Scientists develop 'heart healthy' crops.

The Farmers Guardian reports today that scientists at Aberystwyth Universtiy are developing new varieties of oats which could help lessen the danger of heart disease.

The claim is that a chemical called beta glucan helps reduce the danger of heart disease and is found in oats, a crop that can grow successfully in poorer agricultural land and wetter climates such as West Wales.

Research has shown that the chemical can help trap cholesterol and stop it from entering the bloodstream, so experts at the University's Institues of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences are breeding varieties of oats with higher beta glucan content.

“There are clear benefits to human health, with lowering cholesterol the most obvious,” says Athole Marshall, the scientist leading the research.

“This will make oats more attractive as a crop in Wales and other parts of the UK where it has traditionally been grown. Our research will offer new opportunities for farmers."


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