Is oat bran on the list of foods you use every day? They should be. Here’s a chance to find out all about their benefits.
Oats are not a common food in our diet. We resort to it sometimes, when we want to lose weight or when we get information about its health properties somewhere. Then you mostly use oatmeal or instant oatmeal. Few people really know what oat bran is and how to use it in the daily diet.
What is oat bran?
The name itself says that they are obtained from oats. Oats are a very nutritious cereal, much neglected, and underestimated in the human diet. The bran is the part of the oatmeal that is located just below its inedible shell. The grains of all cereals consist  of three layers:
- Endosperm – the layers that make up the floury part of the grain
- Germ – a layer that represents the embryo of a new plant and which is a very nutritious inner part of cereals
- Bran – a layer of cereals that is actually a wrapper, rich in nutrients, and mostly fiber.
But what makes oat bran so special and why should we consume it more often?
Oat bran contains a large number of fibers that improve intestinal function and digestion and improve our health in many ways.
The importance of fiber in our diet
Dietary fiber is one part of the foods we consume, mostly of plant origin. There are fibers that are soluble and those that are insoluble [2, 3]. Soluble fibers slow down digestion and give a feeling of satiety, while insoluble ones have the opposite effect, are harder to digest, they speed up digestion and the passage of food through the intestines.
Most of us do not get enough fiber through our diet. According to the doctor’s recommendations, we need to consume about 25 grams of fiber a day , and most of us consume about 15 grams. Oat bran is an easy and quick way to add the missing amount to our diet.
Making a big and sudden change in diet is not a smart choice when it comes to fiber. This change can cause discomfort and stomach problems. So be moderate and introduce changes in your diet gradually.
You will certainly not notice miracles overnight. Oat bran is not a cure nor do it have any magical properties with instant results. However, numerous studies [5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11] have addressed their impact on our overall health. In order for that to happen, it is necessary for them to become a part of the everyday habit, and not a part of occasional health care.
Health benefits of oat bran
Oat bran improves digestion and prevents constipation, but it also has a number of other health benefits.
- Lowering bad cholesterol levels. Studies have shown  that the soluble fibers found in oat bran reduce the levels of bad cholesterol. When they are found in the intestines, they somehow attach to cholesterol and prevent it from being absorbed into the bloodstream. In this way, the body simply expels bad cholesterol. Excess bad cholesterol is not good for health. It accumulates in the arteries in the form of layers and prevents normal blood flow. The bloodstream is a network of interconnected blood vessels and the heart. A delay in one part can lead to problems in the functioning of the entire circulatory system, heart problems, and high blood pressure.
- Reducing the risk of developing diabetes. Oat bran slows down the digestion of carbohydrates and reduces the speed at which sugar enters the bloodstream. The body has more time to deal with excess sugar. They are also thought to increase insulin sensitivity, which directly affects the removal of excess sugar from the blood. In this way, they are an important factor that reduces the risk of developing diabetes.
- Improving the work of the immune system. Beta-glucan , which is part of the soluble fibers in oat bran, stimulates the immune system, and fights unwanted bacteria and fungi in the gastrointestinal system. In that way, they affect the health and resistance of the organism as a whole.
- They reduce the risk of breast cancer in women. Research in the UK  has shown that women who consume at least 13g of fiber from whole grains reduce their risk of breast cancer by 41%, as opposed to those who consume 4g of fiber or less.
A small change in diet can make a big difference to your health.
Oat bran can improve your health in these ways, but also contribute to your weight loss. In a similar way, ground flax can be useful too. Being overweight is not only an aesthetic but also a health problem. This is one more reason to include oats in your diet.
How to use oat bran for weight loss
It is clear that good digestion can affect the regulation of body weight. Wheat and oat bran are therefore often mentioned as a means of improving and regulating digestion.
How can bran be used for weight loss and what is best for these purposes?
Oat bran for weight loss is a great choice. They can be a delicious way to start a day with a full stomach. Forget strong and greasy breakfasts under the pretext that they will keep you full for a long time. Oat bran can give you a feeling of fullness.
How does it actually work?
The following process takes place in the stomach. Soluble fibers absorb fluids in the stomach and intestines and form a gel-like substance. These fibers are able to absorb a large amount of water – 25 times their weight. This means that a spoonful of oat bran that weighs 15 g turns into 375 g of substance that fills the stomach. It is clear that this creates a feeling of satiety – the stomach is literally fuller and there is no feeling of hunger.
When there is no feeling of hunger, then the need for food intake and excess calories are reduced. In this way, oat bran and weight loss are directly related.
This property makes them an important ingredient in some weight loss programs and diets, such as Dukan’s diet.
