The Great Effect of A Whole-Grain Diet on Inflammatory Diseases

rolled-oats-raw What Is the Benefit of a Whole-Grain Diet On Inflammatory Disease?

Women reporting the highest whole-grain intake had >35% reduction in risk of inflammatory disease related death.

41,836 Women 55-69 years old were studied for 17 years. In order to focus on lessor inflammatory diseases, some subjects were excluded for cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, colitis, and liver cirrhosis at the baseline. The present observations support the traditional thought that fiber helps fight inflammatory diseases.

What Do Whole-Grains Do?

Whole-grain foods contain fiber, vitamins, minerals, phenolic compounds, phytoestrogens, and other phytochemicals that could have been removed during a refining process. Many of these compounds can support the antioxidant defense. That means they inhibit oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is an inevitable consequence of inflammation.  In this way, they reduce the damaging effects of chronic inflammation. This may account for the very protective effect on the older women.

The strongest and most statistically robust associations of whole-grain intake to death rates were for respiratory system disorders, especially non-infectious ones.

What Is the Benefit of a Whole-Grain Diet on CHD and Diabetes?

Habitual whole-grain food consumption has consistently been associated with a reduced risk of both coronary heart disease (CHD) and type 2 diabetes. This risk reduction was 28% for CHD death, and it was 20% for incident diabetes in other studies. Therefore, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends an intake of 3 servings of whole-grain products/day. Unfortunately, Americans consume <1 serving/day of whole grains.

What is Wrong With Inflammation?

Short term inflammation is good for addressing tissue damage. However, prolonged inflammation is a serious problem, because it contributes significantly to the severity of a number of diseases, including diseases of infectious origin, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis. (Cardiovascular disease and cancer, are already known to be clearly related to inflammation.) Specifically, inflammation promotes the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and reactive nitrogen species (RNS) to ward off foreign invaders. This ultimately leads to oxidative stress.

What is Inflammatory Disease?

Inflammatory disease as an underlying cause includes most infectious and various chronic degenerative diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, gout, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema, asthma, ischemia-reperfusion, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, type 1 and 2 diabetes, and several types of neurodegenerative diseases. Note that in all of these, the tissue degradation and repair (involving inflammation) causes disease progression.

How Do You Prevent Tissue Injury During Inflammation?

To help, antioxidant therapy has been shown to prevent tissue injury during inflammation. Furthermore, several epidemiological studies have shown that populations whose diets are high in whole-grains have lower inflammatory markers.

Coffee Also Reduces Risk of Death

Daily coffee consumption also cut the risk of death attributed to inflammatory diseases by 28-33%.

In summary, both whole-grains and coffee, having phytochemicals with antioxidant properties, significantly reduce the risk of death from cardiovascular disease and other inflammatory and infectious diseases.

Click here for the original 2007 article in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

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