Did you know - regularly consuming whole grains rich in dietary fiber can significantly lower your risk of heart disease?
A grain is considered ‘whole’ when the entire seed (which we call grain) of the plant is used. Whole grain foods are rich in fiber and contain many of the so-called ‘micronutrients’ such as vitamins and minerals our body needs to remain healthy.
On the other hand, refined grains are stripped of the fiber- and nutrient-rich bran and germ portions of the seed and are very poor both in terms of fiber content and nutrition.
Foods high in fiber bind to cholesterol and remove it from the body. Also, they are usually more nutritious and generally healthier. They block production of harmful free radicals and reduce unhealthy inflammation.
It is no wonder that fiber derived from whole grains, fruits and vegetables are the staple of the Mediterranean-style diet that was shown to reduce risk of heart disease by 15% in just 3 months!
And now, according to a new study, eating more whole grain foods lowers risk of heart attack, death from heart disease and other cardiovascular events.
Among more than 149,000 participants in this study, those who ate at least 2.5 servings of whole grain foods every day had a 21% lower risk of a cardiovascular event compared to those who ate 0.2 servings or less.
Regular consumption of high quantities of whole grains may improve insulin, cholesterol and blood pressure regulation - all of which are related to heart disease risk. A diet rich in whole-grains may also have a direct health-promoting effect on blood vessels.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005 recommend eating a total of six ounces of grains every day - with at least three ounces or more coming from whole grain foods. However, fewer than 10% of US adults eat three or more servings of whole grains per day while as many as 42% eat no whole grains or less than one serving per day.
To counter this trend, the study authors recommend eating whole grains at breakfast, lunch, as well as dinner - lowering your risk for diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
So when buying bread, cereal and other grain products look for information on the label that indicates the presence of whole wheat, whole oats, brown rice, barley and other healthy whole grains. Not only that - substitute brown bread and rice instead of white at home and at restaurants that offer a choice.
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