Additionally, consuming whole grains was associated with reduced risk.
Reduced blood flow to the heart muscle is a hallmark of coronary artery disease (CAD), which is brought on by an accumulation of atherosclerotic plaques in the arteries that supply the heart. When it begins to develop earlier than is typically anticipated, it is deemed premature.
These ages were set at 65 for men and 55 for women in this study. PCAD can cause the coronary artery to constrict or plaques to burst, obstructing blood flow and resulting in chest pain or a heart attack. People who smoke, have high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or diabetes are more likely to acquire this illness.
The 13th Emirates Cardiac Society Congress and the American College of Cardiology Middle East 2022 are hosting a new study this week that reveals a correlation between consuming more refined grains and an increased risk of developing coronary artery disease before their time (PCAD). This study is important since it is one of the first to examine the relationship between heart disease and the type of grain consumed in a Middle Eastern community. All of the study’s participants were Iranian nationals.
A total of 2,099 patients with PCAD who had undergone coronary angiography, or X-ray imaging of the heart’s blood vessels, were gathered by the research team, which was led by Mohammad Amin Khajavi Gaskarei, MD, of the Isfahan Cardiovascular Research Center and Cardiovascular Research Institute at the Isfahan University of Medical Sciences in Isfahan, Iran. A total of 1,168 individuals with healthy coronary arteries were recruited, while 1,369 individuals with CAD had blockages of at least one coronary artery equal to or greater than 75%, or equal to or greater than 50%, in the left main coronary artery. A food frequency questionnaire was used to evaluate their diet in order to determine how much whole or refined grains they were consuming prior to receiving a heart disease diagnosis.
The data analysis revealed that larger intakes of refined grains were linked to a higher risk of PCAD. On the other hand, a higher intake of whole grains was connected to a lower risk. What distinguishes whole grains from processed grains? There is a significant physical difference between whole and refined grains, according to Samantha Snashall, a registered dietician at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center who was not involved in the study.
“Physically, whole grains contain all parts of a wheat kernel (the bran, endosperm, and germ),” said Snashall.
Both the germ and the bran are eliminated from the endosperm during the milling of grains to create white flour. According to Snashall, the removal of these grain components primarily serves to increase the grain’s chewability, texture, and shelf life. Grain might rot more quickly due to the lipids in the germ. Additionally, grain products may become chewier and denser due to the bran’s fibre, which many people find unpleasant. However, this also significantly alters the nutritional makeup of processed grains compared to whole grains.
“Each part of the kernel has different benefits to it,” she noted. “The bran, which is the outer layer, contains a large source of fiber, B vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals,” said Snashall. “The inner layer is the germ. This is where more nutrients such as B vitamins, Vitamin E, healthy fats, and more antioxidants will be found.”
Only the endosperm of the grain is left after the bran and germ have been removed. She pointed out that the endosperm mostly contains carbs, a small amount of protein, and few B vitamins. Whole grains, according to Snashall, are generally healthier for you since they have more nutrients like fibre, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals. On the other hand, refined grains primarily consist of starchy carbs. Additionally, she pointed out that fortification doesn’t actually transform refined grains into whole grains.
“[T]hey won’t have as much as the whole grain counterpart,” noted Snashall. “Nor will they have the antioxidants and phytochemicals that whole grains have.”
When it comes to heart health specifically, she said fiber is an important component of whole grains.
“Fiber helps lower our cholesterol levels, specifically our LDL cholesterol (“bad cholesterol”) which can be impacted by other foods we consume (trans fats and some saturated fats).”
Additionally, refined grains are more likely to be used in foods that contain added sugars, like cookies or pastries, according to Snashall. Sugar is linked to an increased risk of heart problems. She does note, however, that just because something is labeled “whole grain,” this does not automatically make it healthier.
“Whole grain cookies, pastries, and specialty bread like cinnamon raisin can still have plenty of added sugars,” she said.
When you first start consuming more whole grains, Samantha Coogan, Program Director of the Didactic Program in Nutrition and Dietetics at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, advises that you start cautiously and make sure you are drinking enough fluids. The cause? They contain more fibre, particularly soluble fibre. Coogan said that while introducing fibre gradually can prevent constipation, bloating, gas, and pain, it promotes digestive movement.
According to the US Dietary Guidelines, you should get 25 to 34 grammes of fibre daily from whole foods. Approximately 25 grammes per day should be the target for women, while 34 grammes per day should be the target for men, who should aim for the higher end of the spectrum.
“Start with a lower amount at first,” Coogan advised. “If you don’t regularly consume fiber, start with 10 to 15 grams per day, then increase by about five grams every three to four days until you reach your goal, depending on your individual symptoms/comfort.”
According to Coogan, it’s normal to experience some bloating or perhaps constipation at initially. But this will go away when your body gets used to it. If you’re at a loss for what to eat, Coogan suggested switching out white bread for whole grain or choosing brown rice over white as a simple approach to consume more whole grains. She also advises eating popcorn and adding corn to salads and salsas. It’s a much-liked snack food as well as being a whole grain.
The Whole Grains Council suggests that one approach to make sure you are consuming enough whole grains is to search for their seal. Six foods with any Whole Grain Stamp or three foods with the 100% Stamp are equivalent.