The long-term benefits of whole grains on blood pressure and heart health

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A recent study from Tufts University has brought to light the beneficial impacts of whole grains on health, especially as people enter middle age and beyond.

This research, utilizing data from the long-standing Framingham Heart Study Offspring Cohort, examined how dietary choices influence critical factors related to heart disease risk.

The study compared the effects of whole grains versus refined grains on various health indicators such as waist size, blood pressure, blood sugar levels, triglycerides, and HDL cholesterol.

Over 3,100 participants, predominantly white and initially in their mid-50s, were observed over a period of nearly 18 years.

The findings reinforced the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which advocate for a minimum of three servings of whole grains each day. A single serving might be a slice of whole-grain bread, a half-cup of rolled oats, or a half-cup of brown rice.

The results were quite revealing. Participants who regularly consumed whole grains experienced a significantly smaller increase in waist size—about half an inch—compared to more than an inch among those who ate fewer whole grains.

Additionally, those who included more whole grains in their diets also saw lesser increases in blood pressure and blood sugar levels over the years.

Another interesting aspect of the study was the impact of refined grains on health. It appeared that consuming fewer refined grains was associated with smaller increases in waist size and significant decreases in triglyceride levels, suggesting that not only is it beneficial to add whole grains to your diet, but also to replace refined grains with them.

These findings highlight the importance of whole grains in not only managing weight but also in helping maintain healthy levels of blood sugar and blood pressure, which are crucial in preventing heart disease.

The research, detailed in the Journal of Nutrition, underscores the significant role dietary choices play in our health as we age.

By opting for whole grains over refined ones, we can positively impact vital health markers, contributing to long-term heart health and overall well-being. This study serves as a reminder of the power of simple dietary adjustments in promoting healthier aging.

If you care about nutrition, please read studies that whole grain foods could help increase longevity, and vitamin D supplements strongly reduce cancer death.

For more information about nutrition, please see recent studies about natural coconut sugar that could help reduce blood pressure and artery stiffness, and whey and soy protein may reduce inflammation in older people.

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