Mainly grown in North America and Europe, oats (Avena sativa) have gained considerable interest as a health food due to their high dietary fiber content.[1,2]

Oats are the only dietary source of powerful antioxidants called avenathramides, which help regulate blood pressure and reduce arterial inflammation.[3,4,5] Studies show that oats can lower cholesterol levels that in turn decrease the risk of heart disease.[6,7]

The majority of the fiber in oats is soluble. Beta-glucans, that forms a majority of the insoluble fiber in oats, forms a viscous (gel-like texture) solution and help lower cholesterol levels and increase the excretion of bile acids.

The high content of soluble fibers in oats as compared to other grains, slows digestion, increases satiety and suppresses appetite.[8,9]

Oats For Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes involves loss of control over blood sugar levels resulting from decreased sensitivity to the hormone insulin.

Studies show that beta-glucans in oats can help reduce blood sugar levels and regulate glucose and insulin responses after carbohydrate-rich meals. [10,11, 12,13,14] A clinical study done in patients with type 2 diabetes and severe insulin resistance found that when oats were included in the diet for four weeks, it resulted in a 40 percent decrease in the dosage of insulin needed for stabilizing blood sugar levels.[15]

A few other studies suggest that beta-glucans in oats may favorably alter insulin sensitivity and delay or prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes.[16,17,18,19]

How To Take It

  • In a large saucepan, bring four cups of water to a boil. Add ¼ teaspoon salt and one cup of steel-cut oats. Cover and simmer for 25 minutes minutes or until the oats are just tender and the liquid is almost absorbed. Eat this twice daily to have better control over blood sugar levels.
  • Here are some other healthy oat recipes you can try.
    Yogic Diet: Apple Oats Soup
    Oatmeal Wheels

Image Courtesy: Shutterstock

For more interesting stories, visit our Health page and read about other Natural Remedies here.

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1.State of the Art Reviews: The Oatmeal-Cholesterol Connection: 10 Years Later. American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine January/February 2008 2: 51-57

2. Rasane P, Jha A, Sabikhi L, Kumar A, Unnikrishnan VS. Nutritional advantages of oats and opportunities for its processing as value added foods – a review. J Food Sci Technol. 2015 Feb;52(2):662-75. doi: 10.1007/s13197-013-1072-1. Epub 2013 Jun 25. Review. PubMed PMID: 25694675; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4325078.

3. Meydani M. Potential health benefits of avenanthramides of oats. Nutr Rev. 2009 Dec;67(12):731-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1753-4887.2009.00256.x. Review. PubMed MID: 19941618.

4. Nie L, Wise ML, Peterson DM, Meydani M. Avenanthramide, a polyphenol from oats, inhibits vascular smooth muscle cell proliferation and enhances nitric oxide production. Atherosclerosis. 2006 Jun;186(2):260-6. Epub 2005 Sep 1. PubMed
PMID: 16139284.

5. Liu L, Zubik L, Collins FW, Marko M, Meydani M. The antiatherogenic potential of oat phenolic compounds. Atherosclerosis. 2004 Jul;175(1):39-49. PubMed PMID: 15186945.

6. Berg A, König D, Deibert P, Grathwohl D, Berg A, Baumstark MW, Franz IW. Effect of an oat bran enriched diet on the atherogenic lipid profile in patients with an increased coronary heart disease risk. A controlled randomized lifestyle
intervention study. Ann Nutr Metab. 2003;47(6):306-11. PubMed PMID: 14520027.

7. Tighe P, Duthie G, Vaughan N, Brittenden J, Simpson WG, Duthie S, Mutch W, Wahle K, Horgan G, Thies F. Effect of increased consumption of whole-grain foods on blood pressure and other cardiovascular risk markers in healthy middle-aged persons: a randomized controlled trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2010 Oct;92(4):733-40. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.2010.29417. Epub 2010 Aug 4. PubMed PMID: 20685951.

