Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the leading cause of mortality and morbidity around the world. In US itself, CHD accounts for more than 450,000 deaths. A primary culprit factor is certainly lack of  right kind of healthy food. Therapeutic lifestyle changes are recommended by ‘National Cholesterol Education Program’ of USA.  According to this program    that dietary fat levels may range from 25-35%, provided that the intake of saturated fat is kept low (<7% of total calories).  An increased intake of viscous soluble fiber (10-25 g/d) and plant stanols/sterols (2g/d) is also recommended for the reduction of LDL cholesterol levels. Searches in this direction have indicated that ‘Oats’ form one of the  important foods for good heart health. The life style constraints In the modern era, time has become a constraint in developed countries and urban cities of even developing countries. Due to the lack of time, people tend  to  relay on Quick ready-made foods without giving quality time in their personal kitchens. Although such Quick foods may not be good for health, people are   finding no option, but to depend on such foods. In this scenario, research has been intensified to provide ‘functional foods’ which are ready to eat yet provide nutritional benefits and beyond.   ‘Oats’ have emerged as a healthy functional food and as well, a more convenient food. Oats are well known for providing  healthy nutrients to humans.  Due to the amazing health benefits, oats have gained importance across the world and have  become healthier ‘functional’  breakfast snack.    Nutritionally oats are an excellent source of soluble fiber,  rich in lipids, protein, B vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidant   polyphenols.  Beta-glucan is the most important fiber in Oats which has potent therapeutic properties.  Oats are   lower in carbohydrates when compared other grains making preferred choice for  Diabetics and calorie conscious people. Oats are  also an excellent source of energy and also rich in unsaturated fatty acids making a healthy choice for heart. HEALTH BENEFITS  •	Oats are a good source of beta-glucan fiber, that  helps in proper function of bowel system. •	Oats may function like a natural face scrubber, and remove pollutants easily. •	Whole oats are rich in unique group of antioxidants called avenanthramide and beneficial plant compounds called polyphenols. Avenanthramides increase the production of nitric oxide. This gas molecule helps dilate blood vessels leading to better blood flow and help lower blood pressure levels. •	Oats contain large amounts of soluble fiber, and it helps reduce cholesterol and blood sugar levels, promotes healthy gut bacteria and increases feelings of fullness. •	They reduce both total and LDL cholesterol and protect LDL cholesterol from oxidation and thus they may lower the risk of heart disease. •	The soluble fibre beta-glucan, of oats may improve insulin sensitivity and help lower blood sugar levels. •	Oatmeal controls appetite by slowing down the emptying of the stomach and increasing production of the satiety peptide YY hormone (PYY). This may increase  feelings of fullness and may help lose weight. •	Finely ground oats may help relieve symptoms of various skin conditions, including eczema. •	Some research suggests that oats may help prevent asthma in children. •	Oat bran can help reduce constipation in elderly individuals. •	Oat bran and whole oats are used for preventing high blood pressure; high cholesterol; heart disease, diabetes, gallstones, colon cancer, stomach cancer and digestion problems including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), diverticulosis, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), diarrhea, and constipation. Half a cup (about 80 grams) of dry oats contains:  Calories : 303  Protein : 13 grams Carbs : 51 grams Fat : 5 grams Fiber : 8 grams  Manganese: 191%   Phosphorus: 41%   Magnesium: 34%   Copper: 24%   Iron: 20%   Zinc: 20%   Folate: 11%   Vitamin B1 (thiamin): 39%  Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid): 10%    Smaller amounts of calcium, potassium, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) and vitamin B3 (niacin) are present Oats are predominantly a European and North American crop, as they have cool moist climate; Russia, Canada, the United States, Finland and Poland are leading oat producing countries. For your heart Side effects Oats can cause intestinal gas and bloating. To minimize side effects, intake can be started with a low dose and slowly intake can be increased to the desired amount. Poorly chewed oats can cause blockage of the intestine Sandhya A
Health Scan-December 2019