Oat bran is the outer layer of the oat grain and a great source of dietary fiber. The soluble fiber in oat bran can help lower cholesterol levels, while its insoluble fiber can promote regularity. Oat bran is also a good source of B vitamins, minerals, and protein. Let’s take a look at oat bran nutrition and health benefits.
Oat Bran Nutrition
One cup (approximately 219 grams) of cooked oat bran offers about:
- Calories: 88
- Carbohydrates: 25 grams
- Fat: 2 grams
- Protein: 7 grams
- Fiber: 5.7 grams
- Manganese: 2 milligrams, or 106 percent of the daily requirement
- Phosphorus: 261 milligrams, or 26 percent of the daily requirement
- Selenium: 16.9 micrograms, or 24 percent of the daily requirement
- Thiamin: 0.4 milligrams, or 23 percent of the daily requirement
- Magnesium: 87.6 milligrams, or 22 percent of the daily requirement
- Iron: 1.9 milligrams, or 11 percent of the daily requirement
- Zinc: 1.2 milligrams, or 8 percent of the daily requirement
- Copper: 0.1 milligrams, or 7 percent of the daily requirement
- Potassium: 201 milligrams, or 6 percent of the daily requirement
- Pantothenic acid: 0.5 milligrams, or 5 percent of the daily requirement
- Riboflavin: 0.1 milligrams, or 4 percent of the daily requirement
Health benefits of oat bran
1. Improved digestion
There are many benefits to incorporating oat bran into your diet, but one of the most notable is its ability to promote better digestion.
Oat bran is high in fiber, which helps to keep things moving along smoothly in the digestive tract. It also helps to bulk up stools and make them easier to pass, preventing constipation and other digestive issues.
Oat bran is also an excellent prebiotic food, meaning it provides fuel for the beneficial bacteria in your gut. These bacteria are important for maintaining a healthy balance in the gut and keeping harmful microbes in check. By promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria, oat bran can help improve overall gut health.
In one study, older adults on laxatives in a nursing home were supplemented with oat bran for 12 weeks in addition to their regular diet. At the end of the study, 59 percent of the participants had successfully discontinued their laxative use.
If you’re struggling with digestive issues, adding oat bran to your diet could be a simple and effective way to improve your symptoms.
Start by including a small amount in your breakfast or lunch, such as mixing it into yogurt or spreading it on toast. You can also find oat bran cereals and other products at most grocery stores.
2. May lower cholesterol levels
Oat bran has been shown to lower cholesterol levels in a number of studies.
One study found that consuming 102 grams of oat bran daily for two weeks reduced total cholesterol by 14 percent compared to the placebo group.
Another study showed that oat bran lowered LDL (bad) cholesterol by 7% and total cholesterol by 5%. Other studies have shown similar results. The varying results may be due to the difference in the amount of oat bran consumed. So the more you take, the lower your cholesterol levels.
Oat bran is high in soluble fiber, which has been shown to reduce cholesterol levels. Soluble fiber binds to bile acids, which are then excreted from the body, resulting in less cholesterol being reabsorbed into the bloodstream.
Oat bran is also high in a specific type of soluble fiber called beta-glucan. This has been shown to further reduce cholesterol by inhibiting the absorption of cholesterol from the gut. It also stimulates the release of bile acids from the gallbladder, which helps to further reduce cholesterol levels.
In addition to lowering cholesterol, beta-glucan Beta-glucan has been shown to activate macrophages and neutrophils, two types of white blood cells that play a key role in immunity.
Beta-glucan also promotes the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut and helps to repair the gut lining.
3. It’s a good plant-based source of protein
Protein is a macronutrient that is essential to the human body. It is made up of amino acids, which are the building blocks of muscle tissue. Protein is necessary for the growth and repair of all tissues, including muscle, bone, skin, and hair. It is also required for the production of enzymes and hormones.
Oat bran is a good plant-based protein source for those looking for an alternative to animal protein sources.
4. Supports heart health
Oat bran is a good source of magnesium, an important mineral for heart health. Magnesium helps to relax blood vessels and reduce inflammation.
Also, oat bran is rich in soluble fiber, which helps reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or “bad” cholesterol levels. LDL cholesterol contributes to the buildup of plaque in your arteries, which can lead to cardiovascular disease. Oat bran also helps lower triglyceride levels. Triglycerides are a type of fat found in your blood. High triglyceride levels can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease.
Furthermore, oat bran contains antioxidants that help protect the heart from damage.
All of these factors together make oat bran a great choice for those looking to improve their cardiovascular health. So if you’re looking to lower your cholesterol levels, improve your blood flow, and protect your heart, be sure to add some oat bran to your diet!
5. Regulates blood sugar
Oat bran is a rich source of dietary fiber, including soluble and insoluble fibers. Soluble fiber forms a gel-like substance in the gut that slows down digestion and the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream.
This can help regulate blood sugar levels and prevent spikes after meals. Additionally, oat bran is a good source of beta-glucan, a type of soluble fiber that has been shown to specifically increase insulin sensitivity.
In one pilot study, researchers found that with each gram of oat beta-glucan, glucose levels dropped by 4.35 percent.
Another study found that consuming 3 grams of beta-glucan every day for 12 weeks significantly reduced blood sugar levels by 46 percent.
6. Promotes weight loss
If you’re looking to lose weight, oat bran may be one of your best allies. This whole grain is packed with fiber and protein, both of which have been shown to promote weight loss.
