Article Easy Heart-Smart Choices You Can Make Today

Why whole grains are part of a heart-healthy diet

March 07, 2017

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Silver Hills Bakery

You may be thinking, “I’m far too young to be worrying about my heart” or “I eat healthy, so I won’t have heart problems.” But did you realize that you could face heart disease no matter your age or diet? It’s time to check your plate to ensure you’re making the healthiest choices you can and see what more you could be doing to keep your ticker in top shape. The best part: Simple changes can be both significant and delicious.

Plant-based for Heart Health

Choosing a heart-healthy diet is the number-one defence against heart disease and stroke. As often as possible, avoid high-calorie but low-nutrient sugary, processed foods, trans fats, and red meat. Instead, fill your plate with plenty of colourful, antioxidant-rich fruits, vegetables, nuts, and legumes. Plant-based diets are gaining lots of traction for their health benefits—and rightfully so! Numerous studies have found plant-based diets, especially ones rich in whole grains, are associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular issues1,2,3,4,5,6. And the heart health benefits of a plant-centred diet apply from young adulthood1 to middle age2, and beyond!

Whole Grains for Heart Health

Quality whole grains, brimming with fibre, antioxidants and protective plant-based phytosterols, offer a bunch of benefits associated with lowered risk of heart issues3,5. Sprouting the whole grains enhances these benefits by boosting essential nutrients and reducing digestion-dampening antinutrients. Sprouting further increases soluble fibre, and fibre is essential to nurturing a healthy heart. A study from The Lancet found that folks who ate a high-fibre diet reduced their risk of heart disease by up to 30%6. Fibre-rich whole grains (including sprouted grains!) have also been shown to play a positive role in influencing cholesterol, increasing HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels, and helping to lower blood pressure.

Plant-based diets that are high in whole grains aren’t just better for you, they’re better for your budget too! Eating healthy doesn’t have to break the bank, it’s easier and cheaper than you think. Check out our guide to eating healthy on a budget for tips, tricks, and recipes to help keep your food costs and food waste low.

Every day offers you new opportunities to make heart-smart choices. Just remember to pass on the processed foods and fill up on the plant power from fruits, vegetables, and sprouted whole grains. Isn’t it delicious that these choices happen to be bursting with flavour as well as nutrition?

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1 Choi, Y., Larson, N., Steffen, L., Schreiner, P., Gallaher, D., Duprez, D., Shikany, J., Rana, J., and Jacobs Jr., D., Plant‐Centered Diet and Risk of Incident Cardiovascular Disease During Young to Middle Adulthood. Journal of the American Heart Association, Vol 10, No 16, August 2021. Available from: https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/JAHA.120.020718, accessed February 11, 2022. https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/JAHA.120.020718
2 Kim, H., Caulfield, L., Garcia-Larsen, V., Steffen, L., Coresh, J., Rebholz, C., Plant-Based Diets Are Associated With a Lower Risk of Incident Cardiovascular Disease, Cardiovascular Disease Mortality, and All-Cause Mortality in a General Population of Middle-Aged Adults. Journal of the American Heart Association, Vol 8, No 16, August 2019. Available from: https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/full/10.1161/JAHA.119.012865, accessed February 11, 2022. https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/full/10.1161/JAHA.119.012865
3 P., N.P.V.; Joye, I.J., Dietary Fibre from Whole Grains and Their Benefits on Metabolic Health. Nutrients 2020, 12, 3045. Available from: https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/12/10/3045/htm, accessed January 5, 2022. https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/12/10/3045/htm
4 Satija, A., Hu, F. B., Plant-based diets and cardiovascular health. Trends in Cardiovascular Medicine, Vol 28, Issue 7, October 2018, pages 437-441. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1050173818300240, accessed February 11, 2022. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1050173818300240
5 Seal, C. J., & Brownlee, I. A.,. Whole Grains and Cardiovascular Disease. In Whole Grains and Health, Second Edition, pages 195–203, (Landberg, R., Scheers, N., editors). John Wiley & Sons Ltd., 7 May 2021, doi:10.1002/9781118939420.ch10, accessed January 5, 2022.
6 Springmann , M., et al., The Global and Regional Costs of Healthy and Sustainable Dietary Patterns: a Modelling Study. The Lancet, November 1, 2021, https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanplh/article/PIIS2542-5196(21)00251-5/fulltext#sec1, Accessed January 4, 2022. https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanplh/article/PIIS2542-5196(21)00251-5/fulltext#sec1

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