At a recent scientific session at the 247th Annual Conference of the American Chemical Society in Dallas, eleven top scientists from around the world spoke of the new bioactive compounds they had identified in oats and emphasized their many benefits for heart health.
According to them, there is growing evidence that a class of phenolic compounds - known as avenanthramides or AVEs, found only in oats - possess antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-itch and anti-cancer properties. Overall, their research strongly suggests that AVEs in oats play an important role in protecting against heart and cardiovascular disease.
Eating whole grains is already known to be associated with a reduced risk of chronic disease. So far, these health benefits were believed to be because of the relatively high levels of fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidant phytochemicals found in whole grains.
For example, the soluble fiber beta-glucan is well known for its ability to lower both total cholesterol as well as the so-called ‘bad’ or low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C).
These new studies now show that the heart health benefits of eating oats go beyond fiber and beta-glucan - and that AVEs, the new kids on the block, also provide additional heart-protective benefits.
According to new research data, the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of oat AVEs are partly responsible for the positive association between oats and heart health by protecting the fragile inner walls of blood vessels.
Oat AVEs have also been shown to block production of inflammatory cytokines believed to be responsible for forming harmful fatty streak formation in arteries. AVEs also suppress atherosclerosis, the first critical step in development of heart disease.
Overall, these latest research findings revealed the influence of the processing of oats on the glycemic response, the functionality of oat beta-glucan in maintaining overall and heart health, the antioxidant potential of oat beta-glucan, the benefits of eating whole grains on chronic disease and how oats help to improve blood glucose control and lipid metabolism.
In short, this high-level scientific session revealed the far-reaching health benefits provided by regular consumption of this simple grain.
As the old adage goes, prevention is better than cure. Given the many health benefits of whole grains and especially oats - isn’t it time you added them to your diet today?