Embracing the plant-based lifestyle in Malaysia

Oats and Cholesterol: Making the Connection

Oats and Cholesterol: Making the Connection

The motivations behind my work as a Plant-based Lifestyle Advocate are numerous, but one that is perpetually driving me is the state of health that majority of Malaysians are in. Malaysia is currently the fattest country in the whole of Asia, with 1 out of 5 Malaysians being obese. The number one killer in the country is coronary heart disease. According to the latest National Health and Morbidity Survey and Institute of Public Health, almost half the population has high cholesterol. And within that half of the population with high cholesterol, almost 40% of them are walking around having NO idea.

When I was invited to attend the launch of a new nationwide health campaign – a partnership between Quaker and The Heart Foundation of Malaysia (Yayasan Jantung Malaysia or YJM for short) – I was keen to learn what it was all about. And I’m excited to be sharing the news, because it could involve you too!

At the launch of the YJM – Quaker Smart Heart Challenge last week, officiated by the Ministry of Health Malaysia.


I was impressed and grateful that out of the three varieties of oat jars avaiable for guests, one of them (the blueberry jar) contained non-dairy milk. Don’t you just love inclusivity?


The YJM – Quaker Smart Heart Challenge is a health intervention programme offered to all Malaysians. What does it involve? Getting your total cholesterol level checked, then consuming 75 grams (about 8 tablespoons) of Quaker Oats every day for 30 days, then taking a cholesterol test again to see if the total level has dropped.


Getting my cholesterol checked! It requires a quick prick of the finger.


The challenge takes place until 30th April, however the pre-challenge check-up must be done by 15th March. If you have a soft spot for free things, get this: as long as you meet all the criteria, joining the challenge is free… AND prizes will go to those with the highest cholesterol percentage reduction.

One of the criteria is that your pre-challenge cholesterol level is high or borderline high (above 200mg/dL or 5.2mmol/L) In a unique situation where failing a test was great news, my level was 4.32.

Although I can’t take the challenge myself, it’s a great opportunity for anyone concerned with their cholesterol levels to try out a positive lifestyle change. Of course, eating oats alone can only do so much. A reduced intake of saturated fats, increased intake of fresh fruits and vegetables, and some good ol’ fashioned exercise can all contribute towards an improved cholesterol reading.


Quaker Oats come in three varieties: Rolled, Quick Cook (ready in 2 minutes) and Instant, depending on what suits your preferences and lifestyle. Quick Cook and Instant are ideal for people on the go, and Rolled Oats take a longer time to cook but is slightly higher in protein.

Oats are an incredible grain to keep in your regular diet. Aside from being a great source of iron, magnesium, calcium and high quality protein, the cholesterol-lowering property of oats is attributed to its high amounts of beta glucan. This soluble fibre passes right through the digestive tract and takes some cholesterol out with it, lowering your cholesterol levels in the process.

If you’re not acquainted with having oats every day, you might find it a little boring quite quickly. However, eating oatmeal doesn’t need to be a humdrum part of life. For the past year or two, I’ve actually been eating oats almost every day for breakfast, and I’ve been finding ways to keep it fresh and exciting.


Here’s a breakfast I made from Quaker Rolled Oats, with some soybean milk powder and spirulina powder stirred in, and accompanied with soaked chia seeds and local fruits. I love blending cold overnight oats and fruits into hearty smoothies too! The variety of local produce in Malaysia is mindblowing, allowing you to make endless fruit combinations and let your creativity shine.


As a savoury meal, oatmeal is an excellent replacement for rice congee. Here I’ve stirred in some turmeric and garlic powder, and topped it with homemade kimchi and fried tempeh cubes. Super yum.

These are merely suggestions and how you wish to eat oats is only limited to your own imagination!

My advocacy motto is ‘The journey to self-love starts with a mindful meal’. If you plan to take up the YJM-Quaker Smart Heart Challenge, I wish you all the best and may it set the tone for a more mindful relationship with food and for more amazing changes to come.

To learn how to join and for more details, visit Quaker Malaysia’s Facebook page or go to www.quaker.com.my.

(This blogpost is sponsored by Quaker Malaysia.)


Related Posts

Simple Energy Bars

Simple Energy Bars

One of the first things I used the oven for as a plant-based eater was energy bars. A lot better to make your own in my opinion, as a lot of the bars you find in grocery stores are ridiculously sweet, are gone in two […]

Go Go Guava Crumble

Go Go Guava Crumble

With Christmas around the corner, I figured that I present a recipe that would not only be delightful to share with loved ones after a comforting meal, but will make your kitchen smell gorgeous too! Crumble is one of the first desserts I ever learned […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *