Whole Grains & Coronary Heart Disease, New Research
Title: Intake of whole grains is associated with lower risk of myocardial infarction: the Danish Diet, Cancer and Health Cohort
Author: Helnaes at el
Journal: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2016; 103; 999-1007)
Objective: To investigate the association between whole-grain intake in terms of total intake and intakes of different cereals and myocardial infarction
Coronary heart disease, meaning disease of the blood vessels that supply the heart, is #1 cause of death in the world. In 2008, there were 7.2 million deaths attributed to CHD globally. In the US in 2014, 370,000 Americans died from CHD. That doesn't account for all the people that have heart attacks but don’t die, and have complications from that.
Major risk factors for heart disease that are not modifiable include:
- Age (older = higher risk)
- Gender (Male = higher risk)
- Race (Highest in AA, but most non-caucasian races in US have higher risk and this is thought to be linked to higher rates of obesity and diabetes in these populations).
Major risk factors for heart disease that are modifiable include:
- Tobacco use
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Physical activity
It has been known for a long time that diet plays a major role in the risk of development of heart disease as well as other risk factors for heart disease (hypertension, hyperlipidemia, obesity, diabetes).
Although dietary fiber is known to reduce risk, few studies have looked whole grains and the relationship to coronary heart disease. The authors of this study wanted to to assess how different whole-grains affected the risk of CHD.
This was a prospective study that included 54,871 Danish adults between the ages of 50 and 64, of whom 2329 individuals developed myocardial infarction ( average of 13.6 y of follow-up).
A food frequency questionnaire assessed daily intake of whole-grain products was available from and intakes of total whole grain and whole-grain species (wheat, rye, and oats) were estimated.
When comparing the highest quartile of whole-grain consumption with the lowest quartile of consumption, there was a 25% reduction in men and a 27% reduction in women of risk of a heart attack. HRs: 0.75 (95% CI: 0.65, 0.86) and 0.73 (95% CI: 0.58, 0.91).
Rye and oats, but not wheat, were associated with lower risk in men.
Rye bread (men, women) and oatmeal (men) were associated with significantly lower risk of myocardial infarction, whereas no significant association was shown for whole-grain bread, crispbread, and wheat.
This study reinforces the data suggesting that whole-grain consumption is heart healthy and reduces the risk of myocardial infarction or heart attack in both men and women.
This appears to be especially true for rye and oats.
These foods should be implemented into any heart healthy diet.
Helnaes, A., Kyro, C., & Andersen, I. (2016). Intake of whole grains is associated with lower risk of myocardial infarction: the Danish Diet, Cancer and Health Cohort. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 103(4), 999-1007. doi:10.3945/ajcn.115.124271