Oats Combat Cancer: Study

Tuesday, 18 Mar 2014 04:27 PM

By Nick Tate

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Oatmeal isn't just good for your heart. New research shows oats also contain a compound that could make it a potent weapon against cancer.
 
Health experts have long known the soluble fiber in oats helps lower total and LDL "bad" cholesterol, largely because of its high fiber content. But an international team of scientists is reporting that a type of phenolic compound avenanthramide (AVE) — found only in oats — has powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-itch, and anti-cancer properties.
 
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AVEs may also play an important role in protecting the heart, suggesting the cardiovascular health benefits of oats goes beyond fiber, the researchers said.
 
During a scientific session at the American Chemical Society's annual meeting in Dallas this week, 11 top scientists from around the world presented the latest findings on the powerful beneficial compounds found in oats.
 
The researchers noted the health benefits of oats have been largely attributed to the relatively high fiber, vitamin, mineral, and phytochemical content of whole grains. For instance, the soluble fiber beta-glucan found in oats has been recognized for its ability to 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," explained the session's presiding co-officer, Shengmin Sang, M.D. 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."
 
Food scientists with the Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University presented evidence that the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of AVEs likely add to the heart benefits of oats.
 
Other scientists — from 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 — also presented findings suggesting wider benefits of eating whole grains on chronic diseases, including cancer, and how oats may improve glucose control and lipid metabolism (keys to managing and preventing diabetes).

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