New Study Shows That Bran-Rich Whole Grains Increases Heart Health

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Researchers from Harvard University have completed a study showing once again how important bran-rich whole grains are for our health. Researchers followed 8,000 nurses with type 2 diabetes for almost 30 years. What they found was women who ate the most bran had a 35% lower risk of death from heart disease and a 28% lower risk of death from all causes than women who ate the least.

Compared to people without diabetes, diabetic people have two to three times the risk of heart disease and early death. This new research indicates that eating a balanced diet that includes whole grains can help lower this risk, says Robert Eckel, MD the American Heart Association spokesman.

Eckel is also a professor of medicine at the University of Colorado in Denver stated,
"Many diabetics still believe they should limit carbohydrates, including complex carbohydrates. Certainly refined grains and simple sugars raise blood sugar and should be limited. But it looks like eating whole grains is not only safe, but beneficial."

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Lead researcher Lu Qi, MD, PhD. says that whole grains, especially fiber and vitamin-rich bran, may protect the heart by reducing inflammation in the body. Although the study included only women, Qi says the benefits of eating whole grains probably extend to men with diabetes.

The question is what grains are healthy for us? Nutritionist Marion Nestle, PhD says that popcorn, brown rice, whole-wheat flower, and long-cooking oatmeal are good, minimally processed whole-grain foods.

The American Heart Association recommends looking for the words "whole" or "whole grain" before the grain name in the ingredient list. The whole grain should also be the first product listed. Nestle recommends looking for products that contain at least 5 grams of fiber per serving and that contain only ingredients that are easily recognized. "If you don't know what a lot of the ingredients are, leave it on the shelf," she says.

Meanwhile both men and woman should be eating bran-rich whole grains to reduce the risk of death from heart attack, stroke, and other cardiovascular disorders.

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