Eating 90 g of whole grain every day—which is equivalent to three servings—lowers your risk for coronary heart disease, stroke and all cancers by around 80 per cent. It also reduces your chances of a premature death from respiratory disease, infection and diabetes.
The extent of the benefits of whole grains underlines the damage to our health that is done from eating processed foods such as white bread and rice.
Whole grains contain the endosperm, germ and bran whereas refined grains have the germ and bran removed during the milling process. Whole grains are good sources of fibre, the B vitamins, and trace minerals such as iron, magnesium and zinc.
In a review of 45 previously-published studies, researchers from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology discovered that eating whole grains—mainly from breads, breakfast cereals and brown rice—reduces our chances of developing heart disease or suffering a stroke, or any cancers.
Earlier studies had shown that whole grains lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and also control weight gain, but they had been unclear about the amounts that needed to be eaten to achieve these benefits.
The Norwegian researchers have not only defined the amount of whole grains—at three servings and up to seven servings a day—they have also discovered the benefits are much broader than had been thought.