Wholegrains reduce risk of death from heart disease and stroke
Ruby Prosser Scully
Eating a diet rich in wholegrains is associated with a lower risk of dying from heart, stroke and blood vessel (cardiovascular) disease and dying overall, but does not reduce cancer risk, 2 studies show.
In the research conducted over 25 years, Harvard School of Public Health researchers adjusted the results for lifestyle and dietary factors like age, smoking, physical activity, BMI (body mass index) and overall diet (excluding wholegrains), but they still found those with a greater wholegrain intake had reduced risk of dying from cardiovascular disease.
Each serving (28g/day) of wholegrains was associated with a 9 per cent drop in risk of death from cardiovascular disease and a 5 per cent reduction in risk of death overall.
Replacing one serving of refined grains with wholegrains instead was linked to an 8 per cent lower risk of cardiovascular death and a 20 per cent drop if the wholegrains replaced a serving of red meat. Bran intake showed similar benefits.
Wholegrains did not, however, have much effect on cancer outcomes.
The data came from more than 74,000 women in the Nurses’ Health Study and more than 43,000 men in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study.
The Australian Nutrient Reference Values set adequate intake (AI) levels of 30 g fibre/day for men and 25 g fibre/day for women. They also set a higher level of intake for reducing chronic disease, which is 38 g fibre/day for men, and 28 g fibre per day for women.
Last Reviewed: 03/07/2015
Reproduced with kind permission from 6minutes.com.au.
1. JAMA Int Med 2015; online 5 Jan
2. Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing and NHMRC. Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand, including Recommended Dietary Intakes, 2006. Endorsed 9 September 2005.
Heart disease: reduce the risk
While there are some risk factors that can't be changed, there are others that can be modified to help keep your heart healthy, especially as you get older.
Cholesterol lowering through lifestyle changes
By simply making changes to their diet and activity levels, some people can reduce their need for cholesterol-lowering medicines or avoid them entirely.
Vitamin supplements may do more harm than good
A review looking at the health effects of vitamin and mineral supplements concludes that they give no consistent health benefit with even some evidence for harm.
Animation: effects of smoking
The effects of smoking on your body and your mind can be viewed by clicking the body part on this interactive animation.
Bread in the diet
Breads can include various grains and seeds, and there are many things to look out for when choosing bread, such as the flour, GI, salt and additives. Find out how to make a healthy choice.