PhotoIt's long been known that oatmeal helps lower total and LDL cholesterol, which can help promote heart health. Now a team of scientists say they've found another reason to eat oats: a phenolic compount called AVE that may possess antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-itch and anti-cancer properties.

"While the data to support the importance of oat beta-glucan remains, these studies reveal that the heart health benefit of eating oats may go beyond fiber," said Dr. Shengmin Sang of North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. "As the scientific investigators dig deeper, we have discovered that the bioactive compounds found in oats – AVEs – may provide additional cardio-protective benefits."

New research shows that oat AVEs may be partly responsible for the positive association between oats and heart health. Oliver Chen, Ph.D., of the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, presented mechanistic data that demonstrated that the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of AVEs likely contribute to oats' protective effects.

Similarly, Mohsen Meydani, Ph.D., from the Vascular Biology Laboratory at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, provided evidence that oat AVEs suppress the production of inflammatory cytokines associated with fatty streak formation in the arteries.

In addition, oat AVEs appear to repress the process associated with the development of atherosclerosis.

The findings were presented at the 247th Annual Conference of the American Chemical Society in Dallas.


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