• Glenn Wilson
    82
    Dr. Greger: Consistent with recommendations from leading cancer and heart disease authorities, my recommended Daily Dozen includes at least three daily servings of whole grains, such as oats. Harvard University’s preeminent twin nutrition studies—the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study—have so far accumulated nearly three million person-years of data. A 2015 analysis found that people who eat more whole grains tend to live significantly longer lives independent of other measured dietary and lifestyle factors.

    A diet rich in whole grains, for example, may yield the same benefits as taking high blood pressure medications without the adverse side effects commonly associated with antihypertensive drugs, such as electrolyte disturbances in those taking diuretics; increased breast cancer risk for those taking calcium-channel blockers; lethargy and impotence for those on beta blockers; sudden, potentially life-threatening swelling for those taking ACE inhibitors; and an increased risk of serious fall injuries for apparently any class of these blood pressure drugs.

    Indeed, eating whole grains appears to reduce the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and stroke. Eating more whole grains could potentially save the lives of more than a million people around the world every year. Take note of the whole, however. While whole grains, such as oats, whole wheat, and brown rice, have been shown to reduce our risk of developing chronic disease, refined grains may actually increase risk.

    More at the NutritionFacts topic page: Oats.


    Less than 3% of Americans meet the daily recommended fiber intake, despite research suggesting high-fiber foods such as whole grains can affect the progression of coronary heart disease.

    Dr. Greger: Fiber continues to be singled out as a nutrient of public health concern. There is a fiber gap in America. These are the minimum recommended daily intakes of fiber for men and women at different age groups; this is how much we’re actually getting. We’re getting only about half the minimum, considered a public health concern for all Americans. Well, not all Americans. Less than 3% meet the recommended minimum, meaning less than 3% of all Americans eat enough plant-based foods–the only place fiber is found–though a nominal 0.1 is thrown in for the meat category, in case someone eats a corndog or nibbles on the garnish.

    If even half of the adult population ate three more grams a day, like a quarter-cup of beans, or a bowl of oatmeal, we could save billions in medical costs–and that’s just for constipation. The consumption of plant foods, the consumption of fiber-containing foods, reduces risk for diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer, and obesity as well.

    The first to make this link between fiber intake and killer disease was probably Dr. Hugh Trowell many decades ago. He spent 30 years practicing medicine in Africa, and suspected it was their high consumption of corn, millet, sweet potatoes, greens, and beans that protected them from chronic disease. This got kind of twisted into the so-called fiber hypothesis, but he didn’t think it was the fiber itself, but the high-fiber foods that were so protective. There are hundreds of different things in whole grains besides fiber that can have beneficial effects. For example, yes, the fiber in oatmeal can lower our blood cholesterol levels so less gets stuck in our arteries, but there are anti-inflammatory and antioxidant phytonutrients in oats that can help prevent atherosclerotic buildup and then help maintain arterial function.

    Continue at NutritionFacts: Can Oatmeal Reverse Heart Disease?

    Maybe you prefer to read the transcript instead of watching this video? To see the full transcript or links to cited sources go to the link above, then scroll below the video and click on View Transcript or Sources Cited.

    More in the category Health and Medical.

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