Many people start off their day with a hot bowl of cooked oatmeal. High in fiber and bursting with a wide range of nutrients, oats help to improve your health and provide you with long lasting energy that helps you stay active and carry out your day to day activities efficiently. What is oat bran? Oat bran is a part of the oat grain that is obtained after cleaning and removing its outer husk. After the shelling process, you are left with the groat and the oat bran constitutes the outer layer of this groat. Although the bran was once used as a livestock feed, its benefits to human health was later discovered and has since been used as a healthy food by many people.
Oat bran nutrition
Oat bran is a low cholesterol and low fat food that offers significant amounts of protein, fiber and other essential nutrients. It is an excellent source of vitamins like vitamin E, vitamin K and B group vitamins like thaimin, riboflavin, niacin and folate. It contains negligible amounts of sodium and is rich in various other minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, manganese, copper, zinc and selenium. With a great combination of low calories, low fat, high protein and high fiber content along with a wide range of vitamins and minerals, oat bran becomes a highly nutritional and healthy food option. Oat bran calories offered are around 40 per 100 gram when cooked.
Is oat bran gluten free? While gluten free oat bran is available in market, oats contain gluten. Gluten free oat bran is sold as specialized process oat bran.
How is Oat bran important for you?
Because of its high fiber content and abundance of essential nutrients, oat bran can benefit your health in many ways. Read on to understand the various oat bran health benefits and how it helps you lead a healthy life.
Oat bran lowers cholesterol
When compared to oatmeal, oat bran has been found to have 50 percent more dietary fiber, which makes it much healthier. Oat bran is rich in soluble fiber, which is very helpful in reducing the levels of the low-density lipoprotein (LDL), also known as the bad cholesterol. It lowers cholesterol by reducing the absorption of cholesterol into the bloodstream.
Oat bran for preventing cardiovascular diseases
Another important benefit of oat bran is that it helps in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases. According to a study, oat bran helps in reducing the low-density lipoprotein as well as total cholesterol levels in individuals with a high risk for coronary heart disease. High cholesterol levels can lead to the buildup of plaque in your arteries, which in turn can cause heart diseases, heart attack or stroke. Oat bran, with its high nutrient content has been found to be beneficial in lowering the risks of developing such conditions.
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Oat bran weight loss
The high amount of soluble fiber in oat bran makes it an ideal food to be included in any weight loss diet. Once it enters the digestive tract, the soluble fiber in it absorbs water in the tract and creates a gel-like substance (bolus), which gives you the feeling of fullness. This feeling of fullness makes you feel less hungry and prevents you from overeating, thus helping you lose weight. The fiber in oat bran also helps in controlling your appetite by delaying digestion and the absorption of food. Oat bran diet plan include adding fiber rich oat bran cereal and oat bran flour in your diet.
Oat bran stabilizes blood sugar levels
Oatmeal is well known as a good diabetic food. Oat bran is of no exception either. As mentioned earlier, once in the digestive tract, oat bran forms a gel-like substance by the oat absorbing water, which passes through the bile, gastric acid, and then the pancreatic juices. After the process, the bolus is converted into a pulp like form, which then turns into a mix of amino acids, fatty acids, elementary chains, and glucose. This helps in inhibiting the process of sugar assimilation and the absorption of dietary fat, which in turn aids in the removal of calories from the body and the regulation of blood sugar levels. According to a study reported in the “Journal of the American Dietetic Association”, oat bran is helpful in preventing high spikes in the blood sugar levels post a meal by slowing down the process of carbohydrate digestion and lowering the rate at which sugar enters the bloodstream. Oat bran also controls the blood sugar levels by increasing insulin sensitivity.
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Oat bran improves digestive health
Eating fiber rich foods like oat bran helps in improving digestion and in keeping your digestive system healthy. Fiber adds bulk to your stool, keeping it soft and aiding in its easier removal from the body. Studies reveal that the daily intake of oat bran can significantly improve the frequency and consistency of bowel, thus preventing digestive disorders like constipation. The fiber in oat bran increases the number of good bacteria in the large intestine, thus acting as a pre-biotic.
Oat bran enhances the immune system
Beta glucan is a type of soluble fiber found in high amounts in oat bran, which has been found to have positive effects on the immune system. Studies conducted on animals reveal that beta glucan may help your body to fight off infections and diseases more effectively by stimulating the immune system. Beta glucan functions as immunomodulator agents. This means that they make the functioning of the immune system more efficient by activating a series of events that help in regulating the immune system. Beta glucans stimulates lymphocytes, the white blood cells that bind to viruses and destroys them by releasing certain chemicals. It also stimulates the activity of macrophages, which are immune cells that destroy the disease causing pathogens. Macrophages release chemicals known as cytokines that enable communication among the various immune cells. Beta glucan also encourages the other immune cells to attack these pathogens.
