Eating more whole grains could lengthen your life

A new study shows four servings of porridge or brown rice a day can lower your mortality rate

Eating more whole grains may reduce the risk of premature death, according to a new study by Harvard University.

Analysis carried out by researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health combined results from several studies conducted in the US, UK, or Scandinavian countries between 1970 and 2010.

The findings showed that people who ate 70 grams of whole grains per day had a 22% lower risk of total mortality compared to those who ate little or no whole grains.

The results also found a 23% lower risk of cardiovascular disease mortality and a 20% lower risk of death from cancer.

Havard researchers note that multiple bioactive compounds in whole grains could contribute to their health benefits.

They recommend that people choose foods that are high in whole grain ingredients - such bran, oatmeal, and quinoa - while reducing consumption of unhealthy refined carbohydrates.

The Irish Nutrition and Dietetic Institute (INDI) says a ‘whole grain food’ will have more than half its weight as whole grains and should usually be listed as the first ingredient on the food label.

Whole grains are believed to be much healthier than refined grains as they contain all three parts of the grain kernel.

Their high fibre content may also lower cholesterol production, glucose response, and increase satiety.

Other examples include brown rice, wild rice, buckwheat, bulgar, popcorn, spelt, whole rye and farro.

The Harvard study recommends eating 70 grams of whole grains per day which is roughly four servings.

Examples of one serving include:

  • 100g of cooked / 30g of uncooked 100% wholegrain pasta
  • 100g of cooked / 30g of uncooked porridge
  • 100g of cooked / 30g of uncooked brown rice or other grains
  • 1 slice of 100% wholegrain bread

Previous studies conducted by Harvard have found that whole grains may reduce risk of cardiovascular diseasediabetes, and poor gut health, among other conditions.