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Of course, these beneﬁts are most pronounced in the context of an overall healthy diet. No one food – even whole grains – will guarantee good health. It’s also important to remember that some whole grain foods are healthier than others. Plain grains — from brown rice and quinoa to wheat berries –– and whole grain pasta should be a regular feature on your table, with processed grains eaten less often. Sure a whole grain cookie is better for you than a reﬁned grain one, all other ingredients being equal — but it’s still a cookie!
Check out the Oldways website for overall diet information and inspiration about the health beneﬁts of traditional diets, including the Mediterranean Diet.
The main beneﬁts of whole grains
The beneﬁts of whole grains most documented by repeated studies include:
- stroke risk reduced 30-36%
- type 2 diabetes risk reduced 21-30%
- heart disease risk reduced 25-28%
- better weight maintenance
Other beneﬁts indicated by recent studies include:
- reduced risk of asthma
- healthier carotid arteries
- reduction of inﬂammatory disease risk
- lower risk of colorectal cancer
- healthier blood pressure levels
- less gum disease and tooth loss
Summaries of Recent Whole Grain Health Research
To support the deliberations of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, Oldways and the Whole Grains Council have compiled a summary of research on whole grains and health that has been undertaken since the 2005 Dietary Guidelines. This PDF report includes information from almost four dozen studies, largely from 2006 to 2008; it augments an earlier compendium from the Bell Institute of Nutrition at General Mills.
Download the 2009 WGC Research Summary (2.8M PDF)
Link to the Bell Institute website, to download “Whole Grain and Health – Get the Whole Story.”
Putting the Whole Grain Puzzle Together:
Health Beneﬁts Associated with Whole Grains
In April 2010, the American Society for Nutrition brought together researchers to review the evidence regarding the health beneﬁts associated with whole grains. Current scientiﬁc evidence indicates that whole grains play an important role in lowering the risk of chronic diseases, such as coronary heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, and also contribute to body weight management and gastrointestinal health. The ﬁndings were published as a supplement to The Journal of Nutrition in May 2011 and made available as a Free Article.
Download the ASN 2010 evidence review (552K PDF)
Whole Grains and Human Health – an Overview
In 2004 (Nutrition Research Reviews, May 2004; Vol 17: 99-110), Dr. Joanne Slavin of the University of Minnesota published a comprehensive article that reviewed and compiled scores of recent studies on whole grains and health, to show how whole-grain intake is protective against cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity.
Download Slavin’s evidence review (454K PDF)
Thumbnails of Recent Health Studies
As new research appears linking whole grains to better health, we post short summaries of these studies on the Whole Grains Council website. Click here to see thumbnails of a wide variety of recent studies on whole grains and health.