Among all the cereals, oats certainly stand out for their beneficial properties. And from today we can add other important health effects. In fact, as emerges from a very recent scientific research published in the journal Nutrients thanks to a collaboration between Indian and Korean scientists, some substances contained in oats are able to counteract neurodegeneration such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, to increase the survival of neurons and to improve cognitive (Wankhede et al, Nutrients, Jul 2023).
How oats can protect the brain
Scientists have focused on some compounds, which are contained only in oats, called avenanthramides. By carrying out extensive research on studies previously performed, it emerged that these antioxidant substances have an important neuroprotective action. In fact, avenanthramides have an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant action on the central nervous system. With regard to Alzheimer's disease, studies have shown that avenanthramides are able to protect neuronal synapses and to improve brain function damaged by the toxic accumulations of beta amyloid proteins, which are a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease. Not only that, avenanthramides also act by inhibiting the very formation of these accumulations of beta amyloid proteins. The antioxidants in oats have also been shown to increase blood flow to the brain and promote neurogenesis and brain plasticity, which are crucial processes for brain repair. Avenanthramides have also proved useful in counteracting Parkinson's, protecting the brain from the increase of free radicals, and in reducing brain damage caused by neurotoxins.
Oats, lots of health
Today we understood that oats can protect the brain and counteract neurodegeneration. But oats are so much more. Indeed, oats provide beta glucans, which are a type of fiber, proteins, unsaturated fatty acids, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Studies have observed that regularly consuming oats leads to a reduction in cholesterol, an improvement in insulin sensitivity and blood sugar control after a meal with a cardioprotective effect. Not only that, the antioxidant substances in oats help reduce inflammation, free radical damage and cellular degeneration.
Eating oats is good for heart and brain health and the great thing is that we can do it in so many ways! For example, an idea is to add a handful of oat flakes to yogurt, enjoy oatmeal bread, or we can prepare delicious porridge. In the Healthy Food section you can find many recipes in this regard, such as oat porridge and exotic fruit. Of course, a lot of research is still to be done, also to establish the intake dose to get the maximum benefits, but certainly, waiting for science to take its course, we can enrich our daily diet with precious oats.