A diet rich in whole grains can reduce the risk of developing high blood pressure in women.
Besides other benefits, diets rich in whole grains such as oatmeal, brown rice and bran have cardiovascular benefits, as well. A regular intake of whole grains can lower the risk of heart disease and stroke. The fibre and other nutrients in whole grains can help lower cholesterol, blood sugar and insulin levels, as well as improve blood vessel functioning and reduce inflammation in the circulatory system.
To assess the benefits of whole grains, researchers at Harvard University in Boston followed 40,000 U.S. female health professionals since 1992. Upon entering the study, the women completed detailed questionnaires about their dietary habits, including their usual intake of whole-grain foods like brown bread, popcorn, oatmeal and whole-grain breakfast cereals.
The results showed that women who consumed the most whole grains had an 11-percent lower risk of high blood pressure than those with the lowest intakes. Middle-aged and older women who ate the most whole grains were less likely than those with the lowest intakes to develop high blood pressure over the next 10 years. Of the 30,000 women who were free of high blood pressure at the outset, those who ate the most whole grains had a lower risk of developing the condition.
Thus, by replacing refined foods with whole grain foods, one can not only reduce the risk of high blood pressure but also ensure good heart health.
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