This grain, common in the Western diet, has become fashionable in recent years for its bran’s ability to control cholestrol levels in the blood. It is the inositol in oat bran, a B-complex vitamin, which helps to increase the blood’s ratio of high density lipoproteins to the cholestrol-rich low density lipoproteins. While the miraculous properties of oat bran may have been exaggerated, a deficiency of inositol can certainly lead to a significant increase in blood cholestrol levels.
As a source of fibre, oat bran is considered superior to wheat bran as it will not scour the bowel. In cases of severe bowel irritation however, laxatives such as psyllium should be used instead.
Oats in their wholegrain and rolled forms are an excellent source of protein, Vitamin B1, calcium, iron and silicon. The aforementioned inositol also aids the body’s absorption of zinc. A tea made of oat straw is sometimes recommended for chest and skin complaints. The skin toning properties of oats are widely recognised and oatmeal is an ingredient in many natural facial scrubs and face packs.
Tags: General health
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