Boston, MA—Consumers are familiar with product labels touting the heart healthy benefits of eating oats. They most famously lower blood cholesterol and are an important part of a heart-healthy diet. An expanding field of research into oats and their benefits is shedding light on reasons for oats to impress even more enthusiasts.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has funded Tufts University efforts to probe into the molecular action of oats in different areas affecting heart and tissue health. The research indicates avenanthramides, compounds found in oats, help keep blood cells from sticking to artery walls: a hallmark of heart disease and a major early indicator of future heart attack.

In addition to keeping adhesive molecules from gluing blood cells against artery walls, avenanthramides induce anti-inflammatory effects. A 2006 study showed these oats compounds can also help prevent atherosclerosis, which can lead to heart attack. In a recent study, the consumption of oats and oat bran was connected to a reduced risk of colon cancer.

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Published in WholeFoods Magazine, April 2010