Long before we learned to cook, domesticate animals, and put McDonald’s on every corner, our evolutionary cousins — such as chimps and bonobos — followed frugivore diets, subsisting mainly on fiber-heavy fruits, roots, shoots, nuts, and seeds, as previously mentioned. Here Ryan Raman, MS, RD, HealthLine.com, reposted by EcoWatch.com, reflects on health and benefits of oat bran:
“Oats are widely regarded as one of the healthiest grains you can eat, as they're packed with many important vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
The oat grain (Avena sativa) is harvested and processed to remove the inedible outer hull. What's left is the oat groat, which is further processed to make oatmeal.
Oat bran is the outer layer of the oat groat, which sits just beneath the inedible hull. While oat groats and steel-cut oats naturally contain bran, oat bran is also sold separately as its own product.
Oat bran is linked to many health benefits, such as improved blood sugar control, healthy bowel function, and lower blood pressure and cholesterol.
Here are 9 health and nutrition benefits of oat bran.
Packed With Nutrients
Oat bran has a well-balanced nutritional composition.
While it has similar amounts of carbs and fat as regular oatmeal, oat bran boasts more protein and fiber — and fewer calories. It is especially high in beta-glucan, a powerful type of soluble fiber (1, 2, 3).
One cup (219 grams) of cooked oat bran contains (3):
- Calories: 88
- Protein: 7 grams
- Carbs: 25 grams
- Fat: 2 grams
- Fiber: 6 grams
- Thiamine: 29% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
- Magnesium: 21% of the RDI
- Phosphorus: 21% of the RDI
- Iron: 11% of the RDI
- Zinc: 11% of the RDI
- Riboflavin: 6% of the RDI
- Potassium: 4% of the RDI
In addition, oat bran provides small amounts of folate, vitamin B6, niacin, and calcium.
Its high nutrient and low calorie content make it very nutrient dense.
Oat bran is naturally gluten-free but can be contaminated with gluten during growing or processing. If you avoid gluten, look for oat bran specifically labeled gluten-free.
Oat bran packs more protein and fiber than rolled or quick oats. It's also high in many key vitamins and minerals.
High in antioxidants
Oat bran is a great source of polyphenols, which are plant-based molecules that act as antioxidants.
Oat bran is especially high in antioxidants compared to other parts of the oat grain, and it is a particularly good source of phytic acid, ferulic acid, and powerful avenanthramides (5).
Oat bran is high in multiple antioxidants that may help combat chronic diseases and offer health benefits.
May Reduce Heart Disease Risk Factors
Heart disease is responsible for approximately one in three deaths worldwide (10).
Diet plays a key role in heart health. Certain foods can influence your body weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, and other risk factors for heart disease.
Oat bran may help reduce certain risk factors, such as high cholesterol and blood pressure.
For starters, it's a great source of beta-glucan, a type of soluble fiber that dissolves in water to form a viscous, gel-like substance in your digestive tract (11).
Beta-glucans may reduce the amount of cholesterol in your blood because they help remove cholesterol-rich bile — a substance that aids fat digestion (12).
In a review of 28 studies, consuming 3 grams or more of oatbeta-glucan reduced LDL (bad) and total cholesterol by 0.25 mmol/L and 0.3 mmol/L, respectively (13).
Other studies note that beta-glucans can significantly reduce both systolic and diastolic blood pressure — the top and bottom numbers in a reading, respectively. This is true for both healthy adults and those with pre-existing high blood pressure (14, 15).
Oxidized LDL (bad) cholesterol is harmful because it's linked to a higher risk of heart disease (16).
Oat bran is high in beta-glucans, a type of soluble fiber that may help reduce cholesterol and blood pressure — two key risk factors for heart disease.
May Support Healthy Bowels
Constipation is a common issue that affects up to 20% of people worldwide (23).
Oat bran is high in dietary fiber, which helps support healthy bowel function.
Oat bran provides both soluble fiber and insoluble fiber.
Research shows that oat bran can help support healthy bowels.
One study in older adults revealed that eating oat-bran biscuits twice per day for 12 weeks reduced pain and improved the frequency and consistency of bowel movements (25).
Oat bran is high in both soluble and insoluble fiber, which may help relieve constipation and support bowel health.”
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