Oat bran is the external part of an oat grain. It is a fiber – rich outer shell of the grain which functions as a protection until the grain sprouts and also supplies nutrition to the growing plant. In fact, 30 % of the weight of oat bran is dietary fiber which is helpful for the improvement of health and wellness of the body.
During the milling process of oat grains, the bran is usually discarded. Many health experts believe that this is a bad practice since the bran which is liberally discarded during the milling process contains the mass amount of dietary fiber of the oat grain.
The typical uses of oat bran
The bran of the oat grain also contains high amounts of useful nutrients, especially minerals. For some millers, oat bran is not discarded but instead packed and sold separately for consumers which are under the diet of high fiber intake.
Oat bran is widely used as an additive among baked products such as muffins and breads.
In muffins, oat bran provides an extraordinary and unique texture, crunch and flavor.
Among bread products, oat bran significantly increases the amount of fiber and also creates a flavorful taste.
Oat bran can also be combined with breakfast cereals or consumed solely as a cereal itself or even added into pancakes, cakes and cookies.
The dietary benefits of oat bran
As mentioned above, oat bran is good to the diet because it can increase the supply of dietary fiber into the body.
As we know for a fact, high fiber diet is good to the body because it promotes normal bowel movement thereby reducing the risk of constipation. Another benefit of oat bran is that it can significantly reduce the absorption of dietary cholesterol which helps lower the levels of cholesterol inside the body.
As a result, this would greatly help in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases associated with high cholesterol levels.
Clinical studies on oat bran toxicity have revealed that oat bran has no serious side effects. Rarely, in some individuals, high fiber content in oat bran may result to intestinal obstruction but this occurrence is only very little. Many health experts believe that the benefits of a high fiber diet greatly out shadows the risk of intestinal obstruction.
Negative effects of eating too much Oat Bran
Another angle being studied on the negative effects of too much oat bran in the diet is the grain’s ability to reduce cholesterol absorption by increasing the elimination rate of bile acids.
Bile is important for the absorption of fats and cholesterol from the food we eat. With the presence of dietary fiber, bile acids are attached to it making the breakdown and absorption of fats and cholesterol impaired. Therefore, if the person has an excessively low cholesterol levels, he/she must control the consumption of oat bran or any other food products which are very high in fiber.
When you buy oat bran products, check the label carefully since there are many commercial grain manufacturers which use the term Oat Bran on their front labels as a marketing strategy. This is commonly done by several commercial grain products so that sugar and fat content may be concealed.
You can reduce the risk of constipation with oat bran. Darrell Miller