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Health Benefits of Oats & Fibre

Health Benefits of Oats & Fibre

Most people know that fibre is an important part of a well balanced diet - it helps to regulate the bowel, reduces obesity and aids the prevention of chronic diseases, and yet so many of us just aren't getting enough. Oats have a fantastic nutritional profile and are a great way to boost your dietary fibre intake.

Fibre: the Basics

Fibre is a term used to refer to indigestible plant substances. They are found in foods including fruits, vegetables, grains, sea vegetables and legumes. Within this category there are two types of dietary fibre: water soluble (viscose) and non-soluble or insoluble fibre. Both types are valuable to the human diet with different benefits.

Insoluble fibre cannot be digested by the body and therefore passes through the body quickly, helping to keep bowel movements regular and healthy.
Soluble fibre, or viscous fibre as it is sometimes called, can be partially digested by the body. It can act almost like a detox product, leaching toxins from the body as it passes through.

Fibre and the heart

Various studies have produced strong links between dietary fibre and important aspects of heart heath. Indeed, it has been suggested that people who consume higher quantities of cereal based fibre have a considerably lower rate of coronary heart disease [1,4]. Good consumption of fibre is also said to reduce blood pressure [1,2]. An increase in soluble fibre intake has also been linked to a reduction in cholesterol of up to 16% [1]. 

Other benefits

Diet can be a major factor in some cases of cancer, accounting for up to 35% of all cancers. Fibre consumption is often suggested to be a good preventative against cancers including colon [1,2,4] breast [2] and cancers of the gastric cardial region [4]. High fibre foods are also typically low in fat and high in complex carbohydrates and thus can help with weight control or loss [1,2,3,4]. As they tend to be bulkier foods with a lower energy content, they are more filling and take longer to eat, giving the stomach time to realise when it has reached satiety. This feeling of fullness can last for longer, stopping people from over-eating, feeling excessively hungry or having unhealthy cravings [3]. High fibre intake is also recommended for those with type 2 diabetes as studies of diabetics on high soluble fibre diets have showed good improvements in blood glucose and insulin levels [1,2,3,4].

The nutritional qualities of oats

Oats are a fantastic source of both soluble and insoluble fibre. As well as this they are a great source of calcium, magnesium and folate. They are also cholesterol free. Clearspring use the finest Scottish oats to produce their Organic Oatcakes.  

  1. Anderson JW et al., 1994 Health benefits and practical aspects of high-fibre diets Am J Clin Nutr 1994;59(suppl) 1242S-7S
  2. Warrand J Healthy polysaccharides The next chapter in food production Food Technol Biotechnol 2006
  3. Burton-Freeman B, 2000 Symposium: Dietary composition and obesity: Do we need to look beyond dietary fat? JN 2000
  4. Position of the dietetic health association: Health implications of dietary fibre ADA Reports July 2002, July vol. 102 no. 7

Read more:

Eat more oats

FSA fibre information

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