Gill Stannard

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

a grain of truth

Below is an abstract of a recently published study showing, once more, that good food keeps you well. Or more specifically, whole grains stop your arteries clogging up (a major cause of heart disease) and also protect you from type 2 diabetes.

Whole grains, the plant foods that still look like they do when they are on the plant, husk and all (or as close to it as we are able to digest), make great winter foods. They also taste good, fill us up with slow release energy, keep our bowels regular and are packed full of nutrients.

Here's a little culinary motivation:

Quinoa is one of my favourite grains, some of the best recipes I've found for this gem is at 101 Cookbooks, also keep an eye out for it's author, Heidi Swanson's, new cookbook.

While you are there, check out what she does with brown rice as well.

Don't forget the joys of porridge on these cold mornings, a generous handful of barley in soups and stews and a millet pilaf for something different.

Study Reconfirms Importance of Whole Grains of Heart Health
By Greg Arnold, DC, CSCS, June 25, 2007,
abstracted from "Whole-grain intake and carotid artery atherosclerosis
in a multiethnic cohort: the Insulin Resistance Atherosclerosis Study"
in the 2007 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

Along with the meteoric rise of type 2 diabetes (T2D) in the U.S.,
with currently more than 18 million Americans affected,1 is the rise
of cardiovascular disease (CVD), which took over 871,000 Americans in
2004.2 With the crucial role that diet plays in health, America's
shift from whole grains to refined grains3 has been thought to be
associated with accelerating the onsets of both CVD and T2D.4

Although the current recommendation for whole grain intake is at least
3 servings per day to promote health,5 Americans "fall far short" of
this.6 Now a new study7 has reconfirmed the importance of whole grain
consumption to help promote health.

In the study, nearly 1600 participants aged 40-69 years who
participated in the Insulin Resistance Atherosclerosis Study (IRAS)8
completed a 114-item food questionnaire. They also had blood tests
done and had an ultrasound of the carotid artery to measure its
thickness. The participants then returned 5 years later to have the
same measurements taken.

The researchers found "a strong, inverse association between
whole-grain intake" and artery thickness as well as insulin
sensitivity. They then compared these results to previous
research(9-11) that found as much as a 25% reduced risk for CVD with
higher whole grain intakes.

For the researchers, "These findings provide further support for the
potential beneficial role of whole grains in reducing atherosclerotic
cardiovascular disease."

1 Diabetes Statistics posted on

2 Cardiovascular Disease statistics posted on

3 Gross LS, Li L, Ford ES, Liu S. Increased consumption of refined
carbohydrates and the epidemic of type 2 diabetes in the United
States: an ecologic assessment. Am J Clin Nutr 2004;79:774 –9

4 Stumvoll M, Goldstein BJ, van Haeften TW. Type 2 diabetes:
principles of pathogenesis and therapy. Lancet 2005;365:1333– 46

5 US Department of Agriculture. Dietary guidelines for Americans
document/html/chapter5.htm 2005 (accessed 29 July 2005)

6 Cleveland LE, Moshfegh AJ, Albertson AM, Goldman JD. Dietary intake
of whole grains. J Am Coll Nutr 2000;19(suppl):331S– 8

7 Mellen PB. Whole-grain intake and carotid artery atherosclerosis
in a multiethnic cohort: the Insulin Resistance Atherosclerosis Study.
Am J Clin Nutr 2007; 85(6): 1495-1502

8 Wagenknecht LE, Mayer EJ, Rewers M, et al. The Insulin Resistance
Atherosclerosis Study (IRAS): objectives, design, and recruitment
results. Ann Epidemiol 1995;5:464 –72

9 Jacobs DR Jr, Meyer KA, Kushi LH, Folsom AR. Whole-grain intake may
reduce the risk of ischemic heart disease death in postmenopausal
women: the Iowa Women's Health Study. AmJ Clin Nutr 1998;68:248–57

10 Steffen LM, JacobsDRJr, Stevens J, Shahar E, Carithers T, Folsom
AR. Associations of whole-grain, refined-grain, and fruit and
vegetable consumption with risks of all-cause mortality and incident
coronary artery disease and ischemic stroke: the Atherosclerosis Risk
in Communities (ARIC) Study. Am J Clin Nutr 2003;78:383–90

11 Jensen MK, Koh-Banerjee P, Hu FB et al. Intakes of whole grains,
bran, and germ and the risk of coronary heart disease in men. Am J
Clin Nutr 2004;80:1492–9

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