HealthDay News — Each one-ounce serving of whole grains can reduce a patient’s overall risk of mortality by 5%, and risk of mortality due to cardiovascular disease (CVD) by 9%, results of a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine suggest.

“Higher intake of whole grains has been associated with a lower risk of major chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes mellitus and CVD, although limited prospective evidence exists regarding whole grains’ association with mortality,” wrote Hongyu Wu, PhD, of Harvard University in Boston, and colleagues.

To examine the association between dietary whole grain consumption and risk of mortality, the investigators collected data from 74,341 women enrolled in the Nurses’ Health Study (1984-2010) and 43,744 men enrolled in the Health Professional Follow-Up Study (1986-2010). All participants were free of CVD and cancer at baseline.

The participants were required to fill out food and diet questionnaires every two to four years, which included questions about their whole grain intake.

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Over 26 years, there were 26,920 deaths among the patients participating in the two studies, reported the researchers. One-third fewer patients died among the group that consumed the most whole grains per day, compared with those who ate the lowest amount of whole grains. However, whole grains did not appear to affect a person’s risk of mortality due to cancer.

“These results are in line with recommendations that promote increased whole grain consumption to facilitate disease prevention,” concluded the scientists.


  1. Wu H et al. JAMA Intern Med. 2014; doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.628