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Eating Whole Grains Linked to Living Longer

Jan 05, 2015 05:55 PM EST
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Eating whole grains may be linked to living longer, according to a new study.

According to the American Heart Association, whole grains are those that contain the entire grain, and examples include whole-wheat flour, brown rice, whole oats, whole cornmeal, and popcorn. Healthy adults should consume about 6 to 8 servings of grains, with at least half of the servings coming from whole grain foods. It's also an important source of fiber as well as various nutrients.

"Reading the ingredients of food labels, consumers will know whether the food contains any whole grain contents," senior author Dr. Qi Sun, at the Harvard School of Public Health, told Reuters.

Previous research has associated whole grains to a decreased risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. And now this latest study indicates that it can be linked to longevity as well, especially decreasing deaths due to cardiovascular disease (CVD) - but not cancer deaths.

The new results, reported in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, are based on data of women in the Nurses' Health Study from 1984 to 2010 and men in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study between 1986 and 2010. The authors accounted for factors such as age, smoking, body mass index, physical activity and other dietary habits.

Of the more than 188,000 study participants there were nearly 27,000 deaths by the end of the study.

But according to the researchers, every additional serving (28 grams/day) of whole grains was associated with five percent lower total mortality and reduced the risk of heart disease death by nine percent.

"These findings further support current dietary guidelines that recommend increasing whole grain consumption to facilitate primary and secondary prevention of chronic disease and also provide promising evidence that suggests a diet enriched with whole grains may confer benefits toward extended life expectancy," the study concluded.

For more great nature science stories and general news, please visit our sister site, Headlines and Global News (HNGN).

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