Oat (Avena sativa L.) and amaranth (Amaranthus hypochondriacus) meals positively affect plasma lipid profile in rats fed cholesterol-containing diets

J Nutr Biochem. 2004 Oct;15(10):622-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2004.06.002.


Cereals are an important part of diets for hypercholesterolemic patients. However, some of these patients are allergic to these natural products. The purpose of the current study was to compare oatmeal with equal in nutritional values two allergy-free amaranth meals to determine whether this pseudocereal can be a substitute for allergic to cereals individuals. The total phenols of the samples were determined with the Folin-Chocalteu reagent, anthocyanins, and flavonoids spectrophotometrically. The antioxidant activities were estimated with nitric oxide scavenging radical (NO) and by beta-carotene bleaching (beta-carotene). It was found that the contents of different protein fractions, antioxidant compounds, and the antioxidant activities of oatmeal were significantly higher than those of the two amaranth samples. The results of kinetic reactions showed that samples differed in their capacities to quench these radicals, and oats have shown more antioxidant activity than amaranth. High correlation was observed between antioxidant activities and phenols (R(2) = 0.99). In the in vivo part of the investigation, 60 male Wistar rats were divided into five diet groups of 12 animals each; these groups were designated as Control, Chol, Chol/Oat, Chol/AmarI, and Chol/AmarII. The rats of the Control group were fed basal diet (BD) only. To the BD of the four other groups were added the following: 1% of cholesterol (Chol), 10% of oat meal and 1% of cholesterol (Chol/Oat), 10% of amaranth I meal, and 1% of cholesterol (Chol/AmarI) and 10% of amaranth II meal and 1% of cholesterol (Chol/AmarII). After 32 days of different feeding, diets supplemented with oat meal and, to lesser degree, with amaranth I and amaranth II hindered the rise in the plasma lipids: a) TC: 3.14 vs. 4.57 mmol/L, - 31.3%; 3.31 vs. 4.57 mmol/L - 27.6%; and 3.40 vs. 4.57, - 25.6%, respectively b) LDL-C: 1.69 vs. 3.31 mmol/L, - 49.9%; 2.05 vs. 3.31 mmol/L, - 38.1%; and 2.16 vs. 3.31 mmol/L, - 34.8%, respectively; c) TG: 0.73 vs. 0.88 mmol/L, - 17.1%; 0.75 vs. 0.88 mmol/L, - 14.8%; and 0.79 vs. 0.88 mmol/L, -10.2%, respectively. The HDL-PH was increased as follows: 0.79 vs. 0.63 mmol/L, -25.3%; 0.75 vs. 0.63 mmol/L, -23.0%; and 0.71 vs. 0.63 mmol/L, -12.7% for the Chol/Oat, Chol/AmarI and Chol/AmarII, respectively. No significant changes in the concentrations of HDL-C and TPH were found; however the HDL-C in the Chol/Oat group was slightly higher than in other groups. No changes in the Control group were registered. In conclusion, oat and amaranth meals positively affect plasma lipid profile in rats fed cholesterol-containing diets. The degree of this positive influence is directly connected to the contents of the bioactive components and the antioxidant activities of the studied samples. It is suggested that amaranth could be a valuable substitute for hypercholesterolemic patients allergic to cereals.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Amaranthus* / chemistry
  • Animals
  • Anthocyanins / analysis
  • Antioxidants / analysis
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Avena* / chemistry
  • Cholesterol, Dietary / administration & dosage*
  • Diet*
  • Dietary Fiber / analysis
  • Flavonoids / analysis
  • Lipids / blood*
  • Phenols / analysis
  • Plant Proteins / analysis
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Trace Elements / analysis


  • Anthocyanins
  • Antioxidants
  • Cholesterol, Dietary
  • Dietary Fiber
  • Flavonoids
  • Lipids
  • Phenols
  • Plant Proteins
  • Trace Elements