Oat: unique among the cereals

Eur J Nutr. 2008 Mar;47(2):68-79. doi: 10.1007/s00394-008-0698-7. Epub 2008 Feb 26.


This review is intended to focus on the composition of oat and its therapeutic potential in the pharmacology that supports its use to cure various maladies. Oat (Avena sativa) is distinct among the cereals due to its multifunctional characteristics and nutritional profile. Recent advancement in food and nutrition has revealed the importance of its various components. It is a good source of dietary fiber especially beta-glucan, minerals and other nutrients. Oat and oat by products have been proven to be helpful in the treatment of diabetes and cardiovascular disorders. Oat bran in particular, is good source of B complex vitamins, protein, fat, minerals besides heart healthy soluble fiber beta-glucan. The beta-glucan has outstanding functional properties and is of immense importance in human nutrition. Different physiological effects of beta-glucan are related to its viscosity, attenuation of postprandial plasma glucose and insulin responses, high transport of bile acids towards lower parts of the intestinal tract and high excretion of bile acids thereby lowering of serum cholesterol levels. Moreover, it is helpful against coeliac disease. The incorporation of oat grains and oat bran in the food products improves not only the nutrition but also a therapy against various maladies.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Area Under Curve
  • Avena* / chemistry
  • Avena* / physiology
  • Blood Glucose / drug effects
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism*
  • Celiac Disease / diet therapy
  • Cholesterol / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / diet therapy
  • Dietary Fiber / analysis
  • Dietary Fiber / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Hypercholesterolemia / diet therapy
  • Intestinal Absorption
  • Minerals / analysis
  • Postprandial Period
  • Solubility
  • Viscosity
  • Vitamins / analysis
  • beta-Glucans / analysis
  • beta-Glucans / metabolism*


  • Blood Glucose
  • Dietary Fiber
  • Minerals
  • Vitamins
  • beta-Glucans
  • Cholesterol