I already recommend oatmeal as a heart-healthy breakfast, but it turns out to be even better for your heart than I knew.
Multiple studies have demonstrated that oatmeal can lower LDL cholesterol. Now, a new Canadian study finds that oatmeal not only reduces cholesterol, but other heart disease markers as well.
Researchers analyzed 58 clinical trials involving almost 4,000 people to assess the effect of diets enriched with oat beta-glucan (sugar from the cell walls of oats) not only on LDL cholesterol, but also, for the first time, on two other components of cholesterol — non-HDL cholesterol and apolipoprotein B, known also as apoB.
They also found that oat bran, as opposed to whole grain oats, is a particularly good choice for reducing cholesterol.
Both oat bran and whole grain oats (the kind used for oatmeal) start out as oat groats, but they are processed differently.
Whole oats are processed further for oatmeal, while oat bran, which is similar to wheat germ, is the outer layer of the oat groat, just beneath the inedible husk.
Oat bran can also be eaten as a cereal, used in some baked goods, or sprinkled on other foods.
Research shows that eating 3 grams of oat fiber daily — the amount in a bowl of oatmeal — can lower total cholesterol by as much as 23 percent.
Even small reductions are important since each 1 percent reduction in serum cholesterol reduces the risk of heart disease by 2 percent, the study noted.
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