Oat bran is a food very rich in proteins, vitamins and minerals. It has a good folic acid content which, together with an abundance of soluble fibers (beta-glucans), makes it a real mix of benefits.
Due to its numerous properties, it is considered a nutraceutical food. It is used to regulate intestinal transit, but it is also a valid aid in slimming diets.
It can be added to milk or yoghurt for breakfast. Furthermore, it is excellent in salads, soups, or as an ingredient for sweet or savory doughs.
But as with all foods, excessive consumption can have predominantly gastrointestinal side effects. It is therefore advisable not to exceed the recommended daily dosage. It is also important to drink plenty of water when introducing oat bran into your diet.
Let’s see in detail the characteristics of this super food.
What is oat bran
It is the by-product obtained by grinding the seeds of oats (Avena sativa). The term bran includes all the outer layers of the seed, which are removed in the flour refining processes. So this bran is formed by the external integuments (pericarp) of the seed (kernel).
For a long time it was considered a waste product, to be used only as fodder for animals. Today it is a food of excellence for human nutrition.
Oat bran appears as small irregular brown leaves. Don’t confuse it with oatmeal. The latter, in fact, are the seeds of oats deprived of the external coating to make them more digestible, then steamed and toasted.
Difference between oat bran and wheat bran
This bran is the most consumed type together with wheat bran. Both are high protein foods, rich in vitamins, minerals, however they have some differences in terms of fiber quality.
- Oat bran is rich in soluble fiber, which swells in water and forms a viscous gel. This increases the sense of early satiety, reduces the intestinal absorption of sugars and fats, keeping blood sugar and triglycerides at bay.
- On the other hand, insoluble fibers prevail in wheat bran. These are non-digestible fibers that help increase faecal mass. They retain water in the intestine, accelerating intestinal transit. They are indicated in case of constipation and lazy bowel, but not recommended in the opposite case.
Discover all types of bran.
Calories and nutritional values of oat bran
Oats are among the most protein-rich grains. Consequently, the bran obtained from its grains will also have an excellent protein content.
In fact, among plant sources, in terms of the amount of protein, oat bran can easily be compared to soy flour.
However, proteins are not the only strong point of oat bran. Another strong point of his are fibers. Furthermore, it is very rich in beta-glucans, soluble fibers that form a gel when they come into contact with water. Most of the benefits of bran as a nutraceutical food are due precisely to the presence of these particular fibers.
This vegetable food is also very rich in B vitamins (folic acid and B6), very important for cognitive functions. Contains minerals such as potassium and magnesium, necessary for muscle activity; iron, essential for the transport of oxygen in the blood; and zinc, a powerful antioxidant.
It has a good energy value, which varies according to the choice of the producer to keep or not the oat germ. This is nothing but the inner layer of the seed, which serves as an energy reserve for the plant. It is a very fat component, therefore it helps to increase the caloric value of the finished product.
We therefore pass from about 246 kcal/100g in oat bran without germs, to arrive at 350 kcal/100g of product with germ.
|Per 100 g
|For 3 tablespoons (approx. 24 g)
|– of which saturated fatty acids
|– of which monounsaturated fatty acids
|– of which polyunsaturated fatty acids
|– of which sugars
Properties and benefits of oat bran
It has numerous beneficial properties for the body, most of which can be traced back to the high content of soluble fibres. For this reason it is considered a nutraceutical food.
Benefits of beta-glucans
It is rich in soluble fibers, represented to a greater extent by beta-glucans. This molecule partially dissolves in water, forming a viscous gel.
Numerous properties of oat bran can be traced back to this molecule:
- Reduces levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) and total cholesterol in the blood.
- Modulates the absorption of sugars in the intestine. As a result, it slows down the rise in blood sugar and the insulin response.
- It gives an early sense of satiety. Swelling in contact with water, it forms a gelatinous lattice that pushes against the intestinal walls. This results in a greater feeling of fullness.
- Improves the health of the intestinal microbiota. Betaglucan is a prebiotic, i.e. food for beneficial bacteria for our intestines. Oat bran keeps our digestive system healthy.
- Relieves problems of constipation and constipation.
Soluble fiber helps to increase fecal mass and regulates intestinal motility.
It is rich in antioxidants
This food is rich in antioxidants and polyphenols. These include avenanthramides, which are found almost exclusively in oats. These molecules can help reduce oxygen free radicals and contribute positively to blood vessel health. They also have antiinflammatory and antipruritic effect.
Cholesterol is one of the major risk factors for heart disease. If present in excess in the veins and arteries, it can cause the formation of atherosclerotic plaques, with even very serious consequences on heart health:
- myocardial infarction.
Oat bran, thanks to the presence of soluble fibers, reduces the cholesterol content in the blood by acting on two fronts:
- Absorption. It reduces the absorption of fats introduced with food, slowing down the endogenous synthesis of cholesterol.
- Excretion. Stimulates the excretion through the bile ducts of cholesterol present in the blood.
Improve insulin sensitivity
The viscous gel that bran fibers form in the intestine delays gastric emptying times and the absorption of food sugars.
As a result, glycemic levels (amount of sugar in the blood) rise gradually, giving your metabolism time to regulate insulin production.
In fact, it is a very suitable food for those suffering from metabolic syndrome or type 2 diabetes.
Aid to lose weight
It is a real panacea for those who want to lose weight. Not only does it help to give an early sense of satiety which will make you crave less food, but it actively participates in increasing the feeling of fullness.
The soluble fiber of the bran, swelling, slows down gastric emptying and also promotes the release of the satiety hormone. It is a peptide (PYY) produced by the intestine in response to the presence of food.
The daily consumption of oat bran, in combination with a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle, can help you regain your ideal weight.
It is often found in beauty and skin care products for its colloidal properties. A topical application of oat bran ointments improves skin health in case of:
- Skin irritation.
- Dry skin.
Side effects and contraindications
Normally, consumption does not present particular contraindications, in compliance with a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle.
However, the high fiber content is a double-edged sword. On the one hand it benefits intestinal health, heart, and keeps your microbiota healthy; on the other hand, excessive consumption could block the absorption of some essential nutrients, such as vitamins and mineral salts.
The recommended daily dose varies according to several factors, such as weight and age. In general, experts suggest not to exceed a daily consumption of 3 tablespoons.
Respecting this threshold value allows you to enjoy the benefits without risking nutritional deficiencies.
In particular health conditions, the consumption of oat bran should be limited.
Digestive tract dysfunctions
In case of intestinal malabsorption, colitis, or chronic diarrhea, the daily consumption of oat bran should be severely limited.
Oral drug therapies
Fiber’s ability to trap nutrients also extends to oral medications. An excess of fibers is able to slow down the absorption of some drugs, or speed up their elimination through the faeces.
Therefore, an excess of oat bran could nullify the effects of a pharmacological therapy, with the necessary consequences. If you are taking medications, ask your doctor for advice before including oat bran in your diet.
Only in a few cases should people refrain from consuming oat bran.
Oats contain avenin, a molecule very similar to the gluten portion of wheat. Oat bran can…