Oats can protect the liver from alcohol-induced damage, study finds
03/25/2019 // Michelle Simmons // Views

Oats (Avena sativa) are gluten-free whole grains made into oatmeal, a popular breakfast food typically consumed for weight management. In a novel study, researchers from India suggest eating oats as hangover food to help prevent liver damage brought about by alcohol consumption.

Because the protective effect of oats on acute liver injury is not yet fully understood, the researchers looked at the effect of oat extract in protecting against acute liver injury brought about by alcohol intake in a mouse model. In conducting the study, the researchers pretreated mice with phenolic-enriched ethyl acetate fraction of oats at doses of 125 and 250 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg) each day for 12 consecutive days. Then, they induced acute liver injury by administering five doses of 50 percent ethanol or 10 grams per kg (g/kg) body weight to mice every 12 hours. After that, the team measured the alcohol-induced liver injury through different parameters.

The results revealed that pretreatment with the oat extract at 250 mg/kg dramatically decreased the levels of liver injury markers. In addition, it substantially increased the levels of antioxidant activities and prevented inflammation. Based on these findings, which were published in the journal Nutrition Research, the researchers concluded that oats can potentially be used as a dietary intervention to protect against liver damage caused by alcohol intake.

Oats are also packed with vitamins and nutrients, such as B vitamins, calcium, iron, and magnesium, which can help the body replace vitamins and nutrients that are lost when drinking alcohol. In addition, oats can help neutralize acidity levels in the body, absorb toxins, and gradually raise blood sugar levels. Moreover, the complex carbs in oats can help improve mood and reduce the feeling of fatigue, helping to reduce the severity of a hangover. (Related: Keeping your oatmeal interesting: Additions that will help keep your commitment to a healthy breakfast.)


More reasons to eat oats

Other studies have also shown that consumption of oats offers the following health benefits:

  • Aids in weight loss: A scientific literature review published in the British Journal of Nutrition in 2014 reported that oats may play a role in improving satiety, diet quality, and digestive, cardiovascular, and overall metabolic health. The researchers found that eating oats help reduce hunger and increase the feelings of fullness. People who regularly eat whole grain foods like oats also appear to have a lower body mass index (BMI). In addition, oats and their fiber (both soluble and insoluble) content help in digestion, especially in reducing constipation.
  • Helps ward off cancer: In a review published in BMJ, researchers in Britain and the Netherlands gathered published evidence that covered almost two million people to assess whether a high-fiber diet --primarily from whole grains like oats -- is associated with a reduced risk of colorectal cancer. They found that for every extra 10 g of fiber consumed daily, there is a 10 percent reduction in their risk of developing colorectal cancer.
  • Keeps the skin healthy: Eating oats also keeps the skin healthy, according to a review published in Phytotherapy Research in 2013. Beta-glucans in oats have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that help fight the effects of aging on skin, such as wrinkles and dryness.
  • Lowers blood pressure: One study, which was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, reported that adhering to a diet rich in whole grains, including oats, is just as effective as taking anti-hypertensive drugs in lowering blood pressure.
  • Protects against heart disease: In a study published in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, researchers found that eating oats and oat-based products significantly lower cholesterol levels and help lower the risk of coronary heart disease.

Read more news stories and studies on foods that help protect against liver damage by going to FoodIsMedicine.com.

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