Eating lots of whole grains has been shown to prevent the development of high blood pressure (BP) or hypertension. While refining grains removes their outer coating, whole grains retain their bran and germ, so they are richer in many nutrients.
The most recent US guidelines recommend that people get at least 85 grams of whole grains daily, and at least half of their grains should be whole grains.
There’s evidence that women who eat more whole grains are less likely to develop high blood pressure, but the role of whole grains in men’s heart health is not clear. To investigate, researchers looked at a study that followed 51,529 American men since 1986, when the study participants were 40 to 75 years old. They looked at a subset of 31,684 men free of hypertension, cancer, stroke or heart disease at the study’s outset. During the 18 years of follow-up, 9,227 of them developed high BP.
It was found that the men who consumed about 52 grams of whole grain daily were 19 percent less likely than the men who ate an average of about 3 grams of whole grains daily to develop high BP during follow-up. When the researchers looked at separate components of whole grains, only bran showed an independent relationship with hypertension risk with men who consumed the most at 15 percent lower risk of high BP than men who ate the least. However, the amount of bran in their diet was relatively small compared to their total intake of whole grain and cereal fibre.
The relationship between whole grain intake and high BP risk remained even after accounting for men’s fruit and vegetable intake, use of vitamins, amount of physical activity, and whether or not they were screened for high cholesterol. The above findings show that whole grain in diet are good for men’s heart, and this link is independent of healthy lifestyle choices, though it’s possible that the men who ate more whole grains gained less weight over time