Increasing whole grain intake even slightly may lower the risk of death from heart disease, cancer and other chronic diseases, according to review published last week in The BMJ.
The new findings echo those from another study released last week in which every additional serving of whole grains cut cardiovascular disease-related death risk by 9 percent and cancer death risk by five percent.
One serving of whole grains is considered one-half cup of cooked brown rice, cooked oatmeal, or cooked 100 percent whole grain pasta, or one slice of 100 percent whole grain bread.
This review covered 45 studies involving more than 700,000 people.
Two servings a day protective
Researchers found the biggest difference in risk between people who ate two servings of whole grains per day and those who ate none. People who got two servings per day had lower risks of coronary heart disease, cardiovascular disease, death from stroke, cancer, respiratory disease, infectious disease and diabetes.
It’s the whole package of beneficial components in whole grains that’s thought to account for their health benefits.
Breakfast cereals, whole grain breads and bran were associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, but specific grain types haven’t been studied in as much detail as whole grains in general.
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