Types of Bran & Oats

Types of Bran & Oats

There are 3 types of Bran: Oat Bran, Rice Bran and Wheat Bran and these are some of the healthiest items you can add to your daily diet. Bran is the outer layer or husk of grains such as oat, rice and wheat and for many years this outer layer was simply discarded during the milling process until its health benefits became well known. One of the most significant health benefits of oat bran, rice bran, and wheat bran is the dietary fiber they contain. They are also rich in omegas, starch, protein, vitamins and dietary minerals, making them compact nutritional powerhouses.BranOats

Diets high in oat bran, rice bran and wheat bran have consistently demonstrated great health benefits such as lower cholesterol, healthier hearts and improved intestinal health. It’s obvious that when you improve the health of your heart, you help your body fight off foreign invaders and live a longer life. When you maintain proper intestinal health, you help your body to capitalize on the food you ingest. You will be able to better absorb nutrients into your blood stream when your intestine is in proper working order. The fiber found in oats, rice and wheat also helps to aid in healthy and regular elimination. This not only helps you to better absorb nutrients, but it also helps rid your body of toxins. It’s easy for bits of undigested food and other elements to become trapped in the folds of your intestinal lining, but fiber can effectively help cleanse these folds.


Bran is the outer layer of grains such as oats, wheat and rice. In food processing, this outer layer can be stripped from the grains creating a smoother product, but one lacking in as many health benefits. There is no chemical synthesis or artificial elements involved, making this an all-natural nutrient powerhouse. As a valuable source of dietary fiber, consuming bran may have tremendous benefits for the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, as a pro-biotic food, in combating heart disease and gently cleanses your body of impurities that build up over time within your system. Also, bacteria cause most ulcers, reducing harmful gut bacteria is a worthy goal since it can ultimately reduce the chance of getting an ulcer.

It’s rather surprising just how many health-benefiting elements are packed into bran items. They are very rich in omegas (great brain food), starch (surprisingly necessary for proper health), protein (vital for countless bodily processes), vitamins (enough said) and dietary minerals (needed for healthy daily living).  Intake of bran has been shown to reduce cholesterol levels and slightly decrease risk for stroke. Numerous studies have shown that eating it daily may in the short term reduce cholesterol by about 1.8%. Long-term benefits may result in further cholesterol drops. Since high cholesterol often leads to hardening of the arteries, dropping cholesterol levels means less risk of stroke and blood clotting.

Since bran absorbs water, it contributes to a feeling of fullness in the stomach, which may help people eat less. This in turn can mean a reduction in weight, which translates to a further reduced risk for heart disease. While bran is not proven to reduce weight, a diet high in fiber can help reduce feelings of hunger. Other possible benefits of bran include reducing risk of heart attack. Eating it regularly may also help to prevent colon cancer. With these possible benefits, there’s very few excuses not to eat bran, but many people wonder just how much they should eat.

You can find bran in a number of different foods, making it fairly easy to ingest this super healthy food. You can look for it in cereals, muffins, snack bars, oatmeal, shake mixes and more.

Oat Bran

Oat bran consistently ranks among the top healthiest foods. Bran is the outer layer or husk of grains and it delivers health-promoting elements such as fiber, starch, B vitamins, minerals, proteins and iron.  The fiber found in oat bran helps aid in bowel regularity. Fiber helps your body accomplish healthy elimination, which helps to cleanse your bowels of unhealthy build-up and impurities. By doing this, you will gently detoxify and purify your bowels, which may help to prevent toxins from seeping into your system.

One major benefit of oat bran is its ability to lower cholesterol and maintain heart health. In a study by Braaten et al, beta-glucan, the main soluble fiber in oat bran was shown to significantly lower total cholesterol and LDL or “bad” cholesterol. The fiber in oat bran binds with cholesterol-rich bile to increase the amount of cholesterol that is excreted. Oat bran also helps to reduce the amount of cholesterol absorbed from the foods you eat. Reducing cholesterol can help to prevent the buildup of dangerous plaque in your arteries.

