Prepared Foods of March 28, 2005 enewsletter

Two small studies reported in the January 2005 issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggest that rice bran oil lowers cholesterol levels in individuals with moderately high cholesterol.

In one study, the researchers found that adding rice bran to subjects' diets lowered cholesterol as effectively as did oat bran-containing diets.

The other study of 14 participants followed two different diets for ten weeks. The researchers noted that cholesterol levels were lowest when the diet consisted more of rice bran oil and less of peanut oil, olive oil, corn oil, canola oil, palm oil and butter.

Previous research has also pointed to the heart-healthy effects of rice bran and rice bran oil, which is most commonly available in Japan and India but may also be found in health food stores throughout the United States.