Oat bran is the product that becomes from refining the grain of oats. Bran corresponds to what would be the outer layers of grain and more specifically the pericarp, with its three sub-layers: exocarp, mesocarp and endocarp (rich in fiber and minerals), testa (rich in vitamins and enzymes) and the aleurone layer (rich in proteins and fats)
The elimination of these layers supposes the deprivation of a whole series of nutrients that are very important for health.
When we eat bread made with whole oat flour, these nutrients are incorporated in the dough and we can take advantage of them, but when we eat bread made from white flour, most of them do not appear on the bread, which is stripped of the majority of vitamins, fiber, minerals, fats, enzymes turning it into a rich product in "empty calories" only, which is interesting to contribute with energy, but without the advantages of the rest of components of the integral bread.
Food composition of oat bran
- Ahigh amount of proteins: Protein is needed for the construction and regeneration of the body. Its importance in the process of formation of enzymes and other chemical processes is vital. Oat bran than wheat bran proteins.
- Low in fat and many carbohydrates : Oat bran contains little fat, but much more than wheat bran, hence its higher caloric value. Also, it does not contain cholesterol and their proportion of polyunsaturated fats nearly doubled in proportion the saturated, which does not happen with meat that has a higher proportion of saturated fat much more harmful to health.
Cereals contain no cholesterol so they do not affect the incidence of many cardiovascular diseases.
Oat bran is rich in carbohydrate energy source, highly recommended for its ability to transform into glucose in a very gradual way which provides satiety for a long time and greater control of the levels of blood sugar . Oat bran is higher in carbohydrates than the wheat bran.
- Rich in vitamins of group B: Oat bran contains high amounts of vitamin B. The importance of this vitamin in the processing of fats, proteins and carbohydrates into energy is vital. Vitamin B plays an important role in nervous system health and the production of hormones, enzymes, or proteins, and strengthening the immune system .
Nevertheless, except in thiamin, the wheat bran surpasses to the oats bran.
- Mineral wealth: Wheat bran is rich in minerals, especially calcium, potassium, phosphorus, iron, magnesium and manganese. Wheat bran, nevertheless, surpasses in minerals to oats bran, except in sodium.
Despite its high wealth in minerals, we have to consider that bran is rich in phytates. These compounds inhibit the absorption of minerals, especially iron and calcium , so that, instead of creating wealth in this component, it might even affect the absorption of other minerals from other foods.
It has been proven to be more convenient to take the whole bread that raw bran , as cooking destroys most of the phytates. It was also found that excessive intake of bran can lower levels of minerals in the body.
- Rich in non soluble and hemi-soluble fiber: Whole grains are the richest foods in soluble and insoluble fibers. The soluble fiber is the one that has the ability to dissolve in water to form a paste that increases and and softens the volume of stool . Although the total amount of fibers is higher in wheat bran, oat bran soluble or hemisoluble fiber content is higher.
The following table shows the composition of the wheat bran and other parts or products of the wheat.
Nutritional comparison between wheat bran and oat bran
Oat bran (left) and wheat bran (right)
Composition of wheat bran in comparison with oat bran100 gr.
Wheat bran oil
Raw oat bran
0, 998 mgs
0, 403 mgs
7, 27 mgs
3, 11 mgs
11, 500 mgs
5, 630 mgs
0, 0 mg
0, 0 mg
1, 170 mgs
0, 577 mgs
0, 220 mgs
0, 934 mgs
1, 303 mgs
0, 166 mgs
2, 320 mgs
1, 710 mgs
Curative properties of oats bran
Although oats bran contains other components, the main curative properties of this supplement, like in wheat bran, come from its non soluble fiber wealth.
Between the main properties of oats bran we will mention the following:
- Control of the cholesterol in the blood: Besides not containing cholesterol, oats bran has the capacity, by its lifted soluble fiber content, to absorb the cholesterol of the intestine and to expel it with feces to the outside before this it is absorbed by the organism. It has been verified that the people who include bran supplements have lower cholesterol levels.
