Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Whole Grains Lower Hypertension

By: Elizabeth Somer, M.A., R.D.

Men who are interested in lowering their blood pressure should switch from refined to whole grains. In a study from Harvard School of Public Health, whole grain intakes were measured in a group of 51,529 men ages 40- to 75-years-old enrolled in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. A total of 9, 227 men developed hypertension during the subsequent 18 years. Those men who ate the most whole grains had a 19% lower risk of developing hypertension compared to men who ate little or no whole grains. Researchers at Tufts University found that people who ate whole grains had a lower percent body fat and abdominal fat compared to people who ate few if any whole grains.

In Perspective: Whole grains are good for us, but finding them in the store is not as easy as you might think. Just because a product is laced with a dusting of whole grains does not turn junk into a health food. Look for grains that say “100% whole grain” or “100% whole wheat” on the label. Also, read the ingredient list and choose only products made from whole grains, such as whole wheat, oats, brown rice, or bulgur. The word “wheat” in the ingredient list means white flour, not whole wheat.

Flint A, Hu F, Glynn R, et al: Whole grains and incident hypertension in men. American Journal of Clinical
Nutrition 2009;90:493-498. McKeown N, Yoshida M, Shea M, et al: Whole-grain intake and cereal fiber are associated with lower abdominal adiposity in older adults. Journal of Nutrition 2009;139:1950-1955.

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