While it has been known for many years that oatmeal can help reduce cholesterol, which can clog up arteries, new research has discovered additional benefits: Some of the fiber in oats is called beta-glucan which reduces LDL cholesterol, non-HDC cholesterol, and apoB which carries cholesterol through the blood. This means that oatmeal is particularly good at improving cholesterol measures because it improves three different factors.
Fibre is, of course, good for digestion as well and oats offer more soluble than other grains, which is an extra benefit. Beta-glucan, being a soluble fiber, actually slows down digestion in the intestines. This helps to keep blood-sugar levels more stable as the body doesn’t absorb sugar so quickly – which can also benefit diabetes sufferers. It also appears to help stimulate the immune system, though this has not been clinically proven as yet.
There is a particularly powerful anti-oxidant found almost exclusively in oats, called avenanthramides. Avenanthramides are thought to lower blood pressure levels by increasing the production of nitric oxide in the blood. This gas molecule helps dilate blood vessels and leads to better blood flow. In addition, oats contain a particularly powerful anti-oxidant called ferulic acid which is not only more powerful than vitamin E and C, but it enhances the abilities of the other-anti-oxidants.
Instant oats are less nutritious because they have been processed more. Rolled, crushed or steel-cut oat is preferred. Proper oatmeal is a gluten-free whole grain and a great source of important vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. Half a cup of oats will contain a balanced selection of nutrients as well as 51 grams of carbs, 13 grams of protein, 5 grams of fat and 8 grams of fiber, but only 300 calories. This means that oats are among the most nutrient-dense foods you can eat.