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The Health Benefits of Avena Sativa (Oats)

Written by Dr. Group, DC Founder
A bowl of fresh rolled oats.

Avena sativa is the name for the common oat, a common ingredient in many common foods. Oats are grown around the world and are a dietary staple for many, many people and with good reason. Oats are very nutritionally sound and are a “good fuel” for the body; they help to stimulate the immune system and promote balanced blood sugar. [1]

Why are Oats So Beneficial?

Oats contain beta glucan, a dietary fiber that has generated interest for its cholesterol-lowering ability. How able is it? Well, studies have shown that consuming oats every day can reduce total and LDL cholesterol levels by 5-7%. In fact, in 1997, the United States Food and Drug Administration even approved a health claim for beta glucan for reducing cholesterol levels and the risk of heart disease. You've probably seen or heard this information in oatmeal advertisements.

It’s common knowledge that antioxidants are beneficial and swelling and redness can be detrimental. The Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University in Boston published information citing that oats contain more than 20 unique compounds with strong antioxidant activity. They also advise that oats can offer a resistance to swelling. [2]

Are Oats Hard to Digest?

Oats are not necessarily hard to digest. Often, people with digestive disorders can be dissuaded from certain products because of sensitivities to gluten and other proteins. There is good news, however, in that oats may elicit less of a concern. Results from a study conducted by the Department of Clinical Nutrition at Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Gothenburg Sweden indicate that adults with coeliac disease in remission can include wheat-free rolled oats in their diets without experiencing negative effects. [3]

Oats in Your Diet

References (6)
  1. Singh R, De S, Belkheir A. Avena sativa (Oat), a potential neutraceutical and therapeutic agent: an overview. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2013;53(2):126-44. doi: 10.1080/10408398.2010.526725. Review.
  2. Meydani M. Potential health benefits of avenanthramides of oats. Nutr Rev. 2009 Dec;67(12):731-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1753-4887.2009.00256.x. Review.
  3. Størsrud S, Olsson M, Arvidsson Lenner R, Nilsson LA, Nilsson O, Kilander A. Adult coeliac patients do tolerate large amounts of oats. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2003 Jan;57(1):163-9.
  4. Katz DL, Nawaz H, Boukhalil J, Chan W, Ahmadi R, Giannamore V, Sarrel PM. Effects of oat and wheat cereals on endothelial responses. Prev Med. 2001 Nov;33(5):476-84.
  5. Emmons CL, Peterson DM, Paul GL. Antioxidant capacity of oat (Avena sativa L.) extracts. 2. In vitro antioxidant activity and contents of phenolic and tocol antioxidants. J Agric Food Chem. 1999 Dec;47(12):4894-8.
  6. Dimpfel W, Storni C, Verbruggen M. Ingested oat herb extract (Avena sativa) changes EEG spectral frequencies in healthy subjects. J Altern Complement Med. 2011 May;17(5):427-34. doi: 10.1089/acm.2010.0143. Epub 2011 May 12.

†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.


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