Whole grain foods could help increase longevity

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Scientists from Isfahan University found that eating whole grain foods may reduce death risks and help people live longer.

All whole grain kernels contain three parts: the bran, germ, and endosperm. Each section contains healthy nutrients.

The bran is the fiber-rich outer layer that supplies B vitamins, iron, copper zinc, magnesium, antioxidants, and phytochemicals.

Phytochemicals are natural chemical compounds in plants that have been researched for their role in disease prevention.

The germ is the core of the seed where growth occurs; it is rich in healthy fats, vitamin E, B vitamins, phytochemicals, and antioxidants.

The endosperm is the interior layer that holds carbohydrates, protein, and small amounts of some B vitamins and minerals.

Previous research has found bran and fiber slow the breakdown of starch into glucose—thus maintaining a steady blood sugar rather than causing sharp spikes.

Fiber helps lower cholesterol as well as move waste through the digestive tract. It may also help prevent the formation of small blood clots that can trigger heart attacks or strokes.

Phytochemicals and essential minerals such as magnesium, selenium, and copper found in whole grains may protect against some cancers.

In the current study, researchers aimed to summarize previous studies to examine the link between whole-grain intake and the risk of mortality from all causes, heart disease, and cancer.

They included 20 studies that examined the association of total whole-grain intake or specific whole-grain foods with the risk of mortality from all causes, heart disease, and total and specific cancers.

Nine studies reported total whole-grain intake and 11 others reported specific whole-grain food intake.

The team found in a follow-up period of 5.5 to 26 years, there were 191,979 deaths (25,595 from heart disease, 32,746 from total cancers, and 2671 from specific cancers) in more than 2.2 million people.

A greater intake of both total whole grains and specific whole-grain foods was strongly linked to a lower risk of all-cause death.

Total whole-grain intake and specific whole-grain foods were also linked to a reduced risk of death from heart disease.

The team also found each additional 3 servings of total whole grains/d was linked to a 25% lower death risk from heart disease.

In addition, whole-grain intake was linked to a lower risk of mortality from total cancers.

These findings suggest that whole-grain intake is linked to lower death risks from all causes, including heart disease and cancers.

The research was published in Advances in Nutrition and conducted by Sanaz Benisi-Kohansal et al.

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