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health_benefits_of_whole_grains.jpgNot long ago, I reported on new research that suggested you may live a longer, healthier life by adding a mere 28 grams of whole grains to your daily diet. The research was based on robust data spanning 25 years and over 100,000 people. That alone is a pretty good reason to start incorporating whole grains into your diet, but just recently, several more studies have provided further evidence that whole grains are beneficial to your health.

The new studies are meta-analyses, which are studies that scientifically assess prior research studies to develop more valuable and precise conclusions based on data from a larger body of evidence. One of the articles, published in the journal Circulation, carefully selected and assessed fourteen prospective studies, which included 786,076 total participants. The other (pdf), published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), reviewed 45 prospective studies, each with a number of participants ranging from 245,012 to 705,253. Needless to say, a lot of data was analyzed before conclusions were made.

Reduced risk of heart disease, cancer, and total mortality

What the researchers from the BMJ article discovered was that by making just half your grains whole (three 30 gram servings of whole grains/day) there were reductions of 19%, 22%, 15%, and 17% in risk of coronary heart disease, cardiovascular disease, total cancer, and all-cause mortality respectively. Mortality (or risk of death) from respiratory diseases, infectious diseases, diabetes, and all non-cardiovascular, non-cancer causes also went down. The article in Circulation found that for each 16 gram serving of whole grains per day, the risk of cardiovascular related, cancer related, and total mortality were decreased by 9%, 5%, and 7% respectively.

This evidence further supports the Dietary Guidelines for Americans which encourages you to make at least half of your grains whole grains. Don’t stop there, though. To reap the most health benefits, eat an all-around healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, and lean meats, and incorporate two and a half hours of moderate-intensity or one hour and 15 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity every week.

How to get more whole grains in your diet

whole_grain_first_ingredient_listed_b.jpgWhen shopping for whole grains, look for whole grains as one of the first ingredients listed in any grain product you are trying. Incorporate not only traditional grain products like whole wheat bread into your diet, but also venture out and experiment with other whole grains such as quinoa, amaranth, or freekeh.

You can find the following amounts of whole grains in our products:

  • 24 grams in one 2 oz. slice of our Dakota Bread
  • 22 grams in one 2 oz. slice of our High 5 Fiber Bread
  • 25 grams in one 2 oz. slice of our Nine Grain Bread
  • 28 grams in just ½ cup of Groovy Granola
  • 22 grams in ½ cup of dry Cranberry Almond Oatmeal Mix
  • 32 grams in ½ cup of dry Cinnamon Raisin Oatmeal Mix
  • 22 grams in one of our 3 oz. Oat Berry Muffins

Have the results of these studies influenced changes in your diet? If so, let us know! Share your favorite way to get your daily whole grains in the comments.

Download our Guide to Whole Grains for more nutritional information:

Get Our Guide to Whole Grains

Read more about the health benefits of whole grains:

Image credit: © aetb / 123RF Stock Photo; modified by text overlay.

Hi, I am Melissa! I’m a Registered, Licensed Dietitian and I have been the Nutrition Specialist for Great Harvest since December of 2010. I got my start in nutrition at Colorado State University where I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Food Science with a focus in Dietetics. I went on to graduate from the Dietetic Internship Program at the Baptist Health System in San Antonio and then work as a Medical Nutrition Specialist in Houston. My love of the outdoors and the opportunity to work at one of Outside Magazine’s Top 100 Best Places to Work brought me to Montana and Great Harvest. My favorite part of my job is being able to work with an amazing group of fun and intellectual individuals who are passionate about making healthy eating a delicious experience while giving back to communities across the country.