Beta-glucans are unbranched polysaccharides with a high molecular weight. In oats, these soluble fibres are mainly found in the aleurone layer: the layer of the grain that separates the hull from the endosperm. Oat bran consists of this nutrient- and fibre-rich layer, separated from the grain through milling. Oats contain more beta-glucans than many foods, including wheat and rye.
Health Benefits of Oat Beta-Glucans
According to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), beta-glucans from oats contribute to:
- The maintenance of normal blood cholesterol levels
- The beneficial effect described here is achieved with a daily intake of 3g. High cholesterol levels in the blood is one of the risk factors for coronary heart disease.
- Reducing the rise in blood glucose after a meal, when consumed during that meal
- The beneficial effect described here is achieved with an intake of at least 4g.