To Your Health
April, 2008 (Vol. 02, Issue 04)
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Believe the Hype About Oats

By Editorial Staff

We've all seen the commercials claiming a morning bowl of oats lowers cholesterol, but does it really do the job? Yes, and definitively so, according to a recently concluded University of Kentucky review study.

Dr. James W. Anderson, a professor of medicine and clinical nutrition at the university, found that studies conducted during the past 15 years have, without exception, shown that regular consumption of oatmeal lowers total cholesterol levels and low-density lipoprotein (or LDL, the "bad" cholesterol) without adverse effects on high-density lipoprotein (or HDL, the "good" cholesterol), or triglyceride concentrations.

"Whole-grain products like oatmeal are among some of the best foods one can eat to improve cholesterol levels, in addition to other lifestyle choices," Anderson said in a university press release. "Lifestyle choices such as diet should be the first line of therapy for most patients with moderate cholesterol risk, given the expense, safety concerns and intolerance related to cholesterol lowering drugs."

Recent data also suggests whole-grain oats, as part of a lifestyle management program, just might offer health benefits that extend beyond total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol reduction. Anderson's studies suggest eating a hearty bowl of oatmeal every morning just might:

  • reduce the risk for elevated blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and weight gain;
  • reduce LDL cholesterol during weight-loss;
  • provide favorable changes in the physical characteristics of LDL cholesterol particles, making them less susceptible to oxidation, which is believed to lead to hardening of the arteries); and
  • A bowl of oats. - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark supply unique compounds possibly leading to the reduction of early hardening of the arteries.

"Since the 1980s, oatmeal has been scientifically recognized for its heart health benefits, and the latest research shows this evidence endures the test of time and should be embraced as a lifestyle option for millions of Americans at-risk for heart disease," said Anderson.

So whether it's a bowl of oatmeal to start your morning or an oat muffin as a snack later in the day, make oats a part of your daily diet. Your heart and arteries will thank you for it.