What are the health benefits of oats? Oats have always been a health-food staple, and rightly so.
Heart & circulation
Oats contain a very unique soluble fibre called beta glucan. This has been the focus of a great deal of research in recent years and has been clinically proven to lower cholesterol in the digestive tract. It does this by binding to cholesterol that has been released from the liver. Once bound to it, it carries cholesterol out the body through the bowel before it has a chance to be absorbed into the blood stream. Cholesterol is made in the liver. A small amount goes straight into circulation, but most of it leaves the liver via the gall bladder. Cholesterol is an essential component in the manufacture of bile salts. Most of the cholesterol synthesised is initially used for manufacture of bile salts. It leaves the liver via the bile where it plays its role in fat digestion. Then it goes further into the digestive tract where it is absorbed and travels through our circulation doing the many jobs that cholesterol does. When we consume fibres such as beta gluten found in oats, the fibre binds to the cholesterol that is in the gut, post bile, and prevents it from being absorbed. Because cholesterol is so important in bile manufacture, the liver mobilises serum cholesterol out of circulation to assist in bile manufacture. Long story short, this will lower serum cholesterol.
Their high fibre content makes oats an obvious choice for easing constipation. The fibre attracts water and begins to swell, which makes the bowel contents bigger and bulkier. This helps stimulate the stretch receptors the gut wall, which causes a contraction of the gut wall, helping to move bowel contents along more effectively.
Oats are very rich in B vitamins, which are essential for supporting the body during stressful times. They support adrenal gland function and nervous system activity, and are essential for energy production at a cellular level. They are rapidly depleted during stressful times, which can leave us feeling washed out very quickly.