Whole Grain Diets Reduce Blood Pressure

A study published in The American Journal of Clinical Medicine more than a year ago confirms that eating just one daily serving of whole grains may help prevent high blood pressure.

How was the study conducted?

The study began in 1992 and was conducted by tracking whole-grain intakes of nearly 29,000 American female health care workers. The subjects were at least 45 years old and were in their early to mid-50s on average. They completed surveys about the foods they ate during the previous year, and  were followed for 10 years, on average.

The researchers concluded that participants who take whole grains everyday have lowered their risks of developing high blood pressure over 10 years by 4%. Meanwhile, a total of 8,722 women in the group were newly diagnosed with high blood pressure.

These findings were not affected by other factors such as age, amount of exercise, frequency of smoking, and other dietary habits. Also, some women may have misreported their dietary habits.

What are whole grains?

Whole grains provide all edible parts of the grain such as husks. These include whole-grain corn, oats, popcorn, brown rice, whole rye, whole-grain barley, buckwheat, and quinoa.

The fiber and nutrients in whole grains may have helped prevent high blood pressure, wrote Lu Wang MD, a member of Harvard Medicine School’s preventive medicine division and one of the researchers to this study.

On the other hand, refined grains such as white bread showed no effect on the women’s odds of developing high blood pressure.

Adding whole grains to your diet

Adding whole grains into your diet comes as simple as, for instance, replacing white rice with brown rice. Your local supermarket may offer a variety of whole grain products including breakfast cereals and breads.

American government dietary guidelines state that whole grains should be at least half of your grains.

Buying the right whole grain products

You need to be observant when purchasing whole grain products. For instance, words such as "multigrain," "100% wheat," and "stone-ground" are not the same a "whole grain." Also, not all brown-colored breads are made from whole grains. Remember to read labels carefully when shopping for whole grains.