Cholesterol is a fatty substance (lipid) made by the liver which is vital for the normal functioning of the body. However, having too much cholesterol in your blood (hyperlipidemia) can have an adverse effect on your health, increasing your risk of certain health conditions.
About 20% of our cholesterol comes from food sources, and the remainder is produced by the body from saturated fats.
THE FIBRE LINK
One way of lowering cholesterol, which scientists have known for some time, is by consuming more soluble fibre. Oats are a particularly rich source, as are grains, pulses fruit and vegetables.
However, the form of soluble fibre which has attracted the most research in terms of cholesterol is oat beta-glucan, and it is concentrated in the outer layers of the oat grain.
OAT BETA GLUCAN
Oat beta glucan dissolves inside the digestive tract and forms a thick gel which binds to excess cholesterol in the gut (from food and bile), preventing it from being absorbed into the bloodstream.
Because less cholesterol is being absorbed, the body then has to take more cholesterol from the bloodstream in order to produce bile, which is needed for digestive processes.
The net cholesterol lowering effect of increased excretion / increased removal of cholesterol from the blood makes oat beta glucan an essential component of a cardio protective diet.
INCREASE YOUR INTAKE
One way of increasing your oat beta glucan intake is by eating Oatwell, which contains 3g of oat beta-glucan in one serving. This key ingredient stimulates the production of bile acids, which then takes cholesterol from the bloodstream.
OatWell™ oat bran powder can be used in baking, added to smoothies or stirred into sauces, while their Crispy Hearts can be eaten in place of your usual breakfast cereal, with fruit and yoghurt, for a positive and energising start to the day.
Oatwell, banana and blueberry breakfast muffin recipe
140g coconut oil
5 large medjool dates, pitted
2 eggs, whisked
100g wholemeal self raising flour
2 bananas, mashed
1tsp baking powder
Blend the dates and honey using an electric blender
Melt the coconut oil in a pan
Add the melted oil a large bowl and stir in the eggs and date/honey mix
Slowly stir in the flour and Oatwell
Add the baking powder, mashed bananas and blueberries, folding in gently
Transfer to cupcake cases
Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown