Here’s another reason to eat healthier. A new study finds whole grains, fruits and vegetables will decrease your risk of heart disease and your overall risk of dying. However, the study also reports these foods do not decrease your chance of having a stroke.
The U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans include choosing a variety of fruits and vegetables daily and choosing a variety of grains daily, especially whole grains. While at least five fruits and vegetables are recommended each day, the average American only eats three. Recent studies report a high intake of whole grain foods can protect one from heart disease. However, the research was not clear on fruits and vegetables.
Researchers from the University of Minnesota conducted a study to look at the association between whole grain, refined grain and fruit and vegetable consumption with the risks of heart disease and stroke. Whole grain foods have three parts including the bran, the germ and the endosperm. Most of the nutrients are found in the bran and the germ. A refined grain contains only the endosperm and thus provides fewer nutrients than whole grains.
For this study, researchers used information from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study. The research included data on more than 15,000 people. The participants filled out a food frequency questionnaire to determine dietary intake. The study included information on the participants for more than 11 years.
Researchers report those who ate whole grains had a lower risk of death and a lower risk of heart disease. They also found this positive association with fruit and vegetable intake. Specifically, there was a strong beneficial effect from fruits and vegetables for blacks. The study also found no significant relationship between whole grains, refined grains, fruits and vegetable consumption on the risk of a stroke.
Study authors say this study supports the idea that there is a protective effect from eating whole grain foods and fruits and vegetables. Researchers say this study supports the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans. They point out their data specifically suggests that whole grain foods are more healthful than refined grain foods.