This year will mark the 15th anniversary of the Food and Drug Administration's approval of the oat bran food label claim, a landmark in the history of food label health claims. Since March of 1997, cereals, breads and other products containing at least 0.75 g of soluble fiber from oat bran per serving may claim to help reduce the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD). An entire generation has grown up with CHD messages on the front of their Cheerios boxes.
The oat story goes deeper than the bran it contains Oats offer other health benefits, including weight management and blood sugar control.
Diets high in soluble fiber help to reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol, and therefore the risk of heart disease. Soluble fiber in that morning bowl of oatmeal acts like a sponge in the digestive tract, binding cholesterol and removing it from the body before it has a chance to be absorbed.
Fiber-rich foods help to fill you up, not out. Fiber moves through the digestive tract more slowly than refined carbohydrates, and absorbs water as it goes. Eating a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast provides a sense of fullness that helps to prevent mindless munching later in the day.
Blood sugar control
Fiber slows the digestion of other carbohydrates consumed with it. For example, the carbohydrates in a bowl of oatmeal must wrestle themselves away from fiber in order to be digested. This slows the release of sugar to the blood stream, resulting in a longer, lower and healthier blood sugar elevation. Soluble fiber in oats, bran, peas, barley and legumes has been found to be the most beneficial in lowering blood sugars.
Find new ways to add oats to your diet. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Hot cereal or muesli
Meatloaf or meatballs
Oat-rusted chicken or fish
Chewy Oatmeal Snack Bars
All you need
2 cups uncooked quick oats
1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
1 cup sliced almonds
9 tablespoons wheat germ
1/2 cup honey
2 tablespoons Splenda brown sugar blend for baking
2 tablespoons salted butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 (4 oz) pkg. dried blueberries
All you do
Combine the oats, pumpkin seeds, almonds and wheat germ on a large baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until oats and almonds are light brown.
Meanwhile, combine the honey, Splenda, butter and vanilla in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat until butter is melted. Stir in oat mixture and blueberries. Press mixture firmly into an 8-by-8-inch baking dish sprayed with non-stick spray.
Bake at 300 degrees for 25 minutes. Allow bars to cool before removing from pan. Cut into squares and store in an airtight container for up to a week.
Nutrition information (per 30 gram serving): 130 calories, 6 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 10 mg sodium, 17 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 3 g protein, 0% vitamins A and C, 2% calcium, 6% iron
Information is not intended as medical advice. Speak with your medical provider for individual guidance.