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Oats reduce low-density lipoprotein (also called LDL or bad cholesterol) levels, boosting heart health. LDL cholesterol sticks to blood vessel walls and can cause blockages or clots. Oats are shown to reduce the total bad cholesterol levels without affecting the healthy HDL cholesterol levels.


Oats are an excellent source of soluble fibre. They are also a source of calcium, iron, manganese, folacin, vitamin E, thiamine, niacin, riboflavin, and other B vitamins.


Oats can be added to many dishes including meat loaf, burgers, and fish cakes, and can be used to thicken soups and sauces or as a topping for fruit crisps. They have beneficial effects on cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar, satiety and gastrointestinal health.


On a weight for weight basis, oats contain a higher concentration of protein, fat, calcium, iron, manganese, thiamine, folacin and vitamin E than other unfortified whole grains. Oats also contain polyphenols and saponins, powerful antioxidants with disease fighting properties.


Oat bran is high in beta-glucan, a soluble fibre that can help lower blood cholesterol levels, thus possibly reducing the risk of heart attacks. To reduce the risk of heart attacks by 10 per cent, a person needs to eat 3 g of beta-glucan a day. This amount of beta-glucan is found in one cup of cooked oat bran, one and a half cups of cooked oatmeal or three pouches of instant oatmeal.


Oats contain a unique blend of antioxidants, including the avenanthramides that prevent LDL cholesterol from being converted to the oxidised form that damages arteries.


Oats have a high satiety value, meaning they take a long time to digest and therefore keep you feeling full for a longer time. It is thought that both the protein and fibre in oats contribute to this effect.


Oats also have been shown to reduce both blood sugar and insulin levels, an important asset in controlling diabetes.


Oats and other whole-grain oat products such as oat bran and oat flakes are a tasty, convenient, versatile, and economical sources of nutrients and phytochemicals. Commonly used as a breakfast cereal and used in baking, oats can be added to many dishes.


There are many varieties of oats:

Oat groats: Also called whole-oat groats, or whole oats, these are minimally processed. Only the outer hull is removed They are very nutritious but they are chewy and must be soaked well before cooking for long time. They can be used as a substitute for barley or rice.


Rolled oats: Also called oatmeal, rolled oatmeal or old-fashioned oats, these are oat groats that are steamed, rolled, and flaked so they cook quickly.


Instant oatmeal: This consists of very thin, pre-cooked oat flakes that need only to be mixed with a hot liquid. They often have flavourings and salt added.


Steel-cut oats: Also called Irish oats, Irish oatmeal, Scotch oats, or Scotch oatmeal, these are groats that have been chopped into small pieces but not rolled into flakes. They are chewier than rolled oats and are often used for hot oatmeal cereals and muesli.