Researchers found that 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. The benefit was modest. Women who consumed the most whole grains had an 11-percent lower risk of high blood pressure than those with the lowest intakes.
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Whole grains are good sources of fiber and other important nutrients such as potassium, magnesium and selenium. Whole grains include germ, bran and endosperm which contain valuable nutrients. Germ is a part from which a new plant sprouts and is a concentrated source of thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin E, zinc and iron. The germ also contains protein and fat.
Bran forms the outer layer of seed and is a rich source of thiamin, niacin, magnesium, riboflavin, iron, zinc and phosphorus. The endosperm is also called as kernel, make up the bulk of the seed. Endosperm contains most of grain’s protein and carbohydrates and little amount of minerals and vitamins.
According to the studies, whole grains have been shown to reduce the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease by decreasing cholesterol levels. Whole grains also reduce the risks of many types of cancer. Whole grains help in regulating blood glucose levels in people with diabetes.
How to get whole grains?
- Look for whole grain products than refined products. Replace white bread with whole wheat bread.
- Always keep stock of whole grains such as whole wheat cereals, breads, brown rice, and low fat whole wheat crackers.
- Eat brown rice rather than white rice.
- Use whole grains in mixed dishes such as barley in vegetable soup or stews and wheat in casseroles.
- Include a serving of whole grain breakfast cereal in the morning.
Fiber rich whole grains offer two types: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber is found in barley, rye and oatmeal. Soluble fiber helps to reduce cholesterol and decreases the risk of heart disease and stroke. It also slows the absorption of glucose, which is advantageous in stabilizing blood sugar levels.
Insoluble fiber is found in foods such as popcorn, brown rice, pasta, cereals and whole grain bread. It prevents hemorrhoids, constipation and diverticulosis. Before purchasing whole grain products, check the labels. Look for the ingredients to see whether whole grains are present in the product or not.