Four studies show the whole grain connection to heart health

Whole Grains

  1. A 1998 study of 34,000 women showed that those who ate at least one serving of whole grains per day had between a 30% and a 36% lower risk of heart disease. (“Whole-Grain Intake May Reduce the Risk of Ischemic Heart Disease Death in Postmenopausal Women: the Iowa Women’s Health Study,” American Journal of Clininical Nutrition 1998 68:248-257).
  2. Results of the Nurses’ Health Study, which followed 75,000 subjects for up to twelve years, showed that those who ate about three servings 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 grains part of their diet. (“Whole-Grain Consumption and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease: Results from the Nurses’ Health Study,” American Journal of Clininical Nutrition 1999, 70:412-419).
  3. Another study published in a 2000 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association found similarly strong connections between whole grain intake and health – including up to 50% reduction of risk of ischemic stroke. (“Whole Grain Consumption and Risk of Ischemic Stroke in Women: A Prospective Study”, JAMA, 2000; 284:1534-1540).
  4. Of the 44,000 men in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, those who consumed about 3 servings per day of whole grains enjoyed an 18% reduction risk of heart attack. (“Intakes of Whole Grains, Bran and Germ and the Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in Men,” American Journal of Clininical Nutrition, 2004, 80: 1492-1499.)

When whole grain wheat is refined to make flour, most of its nutritional value goes down the drain. For example, thirteen key nutrients, including vitamin E, are reduced by as much as 93%. To compensate for this incredible loss, the flour is enriched – but with only five nutrients, creating what many scientists and researchers see as negative nutrition.

What gives whole grains their heart-health power is no doubt a combination of factors. Including lipids, sterols, fibre, vitamins, minerals, and other phytonutrients. What’s known for sure is that processed grains don’t do the job.

So, what does all this tell you to do? Well, to keep your heart healthy you need to find and eat more whole grain foods – every day. Be cautious though. Foods labelled “whole grain” are often devoid of lipids, sterols, and fibre.

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Whole grain evidence continues to pile up?

Whole Grains

Data continues to pour in from studies investigating the amazing health-protecting power of whole grains. The more we look, the more we find that whole grains do things in our diets that other foods don’t, and processed grains like white flour simply can’t. In the January 2006 edition of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (volume 83, issue 1), a study titled “Whole-Grain Intake Is Inversely Associated with The Metabolic Syndrome and Mortality in Older Adults,” shows that older people who eat whole grains regularly had a significantly reduced risk of heart disease and metabolic syndrome and lower fasting glucose levels. Conversely, refined grains were associated with higher fasting glucose and increased risk of metabolic syndrome. This builds on evidence published in 2002, “Effect Of Whole Grains on Insulin Sensitivity in Overweight Hyperinsulinemic Adults” (Am J Clin Nutr 2002, 75: 848-855), that showed a direct whole grain advantage over refined grains when it comes to managing healthy insulin levels.

Metabolic syndrome is characterized by a group of metabolic risk factors in one person. They include:

  1. Abdominal obesity – excessive fat tissue in and around the abdomen.
  2. Blood chemistry imbalances – high triglycerides, low HDL cholesterol and high LDL cholesterol – that foster plaque build-ups in artery walls.
  3. Elevated blood pressure.
  4. Insulin resistance or glucose intolerance (the body can’t properly use insulin or blood sugar).
  5. Prothrombotic state (high risk of clot formation).
  6. Proinflammatory state (increased risk of degenerative diseases).

The idea that a common set of symptoms presenting themselves in a single individual is an important marker for disease risk was discovered by Dr. Gerald Reaven, the eminent medical doctor and researcher from the Stanford University School of Medicine. Dr. Reaven presented his evidence as the keynote speaker of the Arthur Furst Lecture on Nutrition and Disease Prevention at Stanford University in March of 2002.

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Omega-3 and Heart Health – The link is now stronger

Omega 3 capsules

 

The importance of omega-3 fatty acids to human health first appeared as benefits to the heart. They were initially identified as heart-health protectors that helped keep cholesterol balanced, triglycerides low and blood flow easier through veins and arteries.

Decades of research has proven there’s much more to them than that. They are now known to play key roles in the structure and function of the heart and the veins and arteries that make up the entire cardiovascular system. Just how powerful omega-3 fatty acids are for heart health was driven home in a review article published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Vol. 84 pp. 5-17; July 2006).

Researchers looked at a total of 43 studies. Those that made up the largest groups, more than 340,000 participants, reported “significant reductions” in risks to heart health, making a large step forward toward greater assurance of benefits. One study reported that an 850 mg dose of omega-3 fatty acids (EPA & DHA) resulted in a 21% reduction in death from all causes; a 35% reduction in cardiac death and a 45% reduction in sudden death. In their conclusion the Columbia University researchers stated, “We believe that the body of evidence is strong enough to suggest that in the United States, certainly, and in other countries where omega-3 fatty acid consumption is low, public health initiatives are needed to increase intakes.”

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More good news about omega-3’s and heart health!

Omega 3 capsules

Writing in the November 1, 2005 issue of Circulation, the journal published by the American Heart Association, researchers presented a study showing that daily supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids can reduce the risk of fatal cardiac events in high-risk patients. The benefits are seen as lowered risk of unstable or erratic heart beat, specifically ventricular tachycardia (VT) arrhythmias in which the heart beats too quickly, or ventricular fibrillation (VF) arrhythmias in which the heart quivers ineffectively. Maintaining stable and efficient heart rhythm is obviously important at any age, but in older age groups such cardiac events are becoming increasingly more frequent. Looking for safer alternatives to drug therapies and their related side effects, the researchers wrote, “If the present data are confirmed, these (omega-3) fatty acids may also be recommended as a less toxic alternative to usual antiarrhythmic drugs to prevent recurrent episodes of VT/VF”.

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Do you like this article? You could learn more about important nutrients that help keep our blood pressure normal by visiting our site “Nutrients that keep blood pressure normal”. Just click HERE.

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MAIN CAUSES OF HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE (1)

MAIN CAUSES OF HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE (1).

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DOES HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE HAVE ANY SYMPTOMS?

DOES HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE HAVE ANY SYMPTOMS?.

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USING DIETARY SUPPLEMENTS TO MANAGE YOUR BLOOD PRESSURE

USING DIETARY SUPPLEMENTS TO MANAGE YOUR BLOOD PRESSURE.

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