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Grains That Can Increase Your Risk Of Getting Heart Disease Early – Finds New Study

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A new study shows which grains make you more likely to get heart disease early and which ones reduce your risk.

A study of the Iranian population found that eating refined grains increased the risk of getting heart disease early while eating whole grains decreased the risk.

In one of the first studies done in the Middle East to look at the relationship between different types of grain intake and early coronary artery disease, researchers found that eating more refined grains was linked to a higher risk of early coronary artery disease in an Iranian population while eating more whole grains was linked to a lower risk.

The researchers claim that prior epidemiological studies have found a link between the consumption of certain types of grains and the risk of coronary artery disease.

The current study assessed the relationship between the intake of refined and whole grains and the risk of PCAD in a population of Iranians.

Atherosclerotic coronary artery narrowing in males or females under the age of 65 is known as premature coronary artery disease (PCAD).

Early in the disease’s progression, it is frequently asymptomatic, but it may cause chest pain (angina) and/or heart attacks with gradual constriction (stenosis) or plaque rupture of the artery wall.

Smoking, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes are risk factors for PCAD.

There are many reasons why people might eat more refined grains instead of whole grains. These reasons vary from person to person, but some of the most important ones are the economy and income, job, education, culture, age, and other similar things, according to Mohammad Amin Khajavi Gaskarei from the Isfahan Cardiovascular Research Center and Cardiovascular Research Institute at Isfahan University of Medical Sciences in Isfahan, Iran.  

“A diet that includes consuming a high amount of unhealthy and refined grains can be considered similar to consuming a diet containing a lot of unhealthy sugars and oils.”

Refined grains, on the other hand, are those that have been milled (i.e., ground into flour or meal) to increase their shelf life, but in doing so they have lost many of their nutritional benefits.

To reduce heart disease risk factors, the 2019 ACC/American Heart Association Guideline on the Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease suggests a diet that prioritizes the consumption of vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, and fish.

The study enrolled 2099 PCAD patients who had coronary angiography (women over 70 and males under 60) from hospitals with catheterization labs in various towns and ethnic groups throughout Iran.

In total, 1,168 individuals with normal coronary arteries comprised the control group, whereas 1,369 patients with coronary artery disease (CAD) with obstruction equal to or greater than 75% in at least one coronary artery or 50% in the left main coronary artery comprised the case group.

In order to analyze dietary behaviors and determine the relationship between whole grain and refined grain intake and the risk of PCAD in people without a history of heart disease, participants completed a food frequency questionnaire.

After controlling for variables, a higher intake of refined grains was linked to a higher risk of PCAD, whereas a higher intake of whole grains was linked in the opposite direction to a lower risk of PCAD.

“As more studies demonstrate an increase in refined grains consumption globally, as well as the impact on overall health, it is important that we find ways to encourage and educate people on the benefits of whole grain consumption,” Khajavi Gaskarei added. “Tactics to consider include teaching improved dietary choices in schools and other public places in simple language the general population can understand, as well as on television programs and by continuing to do high-level research that is presented at medical conferences and published in medical journals. Clinicians must also be having these conversations with each other and their patients.”

The work will be discussed at the American College of Cardiology (ACC) Middle East 2022 Together with the 13th Emirates Cardiac Society Congress, which will take place from October 7-9, 2022 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Image Credit: Getty

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