More whole grains may help lengthen life span

Whole grains may help boost life span

A diet rich in whole grains, particularly those high in cereal fiber, may help lengthen your life span, according to a new study.

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Led by Tao Huang, a visiting scientist in the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, researchers analyzed data on over 367,000 AARP members between the ages of 50 and 71 in the prospective NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study. Participants enrolled in the study in 1995 and were followed through 2009. Their dietary intake was assessed with a self-administered 124-item food frequency questionnaire, and participants were asked to report their usual frequency of intake and portion size over 12 months.

Over the 14-year follow-up period, 46,067 deaths were documented in 22 broad categories.

On average people who ate 1.2 ounces of whole grains per day had a 17 percent reduced risk of all-cause mortality compared to those ate less. Those who ate the most cereal fiber had a 19 percent reduced risk of all-cause mortality from any cause compared to those who ate the least.

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The researchers also found that those who ate the highest amount of whole grains had a 48 percent reduced risk of death from diabetes. They also had an 11 percent reduced risk of death from respiratory diseases.

Those who ate the most cereal fiber had a 15 percent and 34 percent reduced risk of death from cancer and diabetes, respectively.

The authors noted that, since the whole grains and cereal fiber intakes were self-reported at a single point in time, it was likely that the participants' dietary habits changed during the follow-up period.

The study was published March 24 in BMC Medicine.

A 2010 study found that women who ate the most bran-rich whole grains had a 35 percent lower risk of death from heart disease and a 28 percent lower risk of death from all causes than women who ate the least.

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