Most of us know about the benefits of whole grains in our diets. Eating more whole grains is associated with lower risks of stroke, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. And now, a large, long-term study from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health shows that increased consumption of whole grains is associated with up to 15% lower mortality — particularly mortality related to cardiovascular disease (CVD).
The study, published January 5, 2015 in JAMA Internal Medicine, followed 74,341 women and 43,744 men from the mid-1980s to 2010. Using periodic food questionnaires, the researchers compared the participants’ whole grain intake with mortality data. After adjusting for factors including age, smoking, body mass index, physical activity, and overall diet, the results were clear: Higher whole grain consumption was associated with up to 9% lower overall mortality and up to 15% lower CVD-related mortality.
The study also looked at the impact of swapping one serving of refined grains or red meat per day on mortality. Doing so was linked with lower CVD-related mortality: 8% lower mortality for swapping out refined grains and 20% lower mortality for swapping out red meat.
That’s right folks. Eating a serving of whole grains in place of red meat lowered mortality by 20%. That’s news you can use.
If this grabs your attention and you want to learn more about the benefits of whole grains and how to incorporate them into your diet, take a look at these resources.
- Eat More Whole Grains: The Basics (Eat Drink Better)
- Whole Grains Guide: Recipes, Cooking Tips and Nutrition Information for Healthy, Whole-Grain Foods (Mother Earth News)
- The Whole Grains Council Website
- Eat More Whole Grains: Deciphering the Food Labels (Eat Drink Better)
- Whole Truth About Whole Grains (Vibrant Wellness Journal)
It’s never too late to make a new year’s resolution to eat more whole grains!
Image Credit: Whole Grain Bread via Shutterstock