Whole Grains May Reduce Risk for Hypertension and Weight Gain

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital September 17, 2015

Studies suggest whole grains are healthful and reduce risk for disease and weight gain.

Whole grains are healthful carbohydrates that come from a wide variety of sources and deliver tremendous nutrients and health benefits. While some forms of carbohydrates, such as refined grains, may be unhealthy, research suggests that eating whole grain carbohydrates can prevent weight gain and reduce the risk for some diseases.

A research study by Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) discovered that men who consumed whole grains had a reduced risk for developing hypertension compared to those who didn’t eat them. The 18-year study observed the eating habits of more than 31,000  healthy men aged 40 to 75 years old. At the start of the study, all participants were  without known hypertension, cancer, stroke, or coronary heart disease. Every two years, the men completed food frequency questionnaires to assess their average whole-grain food intake. Compared to men who consumed little-to-no whole grains, men who consumed whole grains, especially in high amounts, had a significantly reduced risk for developing hypertension.

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Eating for a Healthy Heart

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital February 26, 2015

Whole grains are a key part of a heart-healthy diet.

This blog post from the Nutrition and Wellness Service at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) highlights the heart-healthy foods you should eat regularly. Aside from eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, your diet should include:

Nuts

The Science:

Scores of studies show that eating nuts reduces the risk of coronary heart disease. Packed with nutrients, nuts may help by lowering unhealthy cholesterol levels, improving dilation of blood vessels, and combating elevated blood pressure.

What You Should Do:
  • Snack on ¼ cup or a handful of nuts each day.
  • Add them to salads, stir-fries, cereal, yogurt, and side dishes.
  • Aim for lightly salted or unsalted types to limit added sodium.

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Great Gains from Whole Grains

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital September 19, 2013

In our quest to eat fewer carbohydrates, we’re missing out on the health benefits of whole grains.

September is Whole Grains Month. Today’s post, from the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Health-e-Weight program, will help you learn about this delicious and healthy food. In our quest to eat fewer carbohydrates, we’re missing out on the health benefits of whole grains. But what exactly are whole grains? What benefits can we gain from eating them, and how can we work them into our daily meals?

What Are Whole Grains?

Whole grains contain all three edible parts of a grain: the inner germ, the middle endosperm, and the outer bran covering. This makes them rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and a multitude of disease-fighting substances. By contrast, refined grains have most of their germ and bran removed during processing, resulting in a depletion of many of these nutritious compounds.

Examples of Whole Grains:

  • Whole wheat berries, whole wheat bulgur, whole wheat couscous, and other strains of wheat, such as kamut and spelt
  • Brown rice (including quick-cooking brown rice)
  • Corn, whole cornmeal, popcorn
  • Oat groats, steel-cut oats, rolled oats (including quick-cooking and instant oatmeal)
  • Whole rye
  • Hulled barley (pot, scotch, and pearled barley often have much of their bran removed)
  • Triticale (pronounced try-ti-KAY-lee)
  • Millet
  • Teff (reported to be the world’s smallest grain and to have a sweet, malty flavor)

Buckwheat, quinoa (pronounced keen-wah), wild rice, and amaranth are not botanically true grains, but are typically associated with the grain family due to their similar composition. They also are considered whole grains and can be found at health food stores, along with other less common grains.

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