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Oat bran is made from the outer layer of the oat grain, and is a rich source of soluble and insoluble fibre.
Oat bran contains a form of soluble fibre called beta-glucan, which helps lower cholesterol levels. It works by binding to bile acids in the bowel, enabling them to be excreted from the body in the faeces. The resulting reduction in bile acids causes the liver to use cholesterol to create more, and this in turn causes cholesterol levels to drop.
In people with high cholesterol, eating 60-90 grams of oat bran per day may start to have a significant cholesterol-lowering effect in as little as 5-6 weeks. It may also help to support healthy blood pressure.
Oat bran has a low glycaemic index (GI), so may help to keep blood sugar levels stable and support weight loss efforts by increasing the sense of fullness after meals and reducing hunger.
The type of fibre found in oat bran can also be beneficial for those who suffer from constipation or are concerned about maintaining bowel regularity. For example, in one study, adding just 7-8 grams of oat bran per day (incorporated into a cake) to the diets of frail nursing home residents was shown to reduce laxative use by nearly 60% over a period of three months.
Oat bran can be consumed as a breakfast cereal, either alone or in combination with other cereals. Add a tablespoon to smoothies.
Sprinkle a tablespoon over hot or cold breakfast cereal. Alternatively, make oat bran porridge, adding cinnamon, nutmeg and sultanas for sweetness and flavour.
Add oat bran to your favourite bread, muffin or biscuit recipe.
For extra fibre, add oat bran to meat loaves, rissoles and other mince recipes, and use it to crumb chicken or fish.
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