New research on how soluble fibre in oats reduces cholesterol could help fight heart disease and boost global food security.
Researchers at the University of Queensland’s Centre for Nutrition and Food Sciences studied the function of beta glucans – a healthy soluble fibre naturally occurring in the cell walls of some plants, particularly cereals.
“We’ve known for some time that beta glucans in oats reduce blood cholesterol, but now we’ve discovered one of the ways in which they do it,” UQ’s Professor Mike Gidley said.
Lead researcher Dr Purnima Gunness said their findings showed that the beta glucan in oats reduced the amount of bile circulating in the digestive system, rather than ‘mopping it up’ as was previously thought.
“This means that fats, which bile helps break down, are not digested as rapidly or as completely,” Dr Gunness said.
A lower or slower absorption of fat is an important factor in reducing blood cholesterol.
“Now that we know how the beta glucans positively impact on cholesterol levels, it will help us identify other fibres in plant cell walls that may have a similar effect,” Dr Gunness said.
The discovery could lead to ways of boosting the cholesterol-fighting properties of other cereals including wheat, helping to reduce heart disease. It could also boost global nutrition security by improving access to balanced nourishment.
Read more about the findings of this study here. Story credit: University of Queensland newsroom.
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