A new study from Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut found that a bowl of oatmeal or 800 international units (IUs) of vitamin E helped maintain blood flow in the arteries of individuals who had just consumed high levels of fat. Fat has been shown to cause arteries to constrict, thereby reducing blood flow and raising the risk of heart disease.
In the study, 50 non-smoking adults with no signs of heart disease drank a milkshake made of ice cream, cream of coconut and eggs, on three separate occasions. Study participants also consumed a bowl of oatmeal, wheat cereal or a vitamin E capsule along with the milkshake.
Ultrasound testing revealed that blood flow declined by more than 13% when adults consumed wheat cereal with the milkshake, indicating that arteries were constricted. However, there was no decline when they ate oatmeal or took a vitamin E supplement, which indicates arteries were kept open.
"People, especially those at risk for heart disease, should certainly consider both restricting intake of saturated fat and including oats in their diet on a regular basis," said the Yale researchers. Vitamin E is an antioxidant, which can help the body reduce damage caused by free radicals. These reactive compounds can lead to chronic disease and other effects of aging. Free radicals help neutralize these cell-damaging compounds, Katz explained. Soluble fibre, which is also found in oatmeal, apples and dried beans, has already been shown to lower LDL ("bad") cholesterol, thereby lowering heart disease risk. It may also slow the absorption of fat in the bloodstream, the study reveals.
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