Another benefit of oat bran is its ability to produce long-term improvements in your blood sugar following a meal, as demonstrated in a study reported in the “Journal of the American Dietetic Association.” Oat bran helps to keep blood sugar levels from getting too high after a meal by slowing down the digestion of carbohydrates and reducing the rate at which sugar enters your bloodstream. It may also improve blood sugar levels by increasing sensitivity to insulin, which helps to clear sugar from the blood.

Oat bran is used in many different recipes, including tasty fruit and bran muffins, cakes, a variety of breakfast cereals and brown-sugar infused oatmeal. It’s very easy to consume on a daily basis. And as healthy as this type of bran is, you do need to eat it regularly in order to garner the best results from it.

Rice Bran

This type of bran is one of the healthiest foods that you can include in your diet and comes in several forms such grain and oil which makes it easy to include with your favorite meals. You can also find simple recipes that will help you cook and bake up some super healthy and tasty treats.

Like other bran products, rice bran is a by-product produced from milling. It too was once thrown away after the milling process because its health benefits hadn’t yet been discovered. One of the most well-known benefits of rice bran is that it’s high in dietary fibers. This makes it a very wise choice for those of you looking for gentle elimination solutions. By promoting bowel regularity, you significantly increase your body’s ability to process the foods that you consume. This also helps to prevent toxins from leaking into your system.

Wheat Bran

Wheat bran it is an all-natural product produced through a very simple milling process; no artificial ingredients or chemical processing involved.  You can find it in common foods such as breakfast cereals, granola bars, whole-grain breads and baked goods. For added convenience, you can also find it as a fine grain, making it perfect for making pancakes, workout shakes, muffins, cookies and much more. You can easily elevate the nutrient level of a number of foods simply by adding wheat bran to them. And you don’t even need to go to the local specialty food store to find it, you can typically find this at your local grocery store. After consuming wheat bran, most people have a feeling of fullness, making it an ideal food to consume if you’re attempting to lose weight. It also helps promote bowel regularity which also safely supports weight loss.

Wheat Bran vs. Oat Bran:

You can eat twice as much wheat bran while still consuming fewer calories and less fat than if you opted for oat bran. Wheat bran also provides more fiber per cup, than oat bran, however, the type of fiber in these two types of bran is different. Wheat bran consists of more than 90 percent insoluble fiber, while only between 50 and 60 percent of the fiber in oat bran is insoluble. Soluble fiber, like that in oat bran, absorbs water and forms a gel in the digestive tract, while insoluble fiber adds bulk without absorbing water.

Oatmeal vs. Oat Bran:

Oats and Oat Bran have differences in terms of nutritional aspect. Oat bran has more of an impressive nutritional profile than of the rolled oats. In addition, oat bran comes with more bulk dietary fibers and minerals than of the oats.  All the different types of oats we come across come from the cereal grass ‘oats’, are minimally processed (cleaned, toasted and hulled) to form oat groats. All cereal grains, including oat groats comprise three parts: outer husk, middle germ and innermost endosperm. After processing, the outer bran, middle germ and inner endosperm remain. However, this form although edible, takes over an hour to cook, which is why these oat groats undergo further processing. When oat groats undergo different processes, they form the various types of oats we are familiar with; such as oat bran, rolled oats, cut oats, crushed oats, oat flour, etc.

Oat groats that have been cut into smaller pieces, without being processed too much are cut oats, which also take a good half an hour to cook. Rolled oats on the other hand, is formed by passing oat groats through rollers, that flatten them and separate the outer bran (or leftover husk) and germ from the endosperm. This outer bran and germ discarded from the oats groats is termed as oat bran. Moreover, the oat groat (minus the oat bran) is passed through a steam roller which flattens the oats to a thickness of 0.3 to 1 mm. Oatmeal is the crushed, cut or rolled version of hulled oat groats, whereas, oat bran is just the hull of oat groats.

