Eating whole grain cereal reduces risk of heart disease

by Jeff Gelski
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ORLANDO, FLA. — Physicians who ate a whole grain breakfast cereal seven or more times per week were less likely by 28% to develop heart failure than those who never ate whole grain breakfast cereal over the course of the observational Physicians’ Health Study Researchers study.

Those who ate whole grain breakfast cereal from two to six times per week were less likely by 22% to develop heart failure. Those who ate whole grain breakfast cereal up to once per week were 14% less likely to develop heart failure.

Analysis of the study was presented March 2 at the American Heart Association’s 47th Annual Conference on Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention. Breakfast cereals that contain at least 25% oat or bran content were classified as whole grain cereals.

If other studies confirm the data, a healthy diet including whole grain breakfast cereals along with other measures may help reduce the risk of heart failure, the researchers said.

Researchers conducted the study from 1982 to 2006. Results did not change with possible changes in cereal consumption over time. Results were assessed at 18 weeks, two years, four years, six years, eight years and 10 years.

"The significant health benefits of whole grain cereal are not just for kids, but also for adults," said Dr. Luc Diousse, M.D., M.P.H., D.Sc., lead author of the study and assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Aging at Brigham & Young Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston. "A whole grain, high-fiber breakfast cereal may lower blood pressure and bad cholesterol and prevent heart attacks."

Of the 10,469 physicians reporting cereal consumption at baseline, 2,873 said they ate whole grain breakfast cereals seven or more times per week, 3,240 said they ate such cereal two to six times per week, and 2,153 said they ate such cereal up to one serving per week. The average age at baseline was 53.7 years.

Grants from the National Cancer Institute and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute supported the Physicians’ Health Study.

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