If Clogged Arteries Are Your Problem, Try
Eating Oats By Rosalie Marion Bliss
June 1, 2004
Phenolic antioxidants in oats have been found to obstruct the
ability of cholesterol to stick to artery walls. Researchers funded by the
Agricultural Research Service have shown
that these compounds, called avenanthramides, significantly suppress the
adhesive molecules that "glue" blood cells to artery walls.
The study was done by nutritionist Mohsen Meydani and colleagues
at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition
Research Center on Aging (HNRCA) at Tufts University in Boston, Mass.
Meydani is director of the HNRCA's
When blood cells stick to artery walls and cause inflammation,
plaque deposits build up and narrow the passageways through which blood flows.
The suppression of plaque provided by avenanthramide compounds may lessen the
gradual constriction of vessels that leads to hardening of the arteries.
To test the compound's anti-degenerative activity within
arterial walls, the scientists purified avenanthramides from oats and exposed
them to human arterial wall cells for 24 hours. They then observed the mixture
under incubation. Meydani found that the ability of blood cells to stick to
arterial wall cells was significantly reduced.
Water-soluble fiber from oats has long been believed to help
reduce the amount of LDL cholesterol circulating in blood. To gain
heart-healthy benefits from fiber and avenanthramides, the researchers suggest
adding oat products as part of an overall healthy diet and cutting down on
high-fat, high-cholesterol foods.
As a grain, oats are included in enriched cereals and breads, in
oatmeal as rolled oats, and in muffins and other baked goods as oat bran.
about this research in the June issue of
ARS is the U.S. Department of
Agriculture's chief scientific research agency.