8. Rebello CJ, Johnson WD, Martin CK, Xie W, O’Shea M, Kurilich A, Bordenave N, Andler S, van Klinken BJ, Chu YF, Greenway FL. Acute effect of oatmeal on subjective measures of appetite and satiety compared to a ready-to-eat breakfast
cereal: a randomized crossover trial. J Am Coll Nutr. 2013;32(4):272-9. doi: 10.1080/07315724.2013.816614. PubMed PMID: 24024772.

9. Clark MJ, Slavin JL. The effect of fiber on satiety and food intake: a systematic review. J Am Coll Nutr.2013;32(3):200-11. doi: 10.1080/07315724.2013.791194. Review. PubMed PMID: 23885994.

10. Jenkins AL, Jenkins DJ, Zdravkovic U, Würsch P, Vuksan V. Depression of the glycemic index by high levels of beta-glucan fiber in two functional foods tested in type 2 diabetes. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2002 Jul;56(7):622-8. PubMed PMID: 12080401.

11. Tapola N, Karvonen H, Niskanen L, Mikola M, Sarkkinen E. Glycemic responses of oat bran products in type 2 diabetic patients. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2005 Aug;15(4):255-61. PubMed PMID: 16054549.

12. Tosh SM. Review of human studies investigating the post-prandial blood-glucose lowering ability of oat and barley food products. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2013 Apr;67(4):310-7. doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2013.25. Epub 2013 Feb 20. Review. PubMed PMID: 23422921.

13. Hallfrisch J, Scholfield DJ, Behall KM. Diets containing soluble oat extracts improve glucose and insulin responses of moderately hypercholesterolemic men and women. Am J Clin Nutr. 1995 Feb;61(2):379-84. PubMed PMID: 7840078.

14. Alminger M, Eklund-Jonsson C. Whole-grain cereal products based on a high-fibre barley or oat genotype lower post-prandial glucose and insulin responses in healthy humans. Eur J Nutr. 2008 Sep;47(6):294-300. doi: 10.1007/s00394-008-0724-9. Epub 2008 Jul 16. PubMed PMID: 18633670.

15. Lammert A, Kratzsch J, Selhorst J, Humpert PM, Bierhaus A, Birck R, Kusterer K, Hammes HP. Clinical benefit of a short term dietary oatmeal intervention in patients with type 2 diabetes and severe insulin resistance: a pilot study. Exp
Clin Endocrinol Diabetes. 2008 Feb;116(2):132-4. Epub 2007 Dec 20. PubMed PMID: 18095234.

16. Steffen LM, Jacobs DR Jr, Murtaugh MA, Moran A, Steinberger J, Hong CP, Sinaiko AR. Whole grain intake is associated with lower body mass and greater insulin sensitivity among adolescents. Am J Epidemiol. 2003 Aug 1;158(3):243-50. PubMed PMID: 12882946.

17. Angela D Liese, Amy K Roach, Karen C Sparks, Len Marquart, Ralph B D’Agostino Jr, and Elizabeth J Mayer-Davis. Whole-grain intake and insulin sensitivity: the Insulin Resistance Atherosclerosis Study. Am J Clin Nutr 2003 78: 5 965-971.

18. Pereira MA, Jacobs DR Jr, Pins JJ, Raatz SK, Gross MD, Slavin JL, Seaquist ER. Effect of whole grains on insulin sensitivity in overweight hyperinsulinemic adults. Am J Clin Nutr. 2002 May;75(5):848-55. PubMed PMID: 11976158.

19. Maki KC, Galant R, Samuel P, Tesser J, Witchger MS, Ribaya-Mercado JD, Blumberg JB, Geohas J. Effects of consuming foods containing oat beta-glucan on blood pressure, carbohydrate metabolism and biomarkers of oxidative stress in men
and women with elevated blood pressure. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2007 Jun;61(6):786-95. Epub 2006 Dec 6. PubMed PMID: 17151592.

Armed with a PhD in Alternative Medicine, a graduate degree in Biotechnology, an MSc, and an MBA in Clinical Research and Clinical Pharmacology, Dr Jonathan is a certified practitioner of Alternative Medicine and is actively involved in patient education initiatives. He is also the author of the bestselling book, Outsmart Diabetes. Dr Jonathan loves to share his passion for herbs and other alternative medicinal practices with others through his writing.