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Whole Grains Can Reduce the Risk of Heart Disease


A recent review of epidemiologic literature has consistently shown reduced cancer and heart disease rates in persons with high as compared to low whole-grain intakes.

A team of researchers showed in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that whole-grain intake was associated with a reduced risk of heart disease death. The team, led by Dr. David Jacobs, from University of Minnesota, studied 34,492 post menopausal women aged 55-69, and free of heart disease at baseline in 1986.

There were 438 heart disease deaths between baseline and 1995. Usual dietary intake was determined with use of a food-frequency questionnaire. The results showed that whole-grain intake in median servings per day was 0.2, 0.9, 1.2, 1.9, and 3.2 servings for the lowest 20% to the highest 20% of the total population intake.


A clear inverse association when whole-grain intake and risk of heart disease death existed. Dr. Jacobs stated that a causal association is plausible because whole-grain food contain many phytochemicals--including fiber and anti-oxidants--that may reduce chronic disease risk.

Whole-grain intake should be studied further for its potential to prevent heart disease and cancer. Study recommendations are also consistent with public health dietary recommendations to make bread and cereal a foundation of one's diet, and to emphasize whole grains in this context.

All Natural Muscular Development, January 1999, Vol. 35

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