Eating more whole grains is associated with up to 15% lower mortality—particularly cardiovascular disease (CVD)-related mortality, according to a large new long-term study from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
The study also found that bran, a component of whole grain foods, was associated with similar beneficial effects. Bran intake was linked with up to 6% lower overall mortality and up to 20% lower CVD-related mortality.
The study appears online January 5, 2015 in JAMA Internal Medicine.
“This study further endorses the current dietary guidelines that promote whole grains as one of the major healthful foods for prevention of major chronic diseases,” said Qi Sun, assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition and senior author of the study.
Although eating more whole grains has been previously associated with a lower risk of major chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and CVD, until now there had been limited evidence regarding whole grains’ link with mortality. HSPH researchers and colleagues looked at data from more than 74,000 women from the Nurses’ Health Study and more than 43,000 men from the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study who filled out questionnaires about their diet every two or four years from the mid-1980s to 2010.