- Control of the constipation: The fiber contained in oat bran increases intestinal peristalsis and softens the stool so that they are expelled to the outside more easily and frequently, preventing constipation, a condition that affects many adults in Western society because of removing the bran in cereals and grains.
By comparative studies, it has been seen that cultures that eat foods high in fiber have a much higher number of stools. In India, the average of the stool is calculated between 300 and 500 grams per day, with a residence time in the gut of about 30 to 35 hours. In the western world people keep their feces for 3 days for adults and about 15 days old. The average weight of these is estimated only about 100 g.
- Control of the sugar levels in the blood: Oats bran contains great amounts of soluble fiber. Its ingestion is very suitable for the treatment of diabetes (It regulates the sugar levels in the blood by decreasing its absortion in the intestine)
- Reduction of some types of cancers: Besides absorbing the cholesterol, Oats bran has the capacity to absorb great amounts of toxins that are expelled. According to numerous studies, people who ingest some supplement of bran have an index of smaller probability to undergo some cancers, like colon cancer, breast cancer, cancer of the prostate and uterine cancer.
- Prevention and treatment of hemorrhoids:Hemorrhoids are originated generally by an increase of pressure on the veins of the rectum. When the intestinal evacuation is difficult, the pressure exerted on the blood vessels of the rectum can produce the appearance of hemorrhoids. A diet rich in fiber help make stools soft so that removing them will be done with less effort. Eating oat bran t will be a good way to prevent hemorrhoids.
- Prevention of diverticulitis: An adequate intake of bran can prevent the onset of digestive diseases such as diverticulitis . It has been shown that diets low in fiber food, favors the emergence of this disease.
- Help in thinning diets: Supplements of wheat bran can be used to help you lose weight, since, when mixed with water in the intestine, causing fullness in the stomach that helps reduce hunger. The fiber diet is one of the most used to cut some extra kilos.
Ways of ingesting oat bran supplements: Recommended doses
Oats bran can be ingested in dried fragments or by means of tablets. In addition to oats, you can buy other supplements as wheat and rice. The most common way is to take raw bran fragments.
The usual dose as a preventative is usually taken by means of one tablespoon daily with juices, milk, yogurt, potatoes, etc.
There are also much higher therapeutic doses. To lower cholesterol, for example, it is recommended to take 25 to 100 g per day, which clearly exceeds the total daily dose of fiber recommended which is estimated at 25-35 g daily. If constipation, is is recommended to take 15 g daily the mixture of wheat bran and oat bran.
In these cases you should consult with a dietitian, nutritionist or doctor to determine which is the amount you should ingest. Little by little reaching the recommended dose. Keep in mind that the reaction to the bran is very dependent on people.
Some, for example, require up to six times more than others to fight constipation. Keep in mind that, when taken in pieces dry bran, have a much greater effect the larger the fragments of its submission.
In cases of high ingestion it is recommended to begin with small doses so that the organism is accustomed.
Precautions with oats bran
It should be borne in mind that oat bran is not a food but a nutritional supplement, so we must be prudent in the amount of bran to eat. Bran intake in excessive doses can cause more health problems than advantages.
Excess insoluble fiber may cause intestinal abnormalities such as rots, diarrhea, bloating, flatulences or bowel obstruction. Bran excessive dieting may be responsible for more serious illnesses such as irritable bowel syndrome or, as seen above deficiency minerals.
It is generally not needed, unless as a therapeutic measure directed by a specialist, to take supplements of oat bran when people usually eat bread or abundant natural foods rich in insoluble fiber (all legumes, some fruits such as pineapples, custard apple, or vegetables such as carrots, spinach, artichokes, lettuces, tomatoes or chards ).
It is necessary to ingest along with the oats bran amounts of water to avoid the secondary problems that the ingestion of this supplement can originate.
Water helps to soften fibers and to facilitate its passage through the intestine. It is recommended to drink at least a pair of liters of water if you include this supplement in the diet.
In case of diverticulitis it is advised to check with your doctor the advisability of taking this supplement. It should not be taken by people who suffer from some type of colitis such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease. In case of osteoporosis, it is recommended to avoid this supplement because it inhibits the absorption of calcium.