Bet on beta glucans? It’s a sure thing for heart health

One type of fiber that has attracted a great deal of lately is beta-glucan, a glucose biopolymer found in the cell walls of grains (such as barley and oats) and in mushrooms (such as maitake, reishi and shiitake), in addition to seaweed and algae. Beta-glucan has been the focus of an increasing number of studies because it offers such benefits as reducing insulin resistance and blood cholesterol, lowering the risk of obesity and boosting the immune system.

Recently, Chinese researchers carried out a detailed review of 17 studies with 916 subjects in which they looked at beta-glucan consumption.

The results? Beta-glucan consumption led to significant reductions in total and low-density (or “bad”) cholesterol in participants who had high cholesterol.

Wallach Files Take-Away: Whether in food form (such as whole-grain cereals or in dietary supplements (or both), beta-glucans are important for cardiovascular and metabolic health.

 To read coverage of this study, you can click here.