The study had over 100, 000 participants that it followed for more than 14 years – looking at dietary intake and health. All of the participants were healthy at the commencement of the study (1984) and upon follow up in 2010, over 26,000 had died.
The results showed a markedly decreased risk of death from heart disease in those who consumed whole grains. Many studies have acknowledged that whole grains are fantastic for our health but this study has taken it one step further in concluding that they have the potential to extend our lifespan.
The main outcome of the study? That consuming as little as a small bowel of porridge each day (or other whole grains) can decrease your risk of premature death by five percent and death from heart disease by nine percent! The benefits were still present irrespective of other factors such as body mass index and smoking.
Excerpt from the original article:
“Those who ate the most whole grains, such as porridge, brown rice, corn and quinoa seemed protected from many illnesses and particularly heart disease…
..Scientists found that for each ounce (28g) of whole grains eaten a day – the equivalent of a small bowl of porridge – the risk of all premature death was reduced by five per cent and heart deaths by nine per cent.”These findings further support current dietary guidelines that recommend increasing whole-grain consumption,” said lead author Dr Hongyu Wu of Harvard School of Public Health.
“They also provide promising evidence that suggests a diet enriched with whole grains may confer benefits towards extended life expectancy.”
Previous studies have shown that whole grains can boost bone mineral density, lower blood pressure, promote healthy gut bacteria and reduce the risk of diabetes. One particular fibre found only in oats – called beta-glucan – has been found to lower cholesterol which can help to protect against heart disease. A bioactive compound called avenanthramide is also thought to stop fat forming in the arteries, preventing heart attacks and strokes…
….The new research suggests that if more people switched to whole grains, thousands of lives could be saved each year.
Victoria Taylor, Senior Dietician at the British Heart Foundation, said: ….”People with a higher intake of whole grains also tended to have a healthier overall lifestyle and diet so it might not be the whole grains alone that are having the benefit in relation to cardiovascular disease.”