Tuesday, August 15, 2017 by Frances Bloomfield
Oat bran is the outer covering of oat grain that consists of the combined pericarp and aleurone. This byproduct of refined grain milling was once used as feed for livestock, but has since been recognized as a food important to good nutrition.
Oat bran is notable for being very low in sodium, fat, and cholesterol, yet rich in other beneficial nutrients. These include:
The impressive fiber and protein content is largely why oat bran is considered to be a food important to overall health. One cup of oat bran is enough to provide 58 percent of the recommended daily intake of fiber and 33 percent of the recommended daily intake of protein. The fiber content is noteworthy due to it consisting of total fiber and the soluble fiber beta-glucan, a type of soluble dietary fiber linked to improved heart health.
Oat bran is loaded with manganese, phosphorus, selenium, and magnesium, so much so that a single-cup serving is more than enough to meet half of the recommended daily intake of each of these vital minerals.
The wealth of health-promoting vitamins and minerals ensures that oat bran can prevent the risk or mitigate the symptoms of:
Oat bran can balance out cholesterol levels thanks to its soluble fiber content. This type of fiber accomplishes this in two ways: firstly by reducing the amount of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or bad cholesterol in the body, and secondly, by slowing down the absorption of cholesterol. In fact, it’s been estimated that consuming at least three grams of beta-glucan can lower cholesterol levels by as much as 10 percent.
Daily consumption of oat bran can lead to regular bowel movement by keeping stool soft and bulking it up. This results in reduced incidents of constipation.
Oat bran can support the function of many of the body’s organs and systems, including:
As a result of normal cholesterol levels, less strain is put upon the heart. High cholesterol can cause plaque to build up in the arteries, enhancing the risk of heart-related diseases such as stroke and heart attack.
In addition to decreasing susceptibility to constipation, one other way oat bran aids the digestive system is by promoting the growth of good gut bacteria in the large intestine. The presence of good gut bacteria ensures that the digestive system remains in good health.
Beta-glucan is said to stimulate immune system activity and encourage the cells associated with this system to attack harmful pathogens, making oat bran an excellent food choice for maintaining a strong immune system.
Oat bran is a versatile ingredient that can be prepared and eaten in numerous ways. One of the most popular ways to consume oat bran is as oat bran muffins. Oat bran mixed into yogurt, pancakes, and cereal are other common options.
To add more flavor, simply mix in vanilla extract, cocoa powder, cinnamon, or canned pumpkin. Oat bran goes well with apples, bananas, walnuts, apples, cranberries, and dried apricots too.
For those suffering from celiac disease or other forms of gluten intolerance, gluten-free oat bran can be bought in natural food stores.
Oat bran is a healthy and versatile food that is good for the heart, digestive, and immune systems. Frequent consumption of oat bran can lead to lowered risk of heart disease and constipation as well.
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