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Whole Grain For Your Heart

The results of the 18 year Health Professionals Follow-Up Study show that whole grain may significantly reduce the risk of hypertension in men.

The Health Professionals Follow-Up study is a prospective cohort study which started in 1986 and ended in 2004 and included over 30,000 men. The participants were 40 to 75 years old with no known hypertension, cancer, stroke or coronary heart disease at time of enrollment in 1986.

Over the course of the study, 9,227 cases of hypertension were documented.

The researchers found that the participants with the highest whole grain consumption had a 19% reduction in hypertension risk compared to those with the lowest consumption.

They specifically identified bran as playing an important role in these benefits. When they compared those participants with the highest bran intake to those with the lowest, they saw a 15% decrease in hypertension risk.

Whole grains have been shown to reduce other risk factors for heart disease such as cholesterol levels and blood coagulation. Studies have also shown that people who eat more whole grains tend to weigh less.

You can easily increase your whole grain intake by replacing your refined-grain products with whole grain products. Here are a few easy suggestions:

1. Lose the white bread in your drawer and replace it with whole grain bread

2. Eat a bowl of whole grain breakfast cereal in the morning

3. Substitute half the white flour with whole wheat flour in your recipes for cookies, muffins, quick breads and pancakes

4. Add brown rice, wild rice or barley to your homemade soups

5. Instead of munching on chips, opt for popcorn

By making a few small changes, you can get the recommended 3 servings of whole grain daily and give your diet a big healthy boost.

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