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Whole grains may reduce heart risk

Category: Heart Health and Cholesterol

Individuals who have been shown to have poor heart health through blood pressure and cholesterol tests may want to add more whole grain foods to their diet. A recent study found that these foods may significantly lower the amount of a certain type of fat that can cause heart health complications.

Visceral fat surrounds the organs of the abdominal cavity. Some amount of this fat is necessary to cushion these organs. However, high levels of this fat have been linked cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

For the study, a team of researchers from the USDA administered food questionnaires to nearly 3,000 individuals, then tracked their medical records. They found that participants who ate three or more servings of whole grains each day had up to 10 percent lower visceral fat than individuals who consumed mostly refined grains.

However, the results were strongest for individuals who replaced refined grains with whole grains rather than added whole grains to their diet.

"This result implies that it is important to make substitutions in the diet, rather than simply adding whole grain foods," said Nicola McKeown, who led the study. "For example, choosing to cook with brown rice instead of white or making a sandwich with whole grain bread instead of white bread."
 

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