Whole Grains Cut Heart Failure Risk
Study Shows Whole-Grain Cereal for Breakfast Lowers Heart Failure Risk in Men
WebMD News Archive
Oct. 22, 2007 -- Starting the day with whole-grain cereal may lower the risk
of heart failure in the long run.
A new study shows men who eat whole-grain breakfast cereal regularly are
less likely to develop heart failure than those who eat it rarely or never.
Heart failure is a condition in which the heart is unable to pump blood as
effectively as it should. The risk of developing heart failure is about one in
five for the average 40-year-old man or woman, the study's researchers say.
Other studies have suggested that a diet rich in whole grains, such as
nonrefined breakfast cereals, can provide a variety of health benefits. But
researchers say it's the first study to look at the relationship between
breakfast cereal and the risk of heart failure in a large group.
If further studies confirm these results, adding whole-grain cereal may be a
relatively risk-free way to reduce the risk of heart failure.
Cereal Fights Heart Failure
The study compared cereal intake and the risk of heart failure among more
than 21,000 doctors who took part in the Physicians Health Study I. The results
appear in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
Information on the participants' diets was gathered throughout the study and
their health was monitored with annual surveys. During more than 19 years of
follow-up, there were 1,018 cases of heart failure.
The results showed that the risk of heart failure decreased as cereal
consumption increased. For example, the risk of heart failure among those who
ate breakfast cereal at least seven times a week was 29% lower than that the
risk among those who never ate cereal, after adjusting for other heart disease
When researchers further analyzed the results they found this healthy effect
was associated with whole-grain cereals only, not with refined breakfast
Researcher Luc Djoussé, MD, MPH, of Harvard Medical School, and colleagues
say the protective effect of whole-grain cereal against heart failure may be
due to the beneficial effects of whole grains on heart disease risk factors,
such as high blood pressure, heart attack risk, diabetes, and obesity.