Fiber is essential for weight loss because it helps keep you feeling full after eating. That means you’re less likely to snack or overeat later in the day. Oat bran is especially high in soluble fiber, which has been shown to improve satiety.
Protein is another key nutrient for weight loss. It takes longer to digest than carbohydrates, so it helps you stay fuller for longer. Plus, protein has a higher thermic effect than other nutrients, meaning your body burns more calories digesting it. Oat bran is a great source of both soluble and insoluble fiber, making it an ideal choice for those looking to slim down.
7. High in antioxidants
Oat bran is an excellent source of antioxidants, which are compounds that help protect the body against damage from harmful substances called free radicals. Free radicals are generated by factors such as pollution, cigarette smoke, and ultraviolet light. They can cause cell damage that leads to cancer, heart disease, and other conditions. Antioxidants help neutralize free radicals and prevent or repair cell damage.
Oat bran is a good source of several different antioxidants, including Avenanthramides, beta-glucans, and phenolic acids. Avenanthramides are unique to oats and have been shown to have anti-inflammatory and
antiproliferative properties, which makes them effective in fighting cancer cells.
Beta-glucans are soluble fibers that can reduce cholesterol levels and improve blood sugar control. Phenolic acids are also found in other plants and have also been shown to have anticancer effects.
The antioxidant content of oat bran can vary depending on the variety of oats used and how they are processed. For example, steel-cut oats contain more antioxidants than rolled oats.
8. It may lower the risk of colorectal cancer
Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in the world. It is a type of cancer that starts in the colon or rectum. The colon is the large intestine, and the rectum is the last part of the intestine.
Most colorectal cancers start as small, noncancerous (benign) polyps on the inner lining of the colon or rectum. Over time, some of these polyps can become cancerous.
Oat bran is a good source of fiber, and it has been shown to help protect against colorectal cancer.
In one study, people who ate the most oat bran had a 40% lower risk of colorectal cancer than those who ate the least.
In another study, rats that were given oat bran had significantly smaller tumors at the end of the experiment than those that didn’t consume the grain.
The researchers believe that the oats’ high fiber content helps to bulk up stool and speed up its passage through the digestive system, which reduces exposure to potential carcinogens.
Also, its soluble fiber has the ability to bind to cancer-promoting substances in the gut.
9. It may relieve inflammatory bowel disease
Some evidence suggests that oat bran may help relieve symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Good example of such conditions is ulcerative colitis and chron’s disease.
IBD is a condition that causes inflammation of the digestive tract, which can lead to abdominal pain, bloating, and diarrhea.
Oat bran is high in dietary fiber, which is broken down by healthy gut bacteria can into short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), like butyrate. SCFAs reduce inflammation and provides nourishment to colon cells.
One study found that patients with IBD who consumed oat bran daily for eight weeks had a reduction in inflammation and a decrease in symptoms. Additionally, another study found that oat bran was able to reduce the number of flare-ups in patients with IBD.
Further research published in the journal of Clinical Nutrition found that patients with Crohn’s disease who ate oat bran had less inflammation and fewer symptoms than those who didn’t eat oat bran.
Another study published in the same journal found that rats with colitis who were fed oat bran had less inflammation and damage to their colon than those that did not feed on oat bran.
While more research is needed to confirm the efficacy of oat bran for IBD, it may be worth trying for those who are looking for relief from their symptoms. Oat bran is a high-fiber food that is generally well-tolerated, so it is unlikely to cause any adverse effects.
10. Promotes healthy skin
Oat bran is a good source of vitamins and minerals, including zinc and selenium. Both of these nutrients are important for healthy skin.
Zinc is essential for the proper function of the immune system. It also helps to keep the skin healthy by promoting cell growth and wound healing. Selenium is an antioxidant that helps protect the skin from damage caused by ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun.
Additionally, oat bran is rich in fiber and essential fatty acids, both of which are important for maintaining healthy skin. Fiber helps to keep the skin hydrated and eliminates toxins that can cause breakouts. Essential fatty acids help to maintain the skin’s natural barrier, keeping it soft and supple.
How to add oat bran to the diet
Oat bran is a nutritious whole grain that can be used in various ways. Here are some ideas for how to use oat bran:
- Add it to smoothies or yogurt for a boost of fiber and nutrients.
- Use it as a healthy alternative to bread crumbs in recipes.
- Make savory oatmeal by adding oat bran to cooked oats with salt, pepper, and other seasonings.
- Create a healthy breakfast bowl by mixing oat bran with fruit, nuts, and milk or yogurt.
- Add oat bran to muffin, pancake, and cookie recipes for extra flavor and nutrition.
- Add oat bran to hot or cold cereals.
- Mix oat bran into pancake or waffle batter.
- Stir oat bran into soups or stews.
Side effects of eating too much oat bran
Oat bran is generally safe to consume; however, eating too much oat bran can cause some abdominal discomfort like gas, bloating, and diarrhea. You may also find that your stool is softer than usual.
Oat bran is an excellent source of nutrition and has a variety of health benefits. It is high in fiber and protein, and low in calories and fat. Oat bran also contains essential vitamins and minerals, including iron, calcium, magnesium, and potassium. If you’re looking for a nutritious way to add more fiber to your diet, oat bran is a great option.
If you’re not sure how to incorporate oat bran into your diet, start by adding it to your morning cereal or oatmeal. You can also use it in baking recipes or as a breading for chicken or fish. Give oat bran a try today and see how it can help you reach your nutrition goals.
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