milbury, Paul & Kwak, Ho-Kyung & Collins, Frank William & Samuel, Priscilla & Blumberg, Jeffrey. (2004). Avenanthramides and Phenolic Acids from Oats Are Bioavailable and Act Synergistically with Vitamin C to Enhance Hamster and Human LDL Resistance to Oxidation. The Journal of nutrition. 134. 1459-66. 10.1093/jn/134.6.1459.
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About Andrew Parkinson

Andrew Parkinson is a highly accomplished pharmacist with a passion for improving healthcare. With a wealth of experience in both community and clinical pharmacy settings, he's known for his dedication to patient well-being. Mr. Parkinson actively engages in medication management, offering personalized solutions and promoting better health outcomes. He has also played a pivotal role in educating patients on proper medication usage and potential interactions. Andrew's commitment to advancing the field of pharmacy and ensuring safe and effective drug therapies has garnered him recognition as a trusted and invaluable healthcare professional, making a positive impact on countless lives.

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