A new study published in the medical journal Journal of Nutrition reveals dietary recommendations that can help you stay healthy over time, even after age 50.
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A team of researchers from Tufts University in Massachusetts examined how consuming a diet containing mostly whole grains versus a menu containing processed (non-whole grains) can affect five risk factors for heart disease:
- Waist circumference
- Blood Pressure
- Blood sugar level
- And HDL cholesterol (“good” cholesterol).
They used information gathered during another study that began in the 1970s and lasted about 18 years, to examine the long-term impact of risk factors. The study included 3,100 participants, most of whom were on average in their mid-50s at the beginning of information gathering. The researchers compared changes in risk factors over four-year periods. Participants were divided into different categories according to the amount of whole grains they consumed; From half a serving a day to three servings and more a day.
They found that those who consumed at least three servings of whole grains a day showed extremely moderate increases in waist circumference, blood pressure and blood sugar throughout the study period, compared with people who consumed less whole grains, who saw more significant increases in these indices. The whole grains consumed during the study were mainly whole grain bread, oats and whole rice.
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The results of the study also showed that every four years the waist circumference increased by an average of 2.5 cm in people who consumed less whole grains – and only by 1 cm in those who consumed more whole grains.
“Our findings show that consuming whole grains as part of a healthy diet brings health benefits that go beyond maintaining weight in old age,” one researcher in the study noted. “In fact, this information suggests that people who consume more whole grains are able to maintain their blood sugar and blood pressure are better balanced over time.” It is important to emphasize that these factors significantly affect the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, which can lead to severe medical complications and premature death.