High cholesterol is commoner these days since many people are consuming large amounts of junk foods and processed foods. This condition of hypercholesterolemia could have terrible consequences on blood vessels, heart and other vital organs of the body. But one single food, oats have the power to decrease this considerably in a matter of few weeks.
Hypercholesterolemia and effect on body
Hypercholesterolemia is a condition of high blood cholesterol levels. In this, the unhealthy fat in the body as measured in the blood is more than normal. This can get deposited in the arteries, veins and heart. It forms plaques there in the blood vessels of the body including those supplying blood to the heart. The arterial size gets smaller due to the obstruction and this compromises the supply of blood to these organs. Due to the irregularities of the blood vessels walls, blood clots form.
And due to all this, ischaemic heart diseases, heart attacks and stroke happen. There can be decreased blood supply to the lower limbs leading to cramps and difficulty in walking. Similarly, blood supply to other organs such as the kidneys is lowered and causes functional issues.
Oats and their valuable role
Oat is a popular breakfast option in the western world. It is gaining popularity in the urban centers of the world. It is simple and easy to make. This food requires not many ingredients. It is a convenient breakfast option that is healthy. It contains a lot of nutrients and one can vary it with different toppings such as fresh fruits, nuts, frozen fruits, seeds, and dried fruits. For sweetening the dish, one can opt for honey or maple syrup that are healthier than refined sugar.
And studies have shown that oats play a pivotal role in regulating bowel movements and preventing constipation. They also can cause significant reduction in the blood cholesterol and hence protect the heart and brain from damage.
Fiber-soluble and insoluble
Oats are full of fiber; both soluble and insoluble. These help to keep the gut healthy and boost immunity. The soluble fiber in oats is beta-glucan. This is useful in the reduction of the bad cholesterol of bad low density lipoprotein (LDL) in the blood. This helps prevent chronic diseases.
According to Heart UK, the fiber of oats form a gel in the gut. And this holds the cholesterol-rich bile acids in the intestines preventing their absorption. This implies that the liver now has to withdraw the cholesterol from the blood to synthesize bile acids. Hence the blood cholesterol levels fall to a healthy level. This same fiber also gives one a sense of fullness and satiety. Due to this, less calories are eaten and weight loss happens.
In just 4 weeks, oats can cause nearly 30% reduction in blood cholesterol levels. If one takes 3 grams of beta glucan daily for 8 weeks, the LDL cholesterol reduces by 15%. And total cholesterol comes down by 9%. 5 to 10 grams of soluble fiber daily are ideal for normalizing blood cholesterol levels, say experts in this subject.