Eating whole grains has been associated with lower risk of death from heart disease and cancer.
A grain is “whole” when the entire grain seed is retained: the bran, germ, and endosperm. Grains have gotten an unfortunate reputation as “bad carbs” because most people eat them in their refined state stripped of their fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and healthy fats. Refined grains are some of the biggest culprits in our current health crisis. Think white flour, white rice, white pasta, and most boxed breakfast cereals.
Whole grains are a great source of magnesium, fiber, complex carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, and healthy fats. Think whole barley, quinoa, millet, amaranth, brown rice, steel cut oats, stone ground corn meal, and whole grain flours made from wheat, rye, buckwheat, and spelt.
In a comprehensive review of 14 research studies about whole grains, the Harvard School of Public Health made these observations. Eating three servings of whole grains a day was associated with a 25 percent lower risk of death from heart disease, and a 14 percent lower risk of death from cancer, compared with eating one serving or less of whole grains daily. A diet with whole grains was associated with lower blood sugar levels, lower cholesterol levels and lower amounts of body fat. In summary, people who reported eating at least three servings of whole grains daily were 20 percent less likely to die early from any cause compared with people who reported eating less than one serving a day. “Whole Grains Each Day Linked to Longer Life, livescience.com, June 13, 2016.