Oats are a nutritious whole grain that can help to prevent heart disease and diabetes. Oats contain a special type of fiber that is called beta-glucan. Studies dating back over 40 years have consistently shown the beneficial effects of beta-glucan on cholesterol levels. In individuals with cholesterol above 220, consuming only 3 grams of soluble oat fiber per day (an amount found in one bowl of oatmeal) typically lowers total cholesterol by 8-23%. Each 1% drop in cholesterol equates to a 2% decrease in the risk of developing heart disease. Now that is an easy way to take care of your heart.
Studies also show that beta-glucan has beneficial effects in diabetes. Type 2 diabetics who ate foods high in this type of oat fiber such as oatmeal or oat bran experienced much lower rises in blood sugar compared to those who were ate processed foods. Starting out your day with oats may make it easier to keep blood sugar levels under control the rest of the day, especially when the rest of your day is also includes other whole foods that are rich in fiber.
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