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Eating refined grains has been linked to premature heart disease whereas consuming whole grains can reduce the risk, according to studies done by Iran’s Isfahan Cardiovascular Research Center and Cardiovascular Research Institute at Isfahan University of Medical Sciences.

What to know:

  • Premature coronary artery disease (PCAD) refers to atherosclerotic narrowing of coronary arteries in men younger than age 55 years or in women younger than age 65 and it is often asymptomatic early in the course of the disease.

  • A food questionnaire given to more than 4600 Iranians (including those deemed healthy, estate medicine cabinets some with PCAD, and others diagnosed with coronary artery disease) found a higher intake of refined grains was associated with an increased risk for PCAD, whereas whole grain intake was inversely related to reduced risk of PCAD.

  • Whole grains are defined as containing the entire grain, whereas refined grains have been milled and ground into flour or meal to improve shelf life while losing important nutrients in the process.

  • A diet that includes consuming a high amount of unhealthy and refined grains can be considered similar to consuming a diet containing a lot of unhealthy sugars and oils.

  • Some of the factors involved in why people may be consuming more refined grains as opposed to whole grains include the economy and income, education, culture, age, and other similar considerations.

This is a summary of the article, “Which Grains You Eat Can Impact Your Risk of Getting Heart Disease Earlier,” presented to the 13th Emirates Cardiac Society Congress in Dubai this past October. The full article can be found on

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