Three servings may be a magical number when it comes to whole grains, a new study shows.
Adding 90 grams — about three servings — of whole grains to your daily diet is associated with a lower risk of a host of potentially deadly diseases, according to a study published in the medical journal the BMJ this week.
Specifically, eating an extra three servings is associated with a lower risk for:
- Developing all cardiovascular diseases
- Dying of cancer
- Dying of diabetes
- Dying of respiratory disease
- Dying of infectious diseases
Three servings of whole grains could be:
- Two slices of whole-grain bread and one bowl of whole-grain cereal
- One-and-a-half slices of whole-grain pita bread
Risk levels continue to fall the more servings a person eats, up to from seven to seven-and-a-half servings per day.
For the study, researchers analyzed data from 45 population studies that investigated the relationship between whole-grain consumption and risk of future illness or death due to certain diseases.
The study is the first to examine exactly how many serving of whole grains you should eat to reap health benefits.
The specific types of whole grains that the study associated with reduced risks of cardiovascular diseases or death from the previously mentioned diseases include:
- Whole-grain bread
- Whole-grain breakfast cereals
- Added bran
On the other hand, eating a lot of white bread, rice or cereals with refined grains was not associated with reduced risk.
Lead study author Dagfinn Aune, a doctoral candidate at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, notes:
“A lot of folks eat plenty of grains, but they choose refined breads instead of varieties with more dietary fiber. Our study suggests that you can reduce the risk of premature death by replacing a big part of the white flour in your diet with whole grain products.”
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Association, whole-grain foods cannot necessarily be identified based on their color or name, like multi-grain or wheat. The federal agency advises that you look for the “whole” grain listed first in the ingredient list, such as whole wheat, brown rice or whole oats.
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