Eating some whole grains every day-such as a bowl of brown rice, porridge, corn or quinoa-will help you live longer and reduce your chances of dying from heart disease.
Every serving of 28 grams of whole grains each day (equivalent to one small bowl) reduces the risk of premature death by 5 per cent and death from cardiovascular death by 9 per cent, researchers from Harvard University have established.
Whole grains retain the bran and germ, and contain 25 per cent more protein than refined grains used in white flour, pasta and white rice.
The Harvard researchers made the connection between whole grains and mortality after they tracked the lives and eating habits of 74,341 women and 43,744 men for 26 years. During the study period, 26,920 participants died, but deaths were far less likely among those regularly eating whole grains. The grains had a protective effect across genders, all age groups, body weight and levels of physical activity. They didn't protect against cancer, however.
Earlier studies have found plenty of other health benefits from eating whole grains. The foods boost bone mineral density, lower blood pressure, promote healthy gut bacteria, and reduce the risk of diabetes. Beta-glucan, a fibre found in oats, lowers cholesterol, while a bioactive compound, avenanthramide, helps stop fat forming in the arteries.
(Source: JAMA Internal Medicine, 2015; doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.6283)