Whole grains keep heart diseases away

The role of whole grains in everyday diet has now been challenged and proved several times throughout the world. Regular servings of whole grains play an inevitable role in conquering over many chronic illnesses like Coronary Heart Disease, Diabetes mellitus type 2, cancer and stroke. Studies have shown that at least one serving per day of whole grains reduces the risk of heart disease by 36%; also an inverse relationship has been seen between the whole grain intake and mortality rates in older subjects.

What are whole grains?

As compared to refined grains that contain only the endosperm layer, Whole grains contain three edible layers- bran, germ and endosperm. Each layer has its own nutritional value and is equally vital for health. The bran is the coarse outer layer and is a rich source of fibre. The germ is the embryo of the plant and contains ample amounts of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and unsaturated fats. The inner endosperm layer is the central portion that is rich in starch along with some amounts of proteins and Vitamin B. The list of whole grains includes popcorn, barley, brown rice, bulgur, corn, flax, oats, quinoa, wheat, and wild rice.

Why are whole grains essential?

Whole grains are goldmines of essential nutrients including vitamins and minerals. They are rich in fiber that helps reduce cholesterol and prevent heart diseases. Recent studies have shown that they are a rich source of Polyphenol antioxidants – substances that help to rid your body of harmful free radicals, highly reactive molecules and ions that can damage your cells. The overall antioxidant rankings of whole grains per serving of cold breakfast cereal, in order, is wheat, corn, oats, and then rice. On the whole, a gram of whole-grain products contains comparable antioxidants to a gram of fruit and vegetables. Whole grains, in fact, are sources of complete nutrition in themselves.

Research Studies that prove

Several research studies have concluded the importance of whole grains for a healthy living. Results of a study that followed 75,000 subjects for up to twelve years showed that those who ate about three servings (about 48 grams) of whole grains each day had a 25% lower risk of heart disease and a 36% lower risk of stroke than those who did not make whole grain part of their diet. Similar studies have shown that consumption of three servings of whole grains per day leads to a 50% reduction of risk of ischemic stroke and a 18% reduction in risk of heart attack. In fact, refining of grains reduces about 93% of nutritional value including essential nutrients such as Vitamin E. Another study showed a decrease in total and LDL or “bad” cholesterol levels by 4.3 and 4.9 percent respectively following consumption of whole meal diet, compared to the refined wheat diet. Whole grains reduce weight, cholesterol and blood pressure, the three key factors behind heart attack thus helping the heart stay healthy.

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