Another way in which oat bran affects weight loss is their ability to block the absorption of calories in the intestines. The food we eat is broken down in the stomach into amino acids, fatty acids, and carbohydrates. The gel-substance that is created in the intestines absorbs a part of those substances that are decomposed and turns them into pulp that is expelled. In this way, part of the calories is expelled from the body, instead of being absorbed into the body. Needless to say, lower calorie intake means faster weight loss.
What is better for weight loss, oatmeal, or oat bran?
Oatmeal is often referred to as a healthy meal and a healthy breakfast. However, if you want to lose weight, then oat bran is a better choice than oatmeal. They are the outer layer of cereals and their composition consists only of fiber. Unlike oatmeal, they have 50% more fiber, and therefore a greater role in the process of maintaining satiety and weight loss. Since bran is only fiber, it also means fewer calories than they have compared to oatmeal. 100 g of cooked oat bran has 40 calories, while the same amount of oatmeal has 63 calories. That is why oat bran for weight loss is a better and more efficient variant than oatmeal.
Does that mean you should avoid them if you are not overweight?
If you are overweight, you can include oat bran in more meals during the day. If you are not overweight, it is enough to add them to one meal and take advantage of their diet.
Keep in mind that they are not only rich in fiber, but are an excellent source of nutrients necessary for a healthy life and a balanced diet.
Oat bran – Nutrition facts
Not only do you improve your health and promote weight loss by introducing oat bran into your diet, but they are also a source of many nutrients – vitamin E and vitamins B1, B2, iron, zinc, magnesium, copper, and potassium. Let us mention the significance of only some of them.
- Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that protects our body.
- Vitamin B1 and magnesium are important for organ function, especially for the heart. Their shortcomings can lead to feelings of fatigue and exhaustion.
- Vitamin B2 plays a very important role in the synthesis of hemoglobin, as well as in the metabolism of fats and carbohydrates.
- Iron plays a very important role in many metabolic processes.
- Zinc is important for beautiful skin. Its deficiency leads to dry skin, broken nails, dandruff, and hair loss.
- Magnesium plays a very important role in binding calcium to bones and in relaxing muscles. It also participates in regulating heart rhythm and lowering cholesterol levels.
- Copper is an essential mineral that plays an important role in bone formation, connective tissue production, and the process of encoding specific enzymes required for melanin formation.
Other vitamins and minerals are also important for certain processes in our body.
If we have in mind the ability of oat bran to boost immunity, reduce the level of bad cholesterol and regulate blood sugar levels, it is clear that they should become part of our daily diet, gain importance and a well-deserved place on your table.
Oat bran – Preparation
You are probably wondering now how to prepare oat bran and how to introduce them into the diet.
There are basically two ways:
- The first method involves partially replacing wheat cereals with oat bran. For example, you can add them to a glass of milk, omelet, salad, or soup.
- Another way of preparation involves a little more skill and the will to try new things. The preparation of oat bran is not complicated. You can introduce them to your menu as a cooked meal, instead of oatmeal. They can become an ingredient from which you will make pancakes, muffins, or some other cookies. It’s a great way for your children to love them and get into the healthy habit of consuming them.
The most important thing is to introduce them into the diet gradually and to monitor how your body reacts to them. Since they absorb a lot of fluids, it is extremely important that you drink enough water during the day. In this way, you can alleviate and prevent the appearance of stomach problems. In time, when they become part of your daily diet, you will find many ways to use them. Until then, it’s not bad to have some already tried recipes with oat bran on hand.
Oat bran – recipes
As we said, you can simply add oat bran to a meal or prepare a dish that includes them as the main ingredient. One of the simplest recipes to prepare is porridge. You need to put one measure of oat bran in two measures of boiled water or milk. The mixture is cooked for 5-7 minutes, until you get a mushy dish. This kind of meal is prepared quickly and is the right thing for breakfast and a healthy start. Yes – even when you are in a hurry! It only takes a little better organization of time in the morning.
Recipes with oat bran are common in Dukan’s diet, so they often bear the name of this diet, such as “Dukan bread”, “Dukan’s pie” and the like.
Where to get and how to store oat bran
It is not difficult to get an oat bran. Realistically, you may not find them in a small local store, however, you can easily get them in any better-stocked supermarket or health food store.
When you get them, you need to store them in a dark and cool, dry place, away from moisture and tightly closed. You don’t need to accumulate stocks that will stand open. In fact, it is best to buy smaller packages that you will use soon after opening. In addition, it is not bad to keep them in a box with a well-closed lid after opening.
Quite often our diet is deprived of some foods that can be beneficial to our health. Sometimes it’s because we don’t like them, sometimes because we don’t know how easy and useful their use can be. It’s the same with oat bran.
Now that you know their benefits, will you try to include them in your menu and give them importance? According to everything, you should!