Professor Mike Gidley and lead researcher Dr Purnima Gunness from our Queensland node, have identified a new mechanism for how healthy cereals such as oats reduce the amount of cholesterol in the blood stream, thereby lowering the risk of heart disease. This could help reduce heart disease and boost nutrition security – the access to balanced nourishment – globally.
Professor Mike Gidley said the study revealed new information on the function of beta glucans – a healthy soluble fibre naturally occurring in the cell walls of some plants, particularly cereals. “We’ve known for some time that beta glucans in oats reduce blood cholesterol, but now we’ve discovered one of the ways in which they do it,” Professor Gidley said.
“Now that we know how the beta glucans positively impact on cholesterol levels, it will help us identify other fibres in plant cell walls that may have a similar effect,” Dr Gunness said.