Ample evidence has been published that demonstrates that a diet abundant in whole grains associates with a reduced risk of chronic disease, including cardiovascular disease. Most of the benefits have been attributed to the relatively high fiber, vitamin, mineral and phytochemical content of whole grains. Notably, the soluble fiber beta-glucan found in oats has been recognized for its ability to lower both total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C).
Unique compound found in oats – avenanthramides – may play an important role in protecting the heart. Oliver Chen, from Tufts University (Massachusetts, USA), reports that avenanthramides exert antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that likely contribute to the atheroprotection of oats. Further, Mohsen Meydani, from Tufts University (Massachusetts, USA), revealed that oat avenanthramides suppress the production of inflammatory cytokines associated with fatty streak formation in the arteries. In addition, oat avenanthramides appear to repress the process associated with the development of atherosclerosis.