Sprouting Rye Increases and Protects Folate

Sprouting rye increases its folate content by 1.7- to 3.8-fold, depending on germination temperature, according to researchers in Finland who studied the effects of different processes on this key nutrient. The scientists also found that thermal treatments – including extrusion, puffing, and toasting – resulted in significant folate losses. However, when the rye was germinated (sprouted) first and then heat-processed, losses were minimized, showing sprouting to be a useful potential tool in safeguarding nutrients during food processing.
The Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, December 13, 2006; 54(25):9522-8.

Whole Grains Cut Children's Asthma Risk in Half

A team from the Dutch National Institute of Public Health and the Environment found that children who ate whole grains were 54% less likely to develop asthma and 45% less likely to develop wheezing than children who did not eat whole grains.
Thorax, December 2006; 61(12):1048-53

Barley Reduces Blood Pressure

For five weeks, adults with mildly high cholesterol were fed diets supplemented with one of three whole grain choices: whole wheat/brown rice, barley, or whole wheat/brown rice/barley. All three whole grain combinations reduced blood pressure, leading USDA researchers to conclude that “in a healthful diet, increasing whole grain foods, whether high in soluble or insoluble fiber, can reduce blood pressure and may help to control weight.”
Journal of the American Dietetic Association, September 2006; 106(9):1445-9

Whole Grains Reduce Weight, Improve Nutrition

Researchers at the University of Rhode Island, in a six-month study headed up by Kathleen Melanson, found that whole grain cereals helped 180 overweight adults lose weight while increasing their consumption of fiber, magnesium and vitamin B-6.
Journal of the American Dietetic Association, September 2006; vol 106(9):1380-8

Whole Grains May Help Reduce Blood Pressure

USDA researcher Kay Behall and colleagues studied a small group of men and women as they followed a 10-week diet where all the grains were whole grains. The subjects, all of whom had slightly elevated cholesterol, showed significant reductions in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure when whole grains were added. They also lost about 1kg during the course of the study– although the whole grain diet was higher in calories than a control low-fat diet with refined grains used at the start of the study.
Journal of the American Dietetic Association, September 2006; vol 106(9):1445-9

Gum Disease Risk Reduced with Whole Grains

The risk of periodontitis, a serious inflammation of the gums that is the major cause of tooth loss in adults, may be reduced by eating more whole grains. Anwar Merchant and colleagues at McMaster University in Ontario studied more than 34,000 men over a 14-year period, and concluded that three to four servings of whole grains daily “may be optimal to reduce periodontitis risk.”
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, June 2006; vol 83(6):1395-1400

Brown Rice, for lower blood glucose in Healthy and Diabetic Subjects

Lower post-prandial blood glucose response can be important both for preventing and for controlling diabetes. In a study at the University of the Philippines, researchers used a randomized cross-over design to compare the effects on blood glucose of brown rice and white rice on 10 healthy and nine Type 2 diabetic volunteers. In healthy volunteers, the glycemic area and glycemic index were, respectively, 19.8% and 12.1% lower with brown rice than with white rice; with diabetics, the same values for brown rice were 35.2% and 35.6% lower than with white rice.
International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition. May-June 2006; 57 (3-4): 151-8.

Whole Grains Cut Triglycerides

Nancy Keim and a team at the USDA ARS Western Human Nutrition Center studied 10 women age 20-45 who ate a whole grain diet for three days, then ate the same foods but with refined grains in place of whole grains. Blood samples at the end of each 3-day period showed that the refined grains diet caused a significant increase in triglycerides and a worrisome protein called “apolipoprotein CIII” (apoCIII), both of which have been associated with increased risk of heart disease. A larger study is underway.
Agricultural Research, March 2006, 20-21

Children Benefit Quickly from Healthy Diet

Overweight children, age 9-15, spent two weeks on an all-you-can-eat diet of whole grains, fruits, vegetables and lean protein, while exercising 2.5 hours each day. UCLA researchers led by Dr. James Barnard reported that in just two weeks the children’s cholesterol levels dropped an average of 21%, while insulin levels fell 30%. Leptin, a hormone thought to be connected to appetite, decreased on average 57%.
Study presented at American Heart Association conference, March 2006

Whole Grains Lower Diabetes, Heart Risk

A joint Danish-American study analyzed diet records and took blood samples from 938 healthy men and women. The team, including Majken Jensen of Aarhus University Hospital and the Harvard School of Public Health, found that those with the highest whole grain consumption had the lowest levels of risk factors in their blood: homocysteine 17% lower, insulin and C-peptide both 14% lower, and leptin 11% lower. Researchers concluded, “The results suggest a lower risk of diabetes and heart disease in persons who consume diets high in whole grains.”
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, February 2006; vol 83(2):275-283

Whole Grains Reduce Elderly Mortality

While many studies have previously shown that whole grains reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome in middle-aged adults, a recent study led by Nadine Sahyoun at the University of Maryland shows for the first time that this benefit extends to older adults. In Sahyoun’s study, whole grains were also linked with a lower overall risk of mortality from cardiovascular disease.
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, January 2006; vol 83(1):124-133

Quinoa, Oats, and Buckwheat: More Satiating

A University of Milan study compared buckwheat, oats, and, quinoa to see if any of them showed promise in helping with appetite control.  In three experiments – one for each grain – subjects’ satisfaction and subsequent calorie consumption were compared, after eating the study grain and after eating wheat or rice. All three study grains had a higher Satiating Efficiency Index (SEI) than wheat or rice; white bread was in fact lowest in appetite satisfaction. Unfortunately, even after feeling fuller from eating the study grains, the subjects did not cut their calories at the next meal!
British Journal of Nutrition, November 2005; 94 (5):850-8.