Elizabeth S. Reames | 4/19/2005 10:28:36 PM
When cells build up in an artery, a clot may form and cause a heart attack or stroke. Eating oats can help prevent the clot, says LSU AgCenter nutritionist Dr. Beth Reames.
According to a study reported in the June issue of Agricultural Research, compounds in oats, called Avenanthramides, help prevent cells from sticking to artery walls.
Avenanthramides may prevent the narrowing of the passageways caused by atherosclerosis, which is the process of fatty substances, cholesterol, cellular waste products, calcium and fibrin (a clotting material in the blood) building up in the inner lining of an artery.
The buildup that results is called plaque. Reames says the plaque may partially or totally block the blood's flow through an artery.
Researchers purified avenanthramides from oats and exposed them to human arterial wall cells for 24 hours. Results showed that the ability of blood cells to stick to arterial wall cells was significantly reduced.
Soluble fiber from oats is believed to help reduce the amount of LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) circulating in blood.
"Oats are an excellent source of soluble fiber," Reames says, explaining, "As soluble fiber moves through the gut, it collects water and forms a gel. This interferes with the absorption or metabolism of cholesterol, thus helping to lower blood cholesterol levels."
Since too much cholesterol in the blood is associated with increased risk of heart attacks, anything that lowers cholesterol is thought to reduce the risk of heart disease.
The LSU AgCenter nutritionist says that oatmeal is the first whole food for which the Food and Drug Administration allowed a health claim on the label. The claim states: "Diets low in saturated fat and cholesterol that include soluble fiber from oatmeal may reduce the risk of heart disease." A similar claim is allowed for foods containing significant amounts of oat bran or whole oat flour.
As a grain, oats are included in enriched cereals and breads, in oatmeal as rolled oats and in muffins and other baked goods as oat bran.
Read more about this research study at www.ars.usda.gov/is/AR/archive/jun04/oats0604.htm.
The study was funded by the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), the U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief scientific research agency and conducted by Mohsen Meydani and colleagues at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (HNRCA) at Tufts University in Boston, Mass. Meydani is director of the HNRCA's Vascular Biology Laboratory.
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On the Internet: LSU AgCenter: http://www.lsuagcenter.com/Inst
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Source: Beth Reames (225) 578-3329, or firstname.lastname@example.org