Cholestrol

How Can Oatmeal Help Reduce Cholesterol

High levels of cholesterol is one of the foremost causes of health problems, especially atherosclerosis (thickening of arteries). Various foods have been recommended to reduce cholesterol; one among them is oatmeal.

How Does Oatmeal Reduce Cholesterol?

  • Oatmeal is rich in a dietary fiber called beta glucan. This is soluble in water. That is why oatmeal forms a thick paste on mixing with water. Think of these as small pieces of sponge in your small intestine.
  • Oatmeal is nothing but coarsely ground oats. It has been identified as the most common breakfast cereals.
  • Once it is inside the digestive tract, oatmeal moves very slowly due to its thick sludge-like consistency. In course of this movement, it coats the walls of the small intestine and binds to bile acids which contain LDL cholesterol in them.
  • This ‘bile acid-oatmeal’ compound is fibrous (because oats are essentially fibers) and hence, it passes to the colon as a fibrous mass. From there it is excreted as waste.
  • Thus, by this process, the LDL cholesterol associated with bile acids also gets flushed out as excreta. That means the bad cholesterol content in the body is removed without any sweat.

Other Health Benefits of Eating Oatmeal:

  • In addition to its benefits in reducing cholesterol, oatmeal is also helpful to diabetics. Oats being complex carbohydrates (complex sugars), are absorbed very slowly by our body. This means that this sugar is absorbed slowly from the bloodstream.
  • Like this, it provides necessary energy to the body for a longer period than other food varieties. This slow release of sugars is a very important aspect for diabetic patients because their sugar levels should be under control.

A word of Caution:

  • Once you have chosen oatmeal as a dietary channel to reduce cholesterol levels, remember that in its natural, unprocessed form, it has no added sugars or preservatives etc.
  • Only natural form of oatmeal should be consumed if cholesterol reduction is desired. The instant varieties of oatmeal (containing sugars, flavour and additives) and also, oatmeal cooked in oil will not give the desired benefits.

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