Oatmeal helps lower cholesterol

The cholesterol-lowering power of Oatmeal

It doesn’t look or sound impressive no matter what you stir into it. But that’s deceiving because oatmeal is literally a life saver. The primary strength of this grain is its ability to attach to cholesterol in the intestines.

The liver regularly excretes cholesterol into the bile. The yellow fluid flows through the bile ducts for temporary storage in the gall bladder. Foods high in fats stimulate contraction of the gall bladder and movement of bile through another duct and into the upper intestines. Bile helps with fat breakdown. When a gall stone blocks the duct, bile can’t get through. The fat in the upper intestines, in this situation, continues to release the chemical that stimulates gall bladder contraction and that causes pain as the gall bladder contractions and bile meet with the resistance from the stone. Thus pain after a high fat meal may be caused by gall stones (but as with all other articles on this blog, information provided in this article isn’t met to replace the evaluation by your health care provider that can see, talk with you to understand your medical history, and examine you).

This bile excretion does help eliminate cholesterol but only temporarily. Much of this cholesterol eliminated in the bile is reabsorbed. This is where oatmeal performs its good deed:  in the intestines oatmeal binds to cholesterol and the combination is eliminated through the gastrointestinal tract. This combination of cholesterol with the oatmeal is not reabsorbed.

There are other benefits of oatmeal such as its ability to make the person feel full and yet are not high in calories. Steel cut oats are particularly healthy but the nutritional strengths and gut benefits will be left for another article, and so will suggestions for add-ins like wheat germ, bran, ground flax, coconut oil, and berries and other fruit.

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