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Healthy-Heart Muffins Lower Blood Cholesterol

A muffin a day might just do the job of keeping the doctor away, suggests a new study conducted by a team of researchers from the University of Queensland (UQ).

Cholesterol-lowering muffins. Photo credits: University of Queensland.

Science and baking have come together to help us stay healthy while we quench our cravings for delicious food! The special cake, called a healthy-heart muffin, has been concocted by Dr Nima Gunness from UQ Centre for Nutrition and Food Sciences. The super muffin is ‘designed’ such that it lowers blood cholesterol, thereby potentially reducing the risk of developing heart diseases.

What makes this muffin so good for your heart? Its ‘bakers’ explain that the magical ingredients are three grams of beta glucans. This substance—a soluble fibre—is naturally found in cell walls of cereals, and another research has shown that its daily consumption (3g thereof) might lead to a lower cholesterol level, says Dr Gunness.

Dr Gunness had previously discovered that beta glucan fibre present in oats was linked with a slower absorption of fats, resulting in a decrease in blood cholesterol. The scientist-baker wanted to use these findings to bake a product such as a muffin with the aim of helping people to have a healthier heart by keeping in check their blood cholesterol level. Thus did her low-fat blueberry muffin recipe see the light of the day.

Now, good news for the public. UQ is endeavouring to commercialise the muffin: the goal is to produce packaged and frozen healthy-heart muffins to be made available in supermarkets and cafés throughout Australia.

It is to be noted that the muffin should not be regarded as a panacea for cholesterol problems. Dr Gunness warns against shifting from cholesterol-lowering medication to the muffin. Rather, she explains that her product is just an effort to make accessible a “convenient, healthy and very tasty way” to lower cholesterol.

“Eating a muffin a day is a convenient way for people to improve their heart health,” says Dr Gunness.

Consumers appear to welcome the idea of a healthy heart muffin.

“I was really amazed by how positive the consumer feedback has been,” says Dr Gunness.
“It’s very exciting to see a simple everyday product come out of some fairly complex research.”

What do you think? Would you want to try a healthy-heart blueberry muffin?!

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