Oats (Avena sativa L.): Health benefits and side effects

Edited By Dr. Asha Jyoti Bharati

Oats knew as Avena sativa L. a solution to those who have problem gluten. It is intact, ground, cracked or flaked kernel having both whole grains and fiber. Oats are known since the nineteenth century but the health benefits of beta-glucan in oats are unraveled in the late 1960s.

Nowadays oats are becoming more famous because of it’s easy to cook, low cost, long shelf life and many health benefits like lower cholesterol and blood glucose, and protect and prevent against various diseases (1).

Oats can be used for various food applications such as infant foods, bread, oat milk, beverages, breakfast cereals, and biscuits.

Nutritional value of Oats

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), oats contain relatively high amount of dietary fibers, which includes cellulose, arabinoxylans, and soluble fibers, especially β-glucan and antioxidant compound such as vitamin E (tocopherols and tocotrienols), phenolic compounds, phytic acids, sterols, and flavonoids and other component as follows (2)

Compound                                                                    Amounts per 100 g.
Energy                                                                     68 kcal
Protein 2.37 g
Total lipid (  Fat)s 1.36 g
Carbohydrates 11.67 g
Dietary Fiber 1.7 g
Sugar 0.46 g
Calcium 80 mg
Iron 5.96 mg
Magnesium 26 mg
Phosphorous 77 mg
Potassium 61 mg
Sodium 49 mg
Zinc 0.62 mg
Folates 71 µg
Niacin 3.02 mg
Riboflavin 0.21 mg
Thiamin 0.26 mg
Vitamin B-6 0.29 mg
Vitamin A 433 IU
Vitamin E 0.07 mg
Vitamin C 0 mg
Vitamin K 0.4 µg

Health benefits of Oats

1. Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties

Oats are a rich source of dietary fiber, soluble beta-glucan and avenanthramides (phenolic compounds) which possess significant anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, protect from various chronic disease and increasing health span (3).

2. Lowers cholesterol

β-glucan (soluble fiber) in oats are responsible for their cholesterol-lowering effect. It binds with bile acids further increasing the intestinal viscosity. It also decreases cholesterol absorption and increases fecal bile acid excretion (4).

Therefore, 3 g β-glucan oats intake per day supplementations on diet suppress lipid accumulation, reduce plasma total and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels by 5-10% and improve serum lipid profiles in the hypercholesterolemic patient (5)

3. Glowing healthy skin

Avenanthramides present in oats have an anti-irritant effect. Studies suggested that oatmeal consumption helps in treating pruritus, atopic dermatitis, acneiform eruptions, and viral infections.

Flavonoids, starch, β-glucan and avenacins (saponin) in oatmeal helps in protection from ultraviolet rays, erythema, burns, itch, eczema,  moisturize skin and cleansing skin thus can be helpful in cosmetics preparations (7).

4. Prevents diabetes

Oats contain a high concentration of β-glucan. It increases the intestinal viscosity, decreases the absorption of carbohydrates and lipids, and reduce food intake to control hyperglycemia. Therefore, oats supplementation can improve insulin response and decrease postprandial hyperglycemia in type 2 diabetic patients (8).

5. Prevents constipation

Oats and oatmeal contain a rich source of soluble dietary fiber which may be helpful for the treatment of constipation and various disorders of the gastrointestinal tract (9).

6. Healthy heart

Intake of oats possess lower content of total fat, saturated fatty acid, and cholesterol and act as an anti-atherosclerotic agent. Therefore, avenanthramides and vitamin E present in oats are beneficial for cardio-cerebrovascular diseases (10).

7. Weight loss

β-glucan found in oats is soluble and fermentable fiber which enhances the viscosity of food, longer intestinal transit time, slow the absorption of nutrients especially the carbohydrates by improving appetite control and increasing satiety. Thus, oats daily consumption may reduce obesity, abdominal fat and metabolic disorders (11).

8. Treats hypertension

β-glucan act as a therapeutic agent for hypertension and daily consumption are responsible to reduce both systolic and diastolic blood pressure further reduce cardiovascular disease risk (12).

9. Anticancer properties

Research study proved that low molecular weight beta-glucan in oats activate the immune and antioxidant system. Further inhibiting tumor proliferation. Thus oats can be used as adjuvant therapy for various cancer (13).

10. Treats asthma

Daily supplementation of oats in the diet enhances immune function decrease upper respiratory tract infection because it contains beta-glucan and avenins which posses anti-allergic properties (14).

11. Gluten-free diet

European Commission Regulation (EC) No. 41/2009 declared oats gluten-free cereal.  It contains less than 20 ppm of gluten compared to other cereals. Therefore,  it may be helpful for the treatment of celiac disease in children and consume in the form of pasta, biscuit, and snacks (15).

In short: Oats have β-glucan and soluble fermentable fiber. Eating oats helps in

  • Increasing the viscosity of food.
  • Which results in the longer intestinal stay.
  • Slows the absorption of nutrients like carbohydrates and lipids.
  • Thus controls the appetite and increase satiety.
  • Lowers cholesterol absorption by increasing bile acids.

These activities of oats thus help in controlling diabetes, weight loss, prevents constipation and good for the heart.

oats health benefits

Side effect of Oats

Oats has no side effect because practically No clinical study has reported, no one really knows its long-term effects on a person’s health

Healthy Recipes of Oats

1. Oats Porridge

There are 2 different method of making Oats porridge one is with milk and sugar and other is with vegetables.


  1. Take ½ cups of oats and boiled with 2 cups of water.
  2. Add milk and sugar as per requirement or can add honey
  3. Vegetable oats porridge made by roasted oats and sauté the vegetable (Potato, peas carrot, coriander, etc.) with little oil and then add water and keep boil and add salt as per taste

2. Oats and fruit mix

Boiled oat can be consumed with chopped fruits like banana, blueberry or dry fruits such as almond, raisins.


  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4325078/
  2. https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/08123
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4561582/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25411276
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21631511/
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22421643
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25607907
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5037534/
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18571534
  10.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23561127/
  11.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23371785
  12.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11978262
  13.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26092171
  14.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14551169?dopt=Abstract
  15.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10969261/


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