Oats have been known to lower LDL cholesterol, but now they’ve been found to be even better for health, especially heart health.
During a scientific conference recently at Dallas, Texas, 11 scientists outlined their research results that provide increasing evidence that the type of phenolic compound avenanthramide (AVE) – found only in oats – may possess antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-itch and anti-cancer properties.
The studies indicate that oat AVEs may play an important role in protecting the heart.
Eating whole grains is consistently associated with a reduced risk of chronic disease, including cardiovascular disease.
Most of the benefits have been attributed to the relatively high fiber, vitamin, mineral and phytochemical content of whole grains. The soluble fiber beta-glucan found in oats has been recognized for its ability to lower both total and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol.
“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,” said presiding co-officer, Dr. Shengmin Sang of the Center for Excellence in Post-Harvest Technologies at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University.
“As the scientific investigators dig deeper, we have discovered that the bioactive compounds found in oats – AVEs – may provide additional cardio-protective benefits.”
Oliver Chen, Ph.D., of the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, presented mechanistic data that demonstrated that the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of AVEs likely contribute to the atheroprotection of oats.
Similarly, Mohsen Meydani, Ph.D., from the Vascular Biology Laboratory at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, provided evidence that oat AVEs suppress the production of inflammatory cytokines associated with fatty streak formation in the arteries. In addition, oat AVEs appear to repress the process associated with the development of atherosclerosis.
Also on the program were scientists from Tufts University; Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada; PepsiCo Inc. R&D; the Institute of Food, Nutrition and Health in Zurich, Switzerland; the University of Minnesota; and Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, LA.