February is heart month. Heart disease affects approximately one in 12 Canadian adults and is the second leading cause of death in Canada (1). The good news is almost 80 per cent of premature heart disease and stroke can be prevented through healthy behaviours (2). Healthy lifestyle habits including eating a balance diet, being physically active, managing stress and living smoke-free have a huge impact on your health. Making one small change towards an improved lifestyle, like adding oats to heart healthy snacking, can make a big difference.  I’m thrilled to have partnered with Rogers Foods for their Heart Health Month campaign featuring their Not Just Oats blends including healthy grains and ancient grains.

Why Oats and Heart Health?

Oats are a rich source of both soluble and insoluble fibre. Soluble fibres help increase satiety (the feeling of fullness); lower blood cholesterol and control blood sugars, while others have been shown to promote a favourable gut environment. Soluble fibres found in oats are called beta-glucans. Over the past decade, researchers have found that not all beta-glucan molecules are the same. From current studies, it seems the beta-glucans in both barley and oats have the most beneficial effect on heart health (3).

These beta-glucans work within the gut in two ways: they prevent cholesterol from being absorbed into the system and they assist the body to naturally eliminate cholesterol. Based on this scientific evidence, Health Canada approved the health claim identifying “The consumption of at least three grams of beta-glucan from oat products per day helps reduce cholesterol, which is a risk factor for heart disease.” Clearly, it’s time to add oats to meals and snacks for better heart health.

Snack Attack

JaneDummer-HeartHealth-Cookies1) Porridge Oats Healthy Grains Breakfast Cookies

The word cookie has a new meaning for Heart Month. These delicious and nutritious cookies include Rogers Foods 100% Canadian Grown Porridge Oats & Healthy Grains, sunflower seeds, almonds and cranberries, packing four grams of plant-based protein and four grams of fibre in each one! Beyond breakfast, they are perfect as a grab-and-go snack along with yogurt for your morning break or after school for the kids.

JaneDummer-Quiche-20192) Spinach and Artichoke Mini Quiche with Healthy Grains Crust

These mini quiches are filled with heart-healthy veggies, including spinach, artichokes, onions and garlic, plus olive oil. The Rogers Foods Porridge Oats & Healthy Grains crust bakes along with the filling, so there is no need for a two-bake step. In addition, they can be made in advance for an ideal make-ahead breakfast or as part of your on-the-go lunch or evening mini-meal.

JaneDummer-Bites-20193) Chia, Hemp and Ancient Grains Bites

What’s great about these bites is that they only have six ingredients, including 2/3 cup (150 mL) of Rogers Foods Porridge Oats & Ancient Grains with quinoa, millet and flax, plus heart-healthy chia and hemp seeds. These bite-sized balls of goodness can be whipped up in only 15 minutes! Once they are chilled, enjoy them for your snack attacks at work, after exercise class and on road trips with the family.

Jane Dummer is a registered dietitian and expert in food and nutrition. Jane serves as a consultant to the food and beverage industry, including Rogers Foods.

Photo Credits:

Mini Quiche with Healthy Grains Crust; & Chia, Hemp and Ancient Grains Bites – Nicole Cook & Natalia Maurer, sneakymommies.com

References:

    1. Heart Disease in Canada. Government of Canada
      https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/publications/diseases-conditions/heart-disease-canada.html
    1. Risk and Prevention. Heart and Stroke Canada
      http://www.heartandstroke.ca/heart/risk-and-prevention
    2. Wolever TM et al. Physicochemical properties of oat β-glucan influence its ability to reduce serum LDL cholesterol in humans: a randomized clinical trial. Am J Clin Nutr.2010; 92(4):723-32.

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