Health Benefits Associated with Whole Grains

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Jonnalagadda SS, Harnack L, Liu RH, et al.
Putting the whole grain puzzle together: health benefits associated with whole grains–summary of American Society for Nutrition 2010 Satellite Symposium.
J Nutr. 2011 May;141(5):1011S-22S. [Free full text via PubMed Central]

A panel from the General Mills Bell Institute of Health and Nutrition, University of Minnesota, Cornell University, Tufts University, New Castle University, University of California, and University of Illinois reviewed the evidence regarding the health benefits associated with whole grains.

What are whole grains? “Whole grains are defined by the American Association of Cereal Chemists International and the FDA as consisting of the ‘intact, ground, cracked or flaked fruit of the grain whose principal components, the starchy endosperm, germ and bran, are present in the same relative proportions as they exist in the intact grain.'”

The panel found that:

“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 essential macro- and micronutrients, along with the phytonutrients present in whole grains, synergistically contribute to their beneficial effects. Current evidence lends credence to the recommendations to incorporate whole grain foods into a healthy diet and lifestyle program.”

Still, too many people rely on refined grain products for their diet. One of the authors, Dr. Chris Seal, has a practical suggestion for food shoppers:

“When shopping in a supermarket there will be a range of healthy, nutritious whole grains foods, be sure to get them and beware of spurious imitations. After a little time their taste grows on you and refined foods will no longer satisfy you. Soon, only the ill-informed will avoid whole grains foods. Whole grains are not a luxury, and no house is complete unless they are provided at every meal.”

[Read the full report.]

The information on my blog is not intended as a substitute for medical professional help or advice but is to be used only as an aid in understanding current medical knowledge. A physician should always be consulted for any health problem or medical condition.