Oats have been shown to reduce cholesterol levels and the risk of heart disease. The magic ingredient found within oats is called beta-glucan. Beta-glucan is a form of soluble fibre, that dissolves inside the gut where it becomes gel-like. It then binds to excess cholesterol and cholesterol-like substances within the gut, preventing them from being absorbed into the body.
A review showed that three grams or more of oat beta-glucan results in a reduction of total and low-density lipoprotein (LDL), cholesterol levels by 5-10pc. In real terms, this is achieved by eating two to four portions of oat-based foods per day. Results can be seen within four weeks. Think porridge, overnight oats, porridge bread and oatcakes.