Oat bran can help prevent cancer
A healthy and well balanced diet goes a long way in fighting off or preventing cancer. Oat bran contains various phytochemicals that have antioxidant properties. Many of these phytochemicals are found to lower an individual’s risk of developing cancer. The insoluble fibers present in oat bran are found to be helpful in reducing cancer causing agents or carcinogens in the gastrointestinal tract. Oat bran contains lignans, which are phytoestrogen compounds that have the ability to lower the chances of hormone related conditions like breast cancer. Studies show that women who eat foods rich in dietary fiber have lower levels of estrogen, a factor that is linked with a lower risk of breast cancer. Oat bran may also help in reducing the risks of various other types of cancers like endometrial, prostate and ovarian cancers.
Oat bran lowers blood pressure
High blood pressure is a common condition affecting millions of people around the world. It is often referred to as a silent killer as it shows no symptoms but can cause severe problems with the blood vessels and heart, which further leads to many other life threatening complications. While oatmeal is considered to be a great food choice for people with high pressure, oat bran can provide more benefits as it has higher amounts of fiber, which helps in keeping the blood pressure under control.
Oat bran improves athletic performance
Oat bran is a good source of carbohydrates that can provide the necessary calories for your energy requirements. Studies reveal that oat bran is capable of altering the metabolism and improving the athletic performance when eaten 45 minutes to 1 hour prior to doing moderate intensity workouts.
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Oat bran scrub is good for the skin
Oat bran has regenerative properties and is very effective as a facial scrub. It mildly exfoliates the skin and can be used on all types of skin, even on the most delicate and sensitive skins. Applying the scrub helps in eliminating dead skin cells and in removing excess impurities and oils from the skin. It also improves the texture and clarity of the skin, leaving it soft, smooth and refreshed. For making this amazing scrub, combine together oat bran with argan oil. Apply this mixture on your face and gently massage it in small circular movements. Do this procedure for a minute or two and then rinse off the scrub with warm water. Pat dry with a towel and then apply a moisturizer of your choice.
Oat bran is gluten free
It is often difficult for people with gluten intolerance to find ways to get the nutrients provided by grains. Oat bran can be of great help in this case because it is gluten free and abundant in nutrient wealth. Eating oat bran is therefore a great option for people suffering from celiac disease.
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Oat bran boosts thyroid and brain health
Phenylalanine is an essential amino acid found in plenty in oat bran. This amino acid plays a vital role in maintaining the proper functioning of the thyroid gland as well the brain. Deficiency of Phenylalanine can lead to lack of energy, confusion and anorexia. The regular consumption of oat bran can provide adequate amounts of this amino acid and help in lowering the risks of the conditions caused by its deficiency. Moreover, the selenium in oat bran produces selenoproteins by combining with proteins, which help in fighting off the free radicals and thereby protecting your brain, thyroid and other organs from oxidative stress.
Oat bran recipes
Well having read about so much Oat bran benefits, a natural question which arises is how to cook oat bran and how to eat oat bran? Well here is list of some great oat bran recipe. Oat bran muffins are very common. Here is one healthy oat bran muffins recipe with 100% Whole Grains, No Refined Sugar, and No Cereal from Susan. This is another yummy oat bran muffin recipe from Sara O’Donnell. You may also try out Oat bran pancakes, here is one recipe from Holly. Coconut chocolate chip oat bran cookies by Erin are tempting and very simple to make. Oat bran biscuits with honey flavor taste great. One of the simple oat bran bread recipe is here.
While oat bran is used to substitute wheat bran flour, you can very well used wheat bran as oat bran substitute.
Where to buy oat bran? Oat bran products are available in common department stores these day. You may look to substitute other flour in recipes by oat bran flour. Look out for Organic oat bran if you are conscious about other harmful effect of fertilizers.
Oat bran cereal has nowadays been recognized as one of the healthy foods that provides us with immense nutrition. Ideal for being eaten as a breakfast food, oat bran is also used for making cookies, pancakes, muffins, pizza crust, and other dishes. Oat bran cereals, Oat bran porridge and oat bran flakes area becoming popular with modern busy working class. Regular consumption of oat bran will not only improve your fiber intake but also adds to your overall nutrition and health. If you are worried about heart disease, weight gain, high cholesterol, or other chronic diseases, consider incorporating oat bran to your regular diet.