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 dietary and lifestyle factors. No surprise, given that whole grains appear to reduce the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and stroke. Eating more whole grains could save the lives of more than a million people around the world every year.

Consistent with recommendations from leading cancer and heart disease authorities, I recommend at least three servings of whole grains a day in my Daily Dozen. One serving can be considered half a cup of hot cereal, such as oatmeal, cooked grain such as rice, or cooked pasta; a cup of ready-to-eat (cold) cereal; one tortilla or slice of bread; half a bagel or english muffin; or three cups of popped popcorn.

Popcorn is a whole grain that takes less than five minutes to prepare, and there’s an endless variety of savory, sweet, and spicy toppings you can use. I like the combination of chlorella and nutritional yeast. By lightly misting air-popped popcorn with a spray bottle, you can get dry seasonings to stick. I also like to spritz with balsamic vinegar. Be sure to stay away from artificial butter flavorings. Originally, we thought the artificial butter flavor chemical diacetyl was just an occupational health hazard, resulting in the deaths of workers who handled the chemical from a condition that became known as “popcorn lung.” Now we know consumers are also at risk, given a case series of serious lung disease thought caused by butter-flavored microwave popcorn consumption.

For substantiation of any statements of fact from the peer-reviewed medical literature, please see the associated videos below.

Image Credit: Jill Wellington / Pixabay. This image has been modified.

10 videos

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