BOSTON – Eating whole grains regularly may extend your life.
A study on the impact of whole grains such as barley, oatmeal and wheat bread as part of a routine diet has concluded that it can add years to a life.
The study was published online in the January edition of JAMA Internal Medicine.
The research shows that a daily 1-ounce serving of whole grains reduced a person’s overall risk of early death from heart disease by 9 percent, but did not affect a person’s risk of cancer.
The study was based upon research dating to the mid-1980s that involved more than 118,000 nurses and health professionals who filled out food and diet questionnaires every two to four years.
Over the 26 years in the study, about 27,000 people died. Investigators were able to find that about one third fewer people died among the group that ate the most whole grains per day.
What about the whole grains contributed to a lower death rate? Researchers say it is the fiber.
Eating fiber helps to slow digestion and also prevents harmful spikes in blood sugar levels.
Also included in the fiber are important health-boosting vitamins and minerals such as vitamin E and magnesium, as well as antioxidants.
Dr. Adam Graves ND, LAc, who practices at Colorado Natural Medicine, in Castle Rock, Co and specializes in hormones, digestion, pain and fatigue said this study is just one of many that shows increase dietary fiber helps decrease disease.
“By choosing whole grains and other whole foods, not only is there less disease but also an increase quality of life. More and more evidence shows that blood sugar can speed the aging process and by using whole grains that are high in fiber, we can slow the aging process and extend life,” Graves said.
While Dr. Nancy Rao, ND, LAc, at Boulder Naturopathic Clinic in Boulder Colorado adds there are a lot of different things in fiber.
“I do think that grains are important, however whole grains are vitally important — but there are so many different reasons to why, fiber is one of them certainly,” Rao said. “The antioxidants in fiber, depending on what they are like the lignans and flavonoids, the things that are in food, those are definitely going to support healthier cells. That in and of itself works toward mitigating cardiovascular disease.
She goes on to explain that “fiber is one thing, but there are also nutrients in these things especially if they are soaked, toasted and sprouted that are going to release more nutrients.”