Chinese study shows oatmeal feeds healthy gut bacteria

BEIJING, Jan. 14 (Xinhua) -- A new study has shown that oatmeal can help healthy bacteria grow in people's guts.

File photo: CFP

A high cholesterol level is a significant risk factor for coronary heart disease (CHD). Oats and oat products have been proved to reduce cholesterol.

In the new study, researchers from Southeast University in China and other research institutes enrolled 210 Chinese adults with mildly high cholesterol from Beijing, Nanjing, and Shanghai. They asked them to have 80 grams of oats or rice every day for 45 days and measured their lipid and fatty acid levels and microbiota levels in their feces.

The results were published in the journal Frontiers in Immunology. The study showed that the oats group had more cholesterol-dropping results. The people who had oats every day had their total cholesterol level lower by 5.7 percent and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (also called bad cholesterol) down by 8.7 percent. The number in the rice group was only 3.0 percent and 3.9 percent.

The study also found that oats consumption increased the abundance of bacteria previously shown to protect against metabolic disease, obesity, and CHD.

The researchers said their study demonstrated that oats could help healthy bacteria grow in the gut. It then contributes to its cholesterol-lowering effect.