Improve Endothelial Function with an Oatmeal Breakfast

Keep your blood flowing freely to the heart with a bowlful of oats.

Oatmeal with berries and honey on a dark background

Medically reviewed in August 2021

Regularly eating oatmeal appears to boost people's endothelial function. That's a fancy way of describing their arteries' all-important ability to dilate and keep blood flowing freely to the heart and other body parts.

Relax Those Arteries
Unfortunately, endothelial function often deteriorates in folks who are overweight or obese, or who have glucose intolerance and insulin resistance. But in a six-week study of overweight adults, a daily bowl of oats helped improve the way endothelium—that thin layer of cells lining the inside of blood vessels—functioned. Researchers speculate that the phytoestrogens and beta-glucan in oats had something to do with the effect.

Artery Benefits for All
Maintaining good endothelial function helps reduce the risk of heart and coronary artery disease down the road. And overweight adults aren't the only ones who need to be concerned about it. Normal-weight people can have impaired endothelium, too. So whether you're big or little, an oatmeal breakfast is a smart choice.

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