Health: Pass the popcorn, it’s good for your heart

Posted by Alastair Otter on May 10, 2007
Posted in Food

Including whole grains in your diet – which very few people seem to do – can “significantly” reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, according to research conducted at a US medical school.

“Consuming an average of 2.5 servings of whole grains each day is associated with a 21% lower risk of cardiovascular disease compared to consuming only 0.2 servings,” according to Dr Philip Mellen, the lead author of the research, who was quoted in a press release.

Whole grains don’t appear to be a big part of your average American’s diet, though. “A nutrition survey conducted between 1999 and 2000 found that only 8% of US adults consumed three or more servings of whole grain per day and that 42% of adults ate no whole grains on a given day,” the press release said.

The findings are based on an analysis of seven studies, conducted between 1966 and April 2006, and involving more than 285,000 people.

What is a whole grain?
“A grain is ‘whole’ when the entire grain seed is retained: the bran, germ and the endosperm. The bran and germ components are rich in fibre, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and healthy fats. These are the parts removed in the refining process, leaving behind the energy-dense but nutrient-poor endosperm portion of the grain. Examples of whole grain foods include wild rice, popcorn, oatmeal, brown rice, barley, wheat berries and flours such as whole wheat,” according to the press release.

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