Although both oat bran and oatmeal bear semblance to one another in terms of their health benefits, oat bran is slightly superior to oatmeal nutritionally.  Oat bran contains higher soluble fiber content when compared to that in oatmeal. This is why if you eat oat bran, you will feel fuller longer. Eating a bowl of oatmeal will make you feel hungry in about two hours while eating a bowl of oat bran will keep you full for about 4 hours. Both have a high soluble fiber content benefits the body, because it is responsible for lowering the cholesterol levels in the body. Oat bran is creamy in texture and mushy, thus, goes down really effortlessly, while oatmeal has to be chewed. With respect to flavor, both taste almost the same. Their flavor depends on the additions you make to them. Oat bran cooks faster and costs lesser than oatmeal making oat bran a perfect low cost breakfast dish.

Oat bran and oatmeal can be used as an additive in baking food items like breads, muffins, cookies, pancakes, etc. or you can add oat bran to dishes like pastas, meat casseroles, chicken dishes, soups, etc. thereby increasing the fiber content of the dish. While both oatmeal and oat bran can be added in recipes, it’s better to add oat bran, so as to benefit from all the nutritional values present in it and its smoother texture will not completely change the composition of the dish it is added to.

Bran Flakes vs. Bran Strands

Bran-bud cereals provide a lot of fiber per spoonful, but flakes may be more palatable. When the “flakes” are processed, they are broken down a little more than the stands so they have a little less fiber than strands.  Check labels to compare fiber and calories as some, especially raisin brans, supply almost twice the calories and have added sugar. Be sure to note serving size and compare sodium and fat also but don’t get too paranoid about these ingredients since you’re better off getting the fiber in to help slow the digestion process. To mix things up and keep bran a little more exciting, instead of just using milk with your bran cereal, try topping yours with nonfat or low fat yogurt instead. Or sprinkle bran cereal on yogurt, salads, or cut-up fruit. Use it to coat fish or to top a tuna casserole.

Wheat Bran vs. Wheat Germ:

Wheat is a seed and the germ is the part of the seed that will sprout and grow, whereas the bran is the outer layer of the seed. Both are usually removed when milling white flour.  The germ has a lot of natural (and essential) oil in it, and will begin to go rancid quickly once removed from the seed. Exposure to air will speed up this process, so it needs to be stored in an air tight container or even better in the fridge – and consumed in a matter of weeks.

The bran is very high in non-soluble fiber. A lot of people like this because it helps people feel full faster and encourages happy digestion. Although, it’s good to note that high fiber foods (especially sudden introduction of them into the diet) can actually be damaging to certain IBD conditions, so it’s good to check with your Dr. if you are going to add a large amount of fiber into your diet.

Types of Oats:Oats

Oat groats: All types of oat cereals start out as groats, which are hulled, toasted oat grains and look very similar to whole wheat kernels.

Steel-cut (Irish) oats: These are the least processed type of oat cereal. The toasted oat groats are simply chopped into chunks about the size of a sesame seed.

Stone-ground (Scottish) oats: These are the same as Irish oats but they are ground into smaller pieces, closer to the size of a poppy seed.  Both Irish and Scottish oats have to be cooked before you eat them. Irish oats take about 45 minutes to cook, Scottish oats about half that long (because they are smaller).

Old-fashioned rolled oats: These are made by steaming the toasted groats and then running them between rollers to create flakes.   Rolled oats can be eaten as is or cooked into oatmeal (it takes about ten minutes).

Quick-cooking oats: These are simply rolled into thinner flakes, so they cook a little faster.

Instant oats: These are the most heavily processed. The groats have been chopped fine, flattened, pre-cooked, and dehydrated.  Instant oatmeal usually has added salt and sugar.  I suggest leaving the instant oats on the shelf.  In the time it takes you to boil the water to make instant oatmeal, you can cook some old-fashioned oats in the microwave.

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