Whole grains may lead to a health­ier gut, bet­ter im­mune re­sponses

Daily Messenger - - National -

IS­LAM­ABAD: A new study high­lights the ben­e­fits of eat­ing whole grains over re­fined grains, after find­ing that the for­mer may lead to a health­ier gut and bet­ter im­mune re­sponses.

Se­nior study au­thor Simin Nik­bin Mey­dani, Ph.D., of the Jean Mayer USDA Hu­man Nu­tri­tion Re­search Cen­ter on Ag­ing at Tufts Univer­sity in Bos­ton, MA, and col­leagues re­port their find­ings in the Amer­i­can Jour­nal of Clin­i­cal Nu­tri­tion.

There are three com­po­nents that make up a grain - the bran, germ, and en­dosperm. A whole grain con­tains all three com­po­nents, whereas a re­fined grain is pro­cessed so that the bran and germ are re­moved.

Whole wheat, oats, rye, bar­ley, brown rice, and quinoa are all ex­am­ples of whole-grain prod­ucts, while re­fined-grain prod­ucts in­clude wheat flour, white rice, and en­riched bread.

Whole grains are con­sid­ered a key part of a health­ful diet. Ac­cord­ing to the Amer­i­can HeartAs­so­ci­a­tion, they can help to im­prove choles­terol lev­els, as well as re­duce the risk of obe­sity, heart dis­ease, stroke, and type 2 di­a­betes.

Pre­vi­ous stud­ies have sug­gested that whole grains re­duce in­flam­ma­tion to pro­duce such ben­e­fits. Mey­dani and col­leagues set out to in­ves­ti­gate this as­so­ci­a­tion fur­ther with theirnew study, not­ing that re­search com­par- ing the ef­fects of whole grains and re­fined grains on im­mune re­sponses and in­flam­ma­tion has not con­trolled the di­ets of par­tic­i­pants. The 8-week study in­volved 81 healthy adults, all of whom con­sumed a West­ern-style diet high in re­fined grains for the first 2 weeks. For the re­main­ing 6 weeks, 40 of the study par­tic­i­pants con­tin­ued with the West­ern-style diet that was rich in re­fined grains, while the re­main­ing 41 par­tic­i­pants were placed on a Western­style diet that was rich in whole grains.

Im­por­tantly, the team notes that the to­tal en­ergy, to­tal fat, and to­tal serv­ings of fruits, veg­eta­bles, and pro­teins were com­pa­ra­ble in each diet, mean­ing that the only dif­fer­ence be­tween the two di­ets was the type of grains con­sumed.

All meals were prepre­pared by trained staff in line with the Di­etary Guide­lines for Amer­i­cans, and they were de­signed for weight main­te­nance. The team ex­plains that this was be­cause pre­vi­ous stud­ies had shown that in­creas­ing whole grain in­take caused sub­jects to lose weight, which made it hard to de­ter­mine whether re­duced in­flam­ma­tion was a re­sult of whole-grain con­sump­tion or weight loss.

Sub­jects were re­quired to com­plete a food check­list with each meal, en­abling the re­searchers to de­ter­mine how much food each par­tic­i­pant ate.

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