Bran provides fibre without providing cholesterol

Bran is the outer layer of grains such as oats, rice, barley, wheat and maize (corn). Oat bran became popular in the early 1970s when it was believed diets were generally lacking in fibre. Research has vindicated the benefit of bran in everyday diets as it has a natural ability to lower blood cholesterol and it is particularly useful in this respect. Oat bran is high in soluble fibre which nutritionists believe helps remove cholesterol from the body as well as delaying absorption of food. This delaying action is particularly helpful for diabetics.

For many years, rolled oats was a staple in porridge, muesli and breakfast cereals. But now it has a place in every pantry and is used in all sorts of recipes from savoury to sweet. Rolled oats has some oat bran in it but is not as good a source as pure oat bran.

Per 100 grams consumed, wheat bran has 40% fibre, oat bran 18%, rice bran 26% and barley bran 16%.

Most brans can be sprinkled over cereal, fruit or yoghurt and are useful at breakfast as a way of adding fibre. Bran can be used in breads, pasta, cakes, biscuits, sausages and meat dishes.

Bran is particularly tasty as an ingredient in muffins. The following muffins are low in fat and salt, have no cholesterol and have a medium fibre content.

Muffins(64743)Credit: Wikimedia

Banana and Pineapple Muffins

  • 1 ¼ cups wholemeal self-raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice
  • 4 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 cup oat bran
  • 1 small banana, mashed
  • 150 gram canned crushed drained pineapple
  • 3 egg whites, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons polyunsaturated oil
  • ½ cup pineapple juice

Sift flour, baking powder and spice. Add sugar and oat bran.

Make a well in the centre. Combine banana, pineapple, egg whites, oil and juice. Stir into flour and mix to combine.

Spoon into lightly greased muffin pans. Bake at 200oC for 12 to 15 minutes. Muffins should be golden brown.

SconesCredit: Wikimedia

The following scones can be frozen and reheated just before serving.

Fresh Herb and Oat Scones

  • 1 ½ cups self-raising flour
  • ½ cup instant oats
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 30 grams polyunsaturated margarine
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • ¾ cup skim milk

Sift flour. Place flour, oats and baking powder in a bowl. Rub in margarine until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in herbs.

Make a well in the centre, pour in the milk and mix lightly with a knife until just combined.

Turn mixture onto a lightly floured board and knead lightly.

Press dough out evenly to 2 cm thickness. Cut into rounds using a 5cm cutter. Place scones on a lightly greased tray, brush tops with a little extra milk and bake at 220oC for 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown.

Cheesy Apple Muffins are another delicious recipe using oat bran.

  • 1 ¼ cups wholemeal self-raising flour
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup oat bran
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 green apple, peeled and grated
  • 125 grams ricotta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons polyunsaturated oil
  • ¾ cup apple juice

Sift flour, baking powder and spices, add oat bran and sugar.

Make a well in the centre. Stir in rest of ingredients and mix until just combined. Bake in lightly greased muffin pans at 200oC for 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Have you given up on pizza because of cholesterol issues? The following is low in cholesterol but high in fibre. Just what you need!

Cheesy Spinach Pizza

  • 8 spinach leaves
  • ½ cup unprocessed bran
  • ¾ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 ¾ cups self-raising flour
  • pinch ground nutmeg


  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste (low salt)
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil
  • 100g grated mozzarella cheese
  • 4 finely chopped shallots
  • 2 sliced tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Remove stalks from spinach and shred leaves. Steam or microwave until tender and set aside to cool.

Soak bran in water for ten minutes then stir in oil, flour, nutmeg and a third of the cooked spinach.

Turn onto a lightly floured board, knead lightly and press to fint a lightly greased 30cm pizza tray.

For the topping, combine tomato paste with basil and spread over base. Sprinkle with mozzarella, remaining spinach and shallots. Arrange tomato slices on top and sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake until golden – about 30 to 35 minutes at 200oC.

Banana LoafCredit: Wikimedia

Banana lovers will enjoy this Quick Banana Pecan Loaf.

  • 1 cup unprocessed wheat bran
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3 small mashed bananas
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 60 grams finely chopped pecans
  • 1 ½ cups self-raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice

Combine bran, sugar, bananas and milk. Set aside for five minutes. Stir in pecans, flour and spice. Place mixture in a 23cm x 12cm loaf pan and bake at 200oC for an hour.

If you loved crumbed foods, you'll enjoy the rice bran coating used for these Golden-Coated Chicken Drumsticks.

For 4 servings:

  • 4 x 150g chicken drumsticks
  • plain flour
  • 1 lightly beaten egg
  • 1 tablespoon polyunsaturated oil
  • Rice Bran Coating
  • ½ cup rice bran
  • ¾ cup soft wholemeal breadcrumbs
  • ¼ teaspoon dried ground rosemary
  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Remove the skin from the chicken. Prepare the coating by mixing the rice bran, breadcrumbs, rosemary and Parmesan cheese. Coat drumsticks with flour, dip in the beaten egg and coat well with the crumb mix.

Brush a baking dish with oil. Add chicken and bake at 180oC for an hour. Turn and baste frequently.

Bran pastry makes a delicious shell for a pie or it can be used to make 18 tartlets.

  • 1 cup sifted plain flour
  • ½ cup rice bran
  • 2 tablespoons polyunsaturated oil
  • ½ cup skim milk

For a sweet pastry, add 2 tablespoons sugar and ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg.

Place dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour in oil and milk. Mix to a firm dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured board and knead gently. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for half an hour. Roll out and line a pie plate or use for tartlets. Bake at 200oC for 30 to 35 minutes (for the shell).

I'm sure you'll enjoy these healthy recipes.