A Bowl of oats for breakfast and an oat-flour roll at lunch is enough to cut the risk of a heart attack!
Experts say following such a diet can reduce harmful cholesterol levels by almost 20 per cent.
Research reveals that oats contain a life-saving compound called beta-glucan, just three grams of which a day can keep the heart surgeons away.
A bowl of muesli contains 1.5g of beta-glucan, an oat biscuit 0.75g, a bowl of porridge1.75g, a two-biscuit oat cereal 1.75g, and a slice of oat-flour bread, 0.75g.
So persuasive is the evidence of 21 studies over the past 18 years, that nutritionists are calling on food manufacturers to develop more oat-based products to give consumers a wider choice of health-benefiting foods.
One bowl of an oat-based breakfast cereal and a sandwich made from oat-flour bread would reach the recommended daily level of beta-glucan.
Nutritionist Dr Carrie Ruxton, whose report is published in the British Food Journal today, said: “This review provides further evidence that regular oat consumption is an effective dietary strategy for helping reduce cardiovascular disease risk.”
Fifteen of the studies found regular consumption of oats cut total cholesterol levels among the 1,450 volunteers.
In 13 studies, cholesterol levels were reduced “significantly” by up to 17 per cent. Three reported big reductions in harmful low-density lipoproteins and several found eating oats regularly boosted “good cholesterol”.
Oats are more likely to be eaten in their wholegrain state, which maximises nutrient levels.
Common oat-rich foods include muesli, cereal bars, oat biscuits, porridge, oat breakfast cereal and oat flour bread.
Dr Ruxton said: “Everyone knows that porridge oats are a healthy food but what this review shows is that a wide range of oat-containing products, such as breakfast cereals, bread, cereal bars and oatcakes, have the capacity to help lower blood cholesterol.”