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Cereals are staples at the base of the food pyramid as they are known to provide a variety of healthy nutrients. Most of those that are consumed are refined, that is, they have undergone processing that has led to the modification of their qualities, either by delaying their expiration, pleasing the palate or satisfying new consumer trends.
In contrast, whole grains are the entire seed of a plant that is used for food and contain the germ, bran and endospore, such as wheat, oats and quinoa, which are rich sources of dietary fiber and other nutrients. as minerals and antioxidants
BENEFITS OF WHOLE CEREALS
A diet rich in whole grains and cereal fiber is associated with a lower risk of premature death, according to a study published in the open access journal 'BMC Medicine'.
The results also show that fiber from cereals is linked to a lower risk of death to varying degrees for chronic diseases such as cancer, heart and respiratory diseases, and diabetes. Researchers from the Harvard University Public School of Health, in the United States, led by Lu Qi, analyzed the results of the 'NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study', a large cohort study of 566,339 members of AARP, an organization of people 50 years of age and older from the states of California, Florida, Louisiana, New Jersey, North Carolina and Pennsylvania, and the metropolitan areas of Georgia and Detroit.
In 1993, participants were sent a questionnaire to collect information about their health and diet, based on the frequency of intake of various types of food, including portion sizes. Individuals who indicated in their initial questionnaires that they had cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, or end-stage kidney disease were excluded from the study, leaving the sample for this particular analysis in a total of 367,442 participants, who were followed for one average of 14 years.
The authors found that consuming an average 1.2 ounces (34 grams) of whole grains per day was associated with a 17 percent lower risk of premature death compared to those consuming an average of 0.13 ounces ( 3.98 grams).
Even when factors such as health, physical activity and obesity were taken into account, the same decrease was maintained. These experts found that consuming an average 0.4 ounces (10.22 grams) of cereal fibers per day was linked to a 19 percent lower overall risk of death compared to those who ate an average of 0 .07 ounces (2.02 grams).
When broken down by individual chronic diseases, research reveals that high consumption of whole grains is linked to 11 and 48 percent lower risk of death from respiratory diseases and diabetes, respectively.
A high consumption of cereal fibers had a 15 and 34 percent lower risk of mortality from cancer and diabetes, respectively.
As this is an observational study, it is not possible to confirm that whole grains and fiber are causing this reduction in risk, but the team believes that the fiber from cereals found in both types of foods, cereal fiber and grains whole, it can have protective effects thanks to several properties, such as anti-inflammatory.
However, the authors acknowledge that more studies are needed to confirm this.
Our study indicates that consuming whole grains and cereals with fiber can reduce the risk of all-cause mortality and death from chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and respiratory disease. Our findings should motivate future studies, particularly clinical trials and experimental studies, that further confirm the beneficial effects of whole grains and potentially effective components such as fiber and other nutrients, and explore the mechanisms.Lu Qi concludes.