A recently published study in the Nutrition Journal reiterated the cholesterol-lowering properties of oats.
The health benefits of oats are well established by earlier studies. Oats decrease the bad cholesterol and triglycerides from the body, thereby contributing to a reduction in complications like heart attack and stroke.
AdvertisementDue to modern lifestyle, a large number of people all over the world are suffering from high cholesterol levels. The Chinese have not been spared either, with 2.9% adults suffering from high cholesterol levels and 11.9% suffering from high triglyceride levels. These high levels in China are more common in people over the age of 60 years and in the urban population.
Diet plays an important role in controlling heart diseases. A study published in the Nutritional Journal studied if introduction of oatmeal in the diet could reduce cholesterol levels in a Chinese population.
The study was conducted in Chinese individuals between 35 to 70 years who suffered from mild to moderate hypercholesterolemia and were not taking any medications for the same.
The participants were asked to continue with their normal consumption of food. However, they were asked to change a portion of their staple food like rice, steamed bread or noodles with the product provided by the researchers. One group was given oatmeal packages of 200gms each. They were asked to consume around half a packet per day. The second group was given wheat noodles and asked to consume around 100gms from the packets each day.
The final data was obtained from 85 subjects in the oatmeal group and 81 subjects in the group consuming wheat noodles.
The researchers found that oats provided a significantly higher amount of dietary fiber as compared to the control group. The waist circumference or girth was reduced in patients taking oats. The total cholesterol levels decreased without a significant change in the good-cholesterol levels.
There were no significant changes in glucose levels or blood pressure in either group. However, some individuals in the study were taking blood pressure medications; hence the effect on oats on blood pressure cannot be commented based on this particular study.
Some patients did complain about the taste of the oatmeal product. Flavored oatmeal depending on the local tastes of different cultures, or newer recipes to cook oats could help to address this issue.
Reference: Zhang J et al. Randomized controlled trial of oatmeal consumption versus noodle consumption on blood lipids of urban Chinese adults with hypercholesterolemia. Nutrition Journal 2012, 11:54 doi:10.1186/1475-2891-11-54.