Consistent with recommendations from leading cancer and heart disease authorities, my recommended Daily Dozen includes at least three servings of whole grains a day. 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.
People who ate the most whole grains had significantly slower narrowing of two of the most important arteries in our body: the coronary arteries that feed the heart and the carotid arteries that feed our brain. Since atherosclerotic plaque in the arteries is our leading killer, we should not just slow down the process but actually stop or even reverse it altogether, and eating more whole grains, whole vegetables, whole fruits, whole beans, and other whole plant foods can help with that.
The information on this page has been compiled from Dr. Greger’s research. Sources for each video listed can be found by going to the video’s page and clicking on the Sources Cited tab. References may also be found at the back of his books.
Image Credit: Melissa Askew / Unsplash. This image has been modified.
Popular Videos for Grains
All Videos for Grains
IARC: Processed Meat Like Bacon Causes Cancer
How did the meat industry, government, and cancer organizations respond to the confirmation that processed meat, like bacon, ham, hot dogs, and lunch meat, causes cancer?
Do the Health Benefits of Peanut Butter Include Longevity?
Why are nuts associated with decreased mortality, but not peanut butter?
How to Boost FGF21 with Diet for Longevity
Fasting and exercise can boost the longevity hormone FGF21, but what can we eat—or avoid eating—to get similar effects?
How to Increase Your Life Expectancy 12 to 14 Years
What can physicians do to promote healthy, life-extending, lifestyle changes?
Glycemic Index of Potatoes: Why You Should Chill and Reheat Them
If you eat potatoes when they’re cold, as in potato salad, or chilled and reheated, you can get a nearly 40 percent lower glycemic impact.
Do Potatoes Increase the Risk of Diabetes?
Does the link between white potatoes and diabetes extend to non-fried potatoes without butter or sour cream?
How to Heal a Leaky Gut with Diet
The recommended diet for leaky gut treatment. Which foods and food components can boost the integrity of our intestinal barrier?
Plant-Based Eating Score Put to the Test
How can you get a perfect diet score?
Should We Be Concerned About the Effects of Ochratoxin?
The overall cost-benefit ratio for mycotoxins depends on which food is contaminated.
The Benefits of Millet for Diabetes
What were the remarkable results of a crossover study randomizing hundreds of people with diabetes to one and a third cup of millet every day?