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Whole Grains for Health

Charlyn Fargo on

Keep the whole grains coming.

Not only do they help with diabetes, but new research finds they may improve heart health as well.

Earlier research has found that higher consumption of whole grains may help reduce your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, according to a study published in the British Medical Journal in July 2020. The study looked at oatmeal, popcorn, whole-grain bread and brown rice, as well as other whole-grain foods also rich in fiber, antioxidants and B vitamins. Using data from 158,259 women and 36,525 men who did not have Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease or cancer when the study began, researchers evaluated the relationship between whole grain intake and Type 2 diabetes over the course of four years.

Researchers found that participants who consumed the most whole grains (one or more servings a day) had a 29% lower rate of Type 2 diabetes compared with those who had less than one serving per month.

New research finds that consuming whole grains, such as whole-grain bread, brown rice and quinoa, over refined grains, such as white rice and white bread, may improve your heart health as well. The November study was published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Researchers found consuming whole grains improved total cholesterol and decreased triglycerides. For every 16-gram serving of whole grains (which is equal to one slice of whole grain bread or a half-cup of brown rice), cardiovascular related deaths declined by 9%. When 48 grams (three servings) of whole grains were consumed every day, rates of cardiovascular death declined by 25%.

 

So, what is a whole grain? It's a grain that has the bran, endosperm and germ. In refined grains, the bran and germ -- which contribute fiber, magnesium, selenium and other vitamins -- have been removed.

The bottom line? Choose brown rice over white; whole-wheat bread and pasta over white; quinoa, wheat germ, oats and stone-ground, whole-grain crackers. Those are choices that can make a huge difference.

Q and A

Q: Because grapes are so sweet, can they be good for you?

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