Benefits of Eating Whole Grains According to New Research

You’ve probably heard that in terms of carbohydrates, whole grains are superior for our health than refined grains. But why? According to a new study published in the Journal of Nutrition, eating at least three servings of whole grains a day can have many benefits over time, especially when it comes to heart health. Here’s what you found.

Study the effects of whole grains.

For this study, the researchers wanted to study the effect of whole grains on certain peril factors for heart health issue (waist circumference, blood pressure, blood sugar, triglycerides and “good” cholesterol).

They examined data from 3, 100 middle-aged people who had participated in the offspring cohort of the Framingham Heart study. These participants recorded their grain consumption over the course of about 18 years and also passed health exams to evaluate the above peril factors throughout the research.

The peril factors were observed during the study, with the researchers looking for associations in the middle of the consumption of cereals—and in the end, whole grains definitely came out on top.

The benefits of whole grains.

The current recommendation for eating cereals is at least three servings of whole grains a day, and in this research, the people who ate this recommendation saw greater benefits than those who did not:

Waist circumference: Those who reached or exceeded the recommended whole grain intake saw their waist circumference less than those who ate less than one serving of whole grains per day. And the participants who eat more refined grains, on the contrary, saw a greater increase in size.

Blood sugar: Participants who did not consume as many whole grains saw, on average, a greater increase in their blood sugar levels compared to those whose whole grain intake was high.

Blood pressure: Similar to blood sugar, blood pressure levels were also lower on average in those who ate their whole grains compared to those who did not reach the recommended daily total.

As Caleigh Sawicki, Ph. D., co-author of the study, said in a press release, there are several reasons why whole grains can affect peril factors for heart health issue and, in turn, help maintain heart health.

“The presence of fiber in whole grains can have a satiating effect, and magnesium, potassium, and antioxidants can help lower blood pressure,” she says. “Soluble fiber in particular can have a positive effect on blood sugar spikes after a meal.”

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