Avena Sativa (Oats)
Avena sativa is the name for the common oat, a common ingredient in many common foods. Oats are grown around the world and are a dietary staple for many, many people and with good reason. Oats are very nutritionally sound and are a “good fuel” for the body; they help to stimulate the immune system and promote balanced blood sugar. 
Why are Oats So Beneficial?Oats contain beta glucan, a dietary fiber that has generated interest for its cholesterol-lowering ability. How able is it? Well, studies have shown that consuming oats every day can reduce total and LDL cholesterol levels by 5-7%. In fact, in 1997, the United States Food and Drug Administration even approved a health claim for beta glucan for reducing cholesterol levels and the risk of heart disease. You’ve probably seen or heard this information in oatmeal advertisements.
It’s common knowledge that antioxidants are beneficial and inflammation can be detrimental. The Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University in Boston published information citing that oats contain more than 20 unique compounds with strong antioxidant activity. They also advise that oats can offer a resistance to inflammation. 
Are Oats Hard to Digest?
Oats are not necessarily hard to digest. Often, people with digestive disorders can be dissuaded from certain products because of sensitivities to gluten and other proteins. There is good news, however, in that oats may elicit less of a problem. Results from a study conducted by Department of Clinical Nutrition at Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Gothenburg Sweden indicate that adults with coeliac disease in remission can include wheat-free rolled oats in their diets without experiencing negative effects. 
Oats in Your Diet
According to the Yale Prevention Research Center, daily consumption of whole-grain oat cereal can support vascular health.  Furthermore, the Cereal Crops Research Unit at the U.S. Department of Agriculture advises that oats are a great source of antioxidants.  A German double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled crossover study even found that Avena sativa extract might offer a positive impact on cognitive performance.  All of which are fantastic reasons to include more oats in your diet, starting with a big bowl of oatmeal- tomorrow. Have you upped your intake of oats? Have you noticed improvements in your health? Please leave a comment and share your experiences with us.
-Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DABFM