Oats: A Source of Prebiotics
Written by: Sarah Qaheri, BASc. (c)
Reviewed by: Mirieta Selimovska, RD, MHSc.
Oats have received much attention for their nutrient density, high dietary fibre content, disease-fighting properties, and anti-cancerous properties (1)! They are commonly referred to as a ‘superfood’ due to the health benefits offered (see our article: What are Seasonal Superfoods for more!)
Canada’s Food Guide recommends that we choose more whole grain foods, and oats are a great source of whole grains that can be easily incorporated into a variety of meals and snacks (5).
What many may not know is that the consumption of oats can also promote gut health, as oats are a source of prebiotics.
What are Prebiotics?
Prebiotics are a non-digestible component of food that promotes overall health by stimulating the growth of “good” bacteria in one's gut (3). Prebiotics are used as a source of food for the good probiotic bacteria that protects against pathogens, cardiovascular disease, and improves absorption of vitamins and minerals from foods (4).
One's gut microbiome is critical to overall health and wellbeing! Prebiotic consumption can influence the following:
- Heart Health – Reduces ‘bad’ cholesterol and triglyceride levels, while increasing HDL cholesterol ‘good’ cholesterol (8). This promotes heart health and lowers one's risk for heart disease.
- Weight Management – Prebiotics have been found to lower BMI and reduce visceral fat (2).
- Blood Sugar – Prebiotics have been shown to improve glucose homeostasis and blood sugar levels (7).
Prebiotics in Oats
Oats contain beta-glucan fibre. This is a soluble, viscous fibre that pass through the digestive-tract undigested (4). This fibre affects the gut by increasing propionate levels, which are responsible for lowering cholesterol levels and preventing carcinogenesis, the initiation of cancer formation (6). Beta-glucan fibre also promotes the growth of Prevotella and Roseburia, which are both beneficial varieties of gut bacteria.
Looking for new ways to regularly incorporate more oats?
Try any of the Goodums cookie mixes! Each mix is made with Avena Purity Protocol gluten free oats to create high quality baking mixes with your health in mind!
- Alok Jha, R. P., Sabikhi, L., Kumar A., & Unnikrishnan, V. S. (2015). Nutritional advantages of oats and opportunities for its processing as value added foods – a review. Journal Food Science Technology, 52(2), 662-675. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13197-013-1072-1
- Aoun, A., Darwish, F., & Hamod, N. (2020). The influence of the gut microbiome on obesity in adults and the role of probiotics, prebiotics, and synbiotics for weight loss. Preventive Nutrition and Food Science, 25(2), 113-123. https://doi.org/10.3746/pnf.2020.25.2.113
- Connolly, M. L., Tuohy, K. M., & Lovegrove, J. A. (2012). Wholegrain oat-based cereals have prebiotic potential and low glycaemia index. The British Journal of Nutrition, 108(12). https://doi.org/10.1017/S0007114512000281
- Fehlbaum, S., Prudence, K., Kieboom, J., Heerikhuisen, M., Broek, T., Schuren, F., Steinert, E. R., & Raederstorff, D. (2018). International Journal of Molecular Science, 19(10). https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19103097
- Health Canada. (2019). Canada’s food guide. https://food-guide.canada.ca/en/
- Hosseini, E., Grootaert, C., Verstraete, W., & Wiele, T. (2011). Nutrition Reviews, 69(5), 245-258. Htts://doi.org/10.1111/j.1753-4887.2011.00388.x
- Kim, A. Y., Keogh, B. J., & Clifton, M. P. (2017). Nutrition Research Reviews, 31(1), 35-51. https://doi.org/10.1017/S095442241700018X