by Tamika Seeto
Produced for online by Melissa Mackay
They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but in this case a muffin might do the trick.
University of Queensland scientists hope to cash in on a discovery that the beta glucan fibre found in oats and cereals, can reduce the amount of cholesterol in the blood stream and lower the risk of heart disease.
Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the UQ Centre for Nutrition and Food Services, Dr Nima Gunness combined her research with her love of baking to make the discovery.
“I had a muffin recipe which I modified to incorporate the amount of beta glucen into the muffin so that we can have a reduction in blood cholesterol,” she says.
Almost two thirds of Australians have elevated cholesterol levels.
Dr Gunness hopes to provide a tasty way to help lower this.
“I wanted to put the beta glucen into something that can be healthy and delicious,” she says.
Now Dr. Gunness is working with UniQuest, UQ’s commercialisation company, to make the muffins available in supermarkets and cafes.
UniQuest Director, Cameron Turner, says it is a great way to tackle one of Australia’s most serious health problems.
“Cholesterol is the leading cause of cardiovascular disease, which is the largest killer of people in Australia,” he says.
“What we’re endeavouring to do is to take the fundamental science that the researchers have in how beta glucan works, and then apply it into everyday products.”
Researchers are now working on a range of cholesterol lowering foods.