Whole Grains May Benefit Your Heart

Share Button

This article is courtesy of PRWeb, please share your thoughts below…..

healthyheartWhole-grain foods offer nutritional benefits beyond just the fiber from the outer layer. The nutrients and compounds from all parts of the grain offer a wide range of cardiovascular benefits and have been linked to longer life.

Foods made from whole grains, the hard, dry seeds of plants, have been a nutritional staple for thousands of years. They provide a wealth of heart-healthy nutrients, including fiber, vitamins, minerals, good fats, enzymes, antioxidants, and phytonutrients, according to the April 2015 Harvard Heart Letter.

Eating whole grains instead of highly processed grains has a wide range of health benefits, such as lowering blood pressure, blood sugar, and blood cholesterol, and reducing chronic inflammation. “It is likely that all the components of whole grains work in concert to confer these benefits,” says Dr. Frank Hu, professor of nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

In two long-running studies, Dr. Hu and colleagues found that people who ate about two-and-a-half servings of whole grains a day were about 5% less likely to die of any cause than those who ate smaller amounts. (In this study, one serving of whole grains was one ounce, or 28 grams.) For each additional daily serving, people were about 9% less likely to die of heart disease. The researchers also found that replacing refined grains and red meats in your daily diet with an equal amount of whole grains can potentially lengthen life by 8% to 20%.

The typical American diet is loaded with highly refined grains that have been stripped of many of their nutrients and milled into a fine-textured carbohydrate. These low-quality carbohydrates, which include white rice, white bread, pastries, and other products made from white flour, are easier to cook and store than whole grains. But they lack the nutritional clout of their whole-grain cousins, even when they have been fortified with added vitamins and minerals.

Refined grains also lack dietary fiber, the part of plant foods that the body cannot digest. As fiber moves through the digestive system, it absorbs water and helps the body eliminate food waste more quickly. Fiber helps lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar. It’s also filling, which helps people eat less and perhaps lose weight, which also carries cardiovascular benefits.

Read the full-length article: “Reaping gains from whole grains”

Also in the April 2015 Harvard Heart Letter:

* Yoga’s health advantages may extend to the heart

* Smartphone apps for blood pressure

* High blood sugar’s effect on the brain

The Harvard Heart Letter is available from Harvard Health Publications, the publishing division of Harvard Medical School, for $20 per year. Subscribe at http://www.health.harvard.edu/heart or by calling 877-649-9457 (toll-free).

The Whole Truth About Whole Grains

Share Button

By Kac Young PhD, ND, DCH

riceAre you confused about what a whole grain is? We read boxes covered with marketing hype and clever advertising, but how do we know we are getting the real thing? For heart health it is imperative that we eat more whole grains. Don’t be fooled by catchy terms that do not mean whole grain:

Wheat flour : This is refined white flour missing the germ and the bran.

Enriched white flour : This is refined white flour with some marginal ingredients added back in.

Unbleached white flour : This is nothing but refined white flour.

Bleached wheat flour : White flour.

Wheat bread : Because it’s not labeled “Whole wheat” just “wheat” this is almost certainly plain white bread with little or no whole grain flour, and maybe some caramel coloring.

Whole grain : Seeing “whole grain” on food labels doesn’t necessarily mean that the product is made of whole grain; it may be mostly white flour. Tricky! Read the label.

Made with Whole grains : Often these products contain no more than one type of grain, but it may all be refined flour not whole grain. Read the label to check the content.

Multi-grain : Multigrain means that a food contains more than one type of grain, although none of them may necessarily be whole grains. Same goes for “seven grain” or “nine grain.”

Stoneground : Stoneground has no legal definition, so it’s basically meaningless.

To help you navigate the maze of marketing-hype vs. truth when it comes to whole grains and packaging, here’s some information:

The Whole Grains Council defines whole grains as: Whole grains, or foods made from them, contain all the essential parts and naturally-occurring nutrients of the entire grain seed. 100% of the original kernel – all of the bran, germ and endosperm – must be present to qualify as a whole grain.

If the grain has been processed (e.g. cracked, crushed, rolled, extruded, and/or cooked), the food product should deliver approximately the same rich balance of nutrients that are found in the original grain seed.

Familiar Whole Grains:

The following, when consumed in a form including the bran, germ and endosperm are examples of generally accepted whole grain foods and flours.

Amaranth

Barley

Buckwheat

Corn (including whole cornmeal and popcorn – popcorn without the salt and butter)

Millet

Oats (including oatmeal)

Quinoa

Rice (both brown and colored, non-white rice)

Rye

Sorghum (also called milo)

Triticale

Wheat (including varieties such as spelt, emmer, farro, Kamut®, durum and other forms such as bulgur, cracked wheat and wheatberries)

Wild rice

The next time you are looking for whole grain bread, pasta or cereal, make sure you get the real thing and not just some manufacturer’s “idea” of a whole grain or a PR department’s “spin” of the concept. Take care of your heart. it’s the best friend you have. See how else you can nurture your heart at: HeartEasy.com

– Kac Young, a former television director and producer, has earned a PhD in Natural Health and is a Doctor of both Clinical Hypnotherapy and Naturopathy. She is the author of 10 books. Heart Easy is a system of nutritionally sound, delicious meals that promote heart health, long life and taste great. In the Heart Easy cook book sound nutritional advice is followed by family favorites that have been turned into heart healthy meals that anyone can make and everyone will love. Learn more: HeartEasy.com