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Nutrition, Vitamins & Supplements for Seniors

Eating more whole grains lowers mortality, especially cardiovascular

Just one slice of whole grain bread makes significant difference; whole grains may confer benefits toward longer life expectancy

loaf of whole wheat breadJan. 8, 2015 – We have all been encouraged to “eat more whole grains” and now there is proof that we should. Eating more whole grains – the more the better - appears to be associated with reduced mortality, especially deaths due to cardiovascular disease (CVD), but, unfortunately, not cancer deaths, according to a report published online by JAMA Internal Medicine.

Whole grains are widely recommended in many dietary guidelines as healthful food. However, data regarding how much whole grains people eat and mortality have before been somewhat inconsistent.

Learn More at WebMD

How to decipher labels and choose the healthiest bread

By Elaine Magee, MPH, RD, WebMD Expert Column

Every time you eat bread -- be it a bagel, an English muffin, or part of a sandwich -- you've got an opportunity to improve your diet. For most Americans, choosing whole-wheat bread products most of the time is the easiest way to eat more super-healthy whole grains. But when you're standing in front of the bread array in the supermarket, reading the various label claims, just how do you know which is the best bread to buy? 

Choosing the best bread can be confusing. Here are three bread myths that help make it that way:

Bread Myth No. 1: If it looks brown and has the word "wheat" in the name, it has lots of fiber and whole grain.

The Truth: The first ingredient listed on the ingredient label tells the story. If it's "wheat flour" or "enriched bleached flour" (or similar), that tells you white flour was mostly used, not "whole-wheat flour."

Bread Myth No. 2: Breads with healthy sounding names like "seven-grain" or "100% natural" are the best choices.

Read the complete article.

To clarify this obviously valuable information, Hongyu Wu, Ph.D., Harvard School of Public Health, and coauthors examined the association between eating whole grains and the risk of death using data from two large studies:
   ● 74,341 women from the Nurses’ Health Study (1984-2010) and
   ● 43,744 men from the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study (1986-2010).

All the participants were free of cancer and CVD when the studies began.

The authors documented 26,920 deaths.

 

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After the data were adjusted for potential confounding factors including age, smoking and body mass index, the study found that eating more whole grains was associated with lower total mortality and lower CVD mortality but not cancer deaths.

The information of enough to enable the authors further to estimate that every serving (28 grams/per day) of whole grains was associated with 5 percent lower total mortality or 9 percent lower CVD mortality.

One standard slice of commercial bread weighs about 1 oz. and there are 28 grams in 1 oz., according to MyNetDairy. So, for every slice of whole grain bread we consume daily we lower our death risk substantially.

“These findings further support current dietary guidelines that recommend increasing whole grain consumption to facilitate primary and secondary prevention of chronic disease and also provide promising evidence that suggests a diet enriched with whole grains may confer benefits toward extended life expectancy,” the study concludes.

This study was supported by research grants from the National Institutes of Health and Career Development Award from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

The report was published online January 5, 2015 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

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