Why should oats feature prominently in your diet?

In a new study, Dr Vladimir Vuksan, a research scientist and associate director of the Risk Factor Modification Centre of St Michael’s Hospital, Toronto, looked at 58 clinical trials involving almost 4000 people from around the world that assessed the effect of oat-enriched diets.

While it’s well-documented that eating oats lowers LDL or ‘lousy’ cholesterol, the kind that collects in the walls of blood vessels where it can cause blockages, Vuskan found that porridge also reduces non-HDL cholesterol and apolipoprotein B, or apoB, a lipoprotein that carries bad cholesterol through the blood.

He recommended not only getting your daily oats, but increasing consumption of oat bran as a supplement, since both are a rich source of beta-glucan, a viscous soluble fibre, which seems to be responsible for the beneficial effects.

“Diets enriched with about 3.5g a day of beta-glucan fibre from oats were found to modestly improve LDL cholesterol, but also non-HDC and apoB compared to control diets,” Dr Vuksan said.