Antioxidants in Sorghum High Relative to other Grains and to Fruits

Joseph Awika and Lloyd Rooney, at Texas A&M University, conducted an extensive review of scores of studies involving sorghum, and concluded that the phytochemicals in sorghum “have potential to signiciantly impact human health.”  In particular, they cited evidence that sorghum may reduce the risk of certain cancers and promote cardiovascular health. Click here to download the full paper.
Phytochemistry. 2004 May;65(9):1199-221

Whole Grains Cut Heart Disease Risk

Researchers led by Dr. Mark Pereira collected data on 91,058 men and 245,186 women who participated in 10 studies in the US and Europe. After 6-10 years of followup, the research showed that, for each 10 grams of fiber consumed per day, there was a 14% reduction in heart disease risk and a 25% reduction in risk of dying from heart disease. In short, the cereal fiber in whole grains appears to make heart disease much less likely—and less serious if it does occur.
Archives of Internal Medicine, February 2004; vol 164:370-376

Whole Grains Reduce Diabetes Risk

Dr. Nicola McKeown and fellow researchers at Tufts University found that people who eat three or more servings of whole grains a day, especially from high-fiber cereals, are less likely to develop insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome, common precursors of both Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Diabetes Care, February 2004; vol 27:538-546

Whole Grains Lessen Rectal Cancer Risk

At the University of Utah, a team led by Dr. Martha Slattery found that high intakes of vegetables, fruits and whole grains reduced the risk of rectal cancer by 28%, 27% and 31% respectively. A high-fiber diet (more than 34 grams of fiber per day) reduced rectal cancer by an impressive 66%, in this study of over 2000 people.
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, February 2004; 79(2):274-281

Whole Grains Lower Obesity Risk

As part of the well-known Nurses’ Study, Simin Liu and fellow researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health followed over 74,000 women from 1984-1996, and concluded that women who consumed more whole grains consistently weighed less than women who consumed less whole grains.
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, November 2003; vol 78(5):920-927

Ancient Wheat Breads Digested Differently

Researchers at the Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University, in Frederiksberg, Denmark, compared three different loaves: einkorn bread made with honey-salt leavening; naturally-leavened einkorn bread made with crushed whole grains; and commercial yeast bread made with modern wheat. The naturally-leavened einkorn loaves significantly reduced the gastrointestinal response of GIP (glucose-dependent insulinotrophic polypeptide), a hormone important in controlling insulin secretion.
European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, October 2003; 57(1):1254-61

Buckwheat Provides Prebiotic-like Benefits; Considered Healthy Food

In 2003, a study out of Madrid, Spain examined the high nutrient levels in buckwheat to determine whether it could behave as a prebiotic and be considered a healthy food. (Prebiotics are indigestible food ingredients that stimulate the helpful bacteria in our digestive systems.) Not only did the buckwheat-fed group emerge with a lower bodyweight when compared to the control, some of the best types of helpful bacteria were found, along with a decrease in some types of pathogenic bacteria.
Nutrition Research, June 2003; 23(6):803-14

Commonly Grown Amaranth Highest In Phytosterols

University of Guelph researchers in Ontario, Canada found that amaranth can be a rich dietary source of phytosterols, which have cholesterol-lowering properties.  Of the four varieties tested, the top results came from Amaranthus K343, often called Plainsman, the most commonly cultivated amaranth in the United States.
Plant Foods for Human Nutrition, 2003; 58(3):207-11

Amaranth Leaves Offer Potential Health Benefits

Australian researches conducted a study focusing on Greeks who relocated to Melbourne but maintained their traditional Mediterranean diet.  During this study, the foods selected for nutrient evaluation – leafy green vegetables, figs in season, and various types of olive oil – were those commonly consumed by Greeks living in Melbourne, but not by native Australians.  Of all the commercial and wild leafy greens studied, amaranth leaves were found to contain some of the highest levels of beta-carotene and lutein, even higher than the commercially available chicory and endive.
European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, November 2002; 56(11):1149-54

Barley’s Slow Digestion may help Weight Control

Barley varieties such as Prowashonupana that are especially high in beta-glucan fiber may digest more slowly than standard barley varieties. Researchers at USDA and the Texas Children’s Hospital compared the two and concluded that Prowashonupana may indeed be especially appropriate for obese and diabetic patients.
Journal of Nutrition, September 2002; 132(9):2593-6

Oats Lower Bad Cholesterol

Researchers at Colorado State University randomly assigned thirty-six overweight middle-aged men to eat either an oat or wheat cereal daily for twelve weeks. At the end of the three-month period, the men eating the oat cereal had lower concentrations of small, dense LDL cholesterol (thought to be particularly dangerous) and lower LDL overall, compared to those in the wheat group, while their HDL (“good”) cholesterol was unchanged.
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, August 2002; 76(2):351-8

Oats Help Control Blood Pressure

Using a randomized, controlled parallel-group pilot study, researchers followed 18 hypertensive and hyperinsulemic men and women for six weeks, while half of them ate oat cereal (5.52g/day of beta-glucan) and the others ate a lower-fiber cereal (less than 1g total fiber). The oat group enjoyed a 7.5mm Hg reduction in systolic blood pressure and a 5.5 mm Hg reduction in diastolic blood pressure, while the wheat group was unchanged.
Journal of Family Practice, April 2002; 51(4):369