Nutrition: Bring on the oats; bring down bad cholesterol

Since the days we were told to "eat your porridge," we all know that oats are good for us’no surprise


Since the days we were told to "eat your porridge," we all know that oats are good for us’no surprise there. But recently published Canadian research shows that eating oats regularly, along with other foods that have been found to help lower cholesterol levels, can actually reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol more than a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol itself. (Oats contain viscous fibre that absorbs and retains water, forming a gel-like substance that helps to slow digestion.)

The study’carried out by Dr. David Jenkins of St. Michael’s Hospital and the University of Toronto along with researchers in Quebec City, Winnipeg and Vancouver, and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association‘followed 351 participants with mild to moderately high LDL cholesterol levels. For six months, participants ate either a control diet low in saturated fat but including whole grains, vegetables and fruit, or a diet rich in cholesterol-lowering foods. Along with oats and other foods with viscous fibre, including psyllium and barley, these foods include soy, plant sterols and nuts.

The researchers found that LDL cholesterol in participants on the low-in-saturated fat diet dropped by just three percent, while those who ate lots of cholesterol-lowering foods had an impressive 13 percent reduction.

Looking for ways to add some of these cholesterol-lowering foods to your diet? Try our recipes for Oat Bran and Almond Bread and Cherry Walnut Oatmeal Crumble (use some cherries for colour and replace the rest with now-perfect peaches). Or whip up a Wild Blueberry Soy Shake.

What’s your favourite way of adding oats to your diet?

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