If you walk down the cereal aisle at the grocery store, you'll notice countless boxes each advertising the many benefits of oat bran or wheat bran. If you're trying to find for a cereal to boost your health in the morning, which one do you choose: wheat or oat? And does it even matter, since they are both forms of bran?
Bran is the fiber-rich outer layer of the oat or wheat kernel. Bran is often removed during the milling process to create products (like bread) that have a softer texture. But fiber, both soluble and insoluble, is great to add bulk to your diet. Fiber also helps you to feel full and satisfied after eating and has even been associated with the prevention and management of some gastrointestinal diseases.
When you compare oat brand vs. wheat bran, each has its benefits for health and wellness. Therefore, it's best to compare the two to find the best one to add to your diet.
Oat Bran Benefits
Are you a fan of oatmeal? Then you might want to consider adding oat bran to your diet. Oat bran is often described as having a nutty or earthy taste. Adding oat bran to your diet may provide you with a range of health benefits.
Oat bran contains soluble fiber β-glucans, which forms a sticky, gel-like substance in the digestive tract that binds to cholesterol and pushes it out of the body through the stools. It's also beneficial for improving gut microbiota and preventing diseases.
Red Mill Oat Bran contains about 7 grams of fiber per 1/3 cup serving. It has about 150 calories and contains vitamin D, iron, and potassium. Most people enjoy the taste, especially with additions to their morning breakfast bowl of cinnamon, raisins, and walnuts (packed with heart-healthy omega 3 fatty acids.)
Oatmeal and oat bran are a proven cholesterol-lowering food. A 2019 study published in Frontiers in Nutrition showed that consumption of oat bran and oat β-glucans reduced cholesterol.
However, it's not a magic pill and is best when added to a healthy diet. For example, someone who regularly consumed bacon and eggs for breakfast would undoubtedly show an improvement in blood cholesterol levels when they switch to a bowl of oat bran regardless of the effect of soluble fiber itself.
Helps Reduce Cardiovascular Disease Risk
LDL cholesterol is known to raise the risks of heart disease. Therefore, adding oat bran to your diet can contribute to improving your risk for cardiovascular disease, according to a 2021 study in Foods. The study also showed a lowering in the mean glycemic response.
Wheat Bran Benefits
Not a fan of oat? Then wheat might be more your style. Wheat bran also has a nutty taste, like oat bran, but wheat is usually considered to be a little bit sweeter. And wheat bran is another healthy option when making changes to your diet. Explore how wheat bran is different from oat bran and its benefits.
Provides Insoluble Fiber
Wheat bran contains insoluble fiber, according to the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition (IJFSN). Insoluble fiber is good for bowel health and promotes regularity. In fact, insoluble fiber is often used to treat or prevent constipation and help manage diverticular disease.
Helps Promote Gut Health
The insoluble fiber in wheat bran may also help you manage irritable bowel syndrome, and other digestive problems. In fact, the University of California San Fransico Health states the recommendations for adults are between 25-30 grams of dietary fiber per day for adults, but average diets only include 15 grams. If your fiber is on the lower end, adding 1/2 cup serving of wheat bran can be helpful.
May Reduce Colon Cancer Risk
Foods containing insoluble fiber are often recommended to reduce your risk of colon cancer. And studies continue to support this benefit. A large research review conducted in 2019 supported the protective benefits of consuming more insoluble fiber to reduce the risk of colon cancer.
May Improve Mood
An interesting 2022 study suggested that the consumption of wheat bran can improve your mood. Evidence also shows that serotonin, the brain chemical responsible for moods, is produced mostly in the colon rather than in the brain, as once thought. A healthy colon usually means the entire body is healthy, so eating foods rich in fiber and taking good care of your colon can boost your overall health.
Oat vs. Wheat Bran: The Bottom Line
Whichever food you decide wins the battle of oat bran vs. wheat bran, you'll want to get plenty of bran products in your diet. Cereals are one place to start, as are whole grain rolls, bread, and other foods. You can mix wheat bran into yogurt or other dishes to add some crunch. Breakfast seems to be the easiest meal for most people to ingest bran-rich foods, but no matter what time of day, both oat and wheat bran provide vitamins, fiber, and health benefits.