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.
Due 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
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
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.
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