Bad cholesterol

Hypercholesterolemia is bad for heart and brain. It can lead to heart attack and stroke. How to lower the bad cholesterol in the blood and prevent premature death? Wheat bran is the answer, say various studies.

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Bad cholesterol and death

Blood cholesterol is a marker of health especially in the elderly population. The levels of it in the blood should be within normal limits. The bad cholesterol should be low and the good cholesterol need be higher.

Bad cholesterol
Wheat bran (Source: Wild organics)

Clinical studies have revealed that when the bad LDL cholesterol in the blood rises, it causes lipid deposition and plaques in the arteries. These clog the arteries and make them lose their elasticity. There is higher chances of thrombus formation in these narrowed areas of the blood vessels. These clog the arteries of the heart (coronary arteries) and brain (cerebral arteries) and cause heart attack and stroke respectively.

Wheat bran and hypercholesterolemia

Wheat bran is the outermost layer of wheat grain. It is rich in fiber. Usually when wheat grains are milled and polished, this layer diminishes. Earlier studies have shown that intake of wheat bran daily for 3 weeks led to a remarkable reduction in the bad LDL fats of blood. This study was in 2008 in the British Journal of Nutrition.

But later further studies in 2014 from China confirmed these findings. Chinese researchers showed that certain useful chemicals within wheat bran when given to hamsters produced similar reducing effects on their blood cholesterol levels. The researchers argued that the substance promoted the excretion of faecal lipids [fats] and inhibited certain enzymes that produced cholesterol.

Bad cholesterol
Wheat bran reduces bad cholesterol (Source: Daily Express)

Moreover, wheat bran contains beta glucan, a soluble fiber. And this fiber has a major role in lowering blood LDL cholesterol. A meta analysis of several studies on role of beta glucan in hypercholesterolemia revealed that it can lower blood the bad cholesterol by as much as 5 to 10%. And as low of 3 grams of foods containing this substance can produce the positive result.

Other uses of beta glucan

Beta glucan can also lower blood pressure readings and reduce cancer risk. Doctor Jamie Brosch of the healthcare provider Goodbody Clinic has this recommendation for his patients:

Having a 30g bowl of porridge each day will give you enough beta-glucan.”

Bad cholesterol
Health benefits of wheat bran (Source: Wellcurve)

Moreover, Mayo Clinic states that this soluble fiber can decrease the absorption of cholesterol into the blood stream. This fiber in soluble form is also present in Brussels sprouts, kidney beans, oatmeal, pears and apples. These are also healthy options in food to fight the bad cholesterol of blood.

Read more: High blood cholesterol: how to reduce it in young people?

Wheat bran can prevent cancer. But research in this direction is limited. But overall wheat bran has a positive impact on health, fitness, and general well being of a person. It can reduce the weight and improve gut health. Therefore, inclusion of wheat bran or foods containing high dietary fiber or beta glucan can contribute to reduction in LDL cholesterol and prevent the no.1 killers: heart attack and stroke.