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Which grains you consume can influence your chances of developing heart disease sooner?

Researchers discovered that eating refined grains was associated with an increased risk of premature coronary artery disease in an Iranian population while eating whole grains was associated with a lower risk in one of the first studies to examine the relationship between different types of grain intake and premature coronary artery disease in the Middle East. The study will be presented at the American College of Cardiology (ACC) Middle East 2022, which will be held in conjunction with the 13th Emirates Cardiac Society Congress in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on October 7-9, 2022.


Previous epidemiological studies, the researchers claim, have found a link between different types of grain consumption and the risk of coronary artery disease. The current study looked at the relationship between refined and whole grain diets and PCAD risk in an Iranian population. Premature coronary artery disease (PCAD) is defined as atherosclerotic constriction of coronary arteries in males under the age of 55 or females under the age of 65. It is frequently asymptomatic early in the disease's progression, but it can cause chest discomfort (angina) and/or a heart attack when the artery wall narrows (stenosis) or ruptures. Smoking, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes are all risk factors for PCAD.


According to Mohammad Amin Khajavi Gaskarei, MD, of the Isfahan Cardiovascular Research Center and Cardiovascular Research Institute at Isfahan University of Medical Sciences in Isfahan, Iran, and the study's lead author, there are many factors involved in why people may consume more refined grains as opposed to whole grains, and these cases vary between people, but some of the most important factors to consider include the economy and income, job, education, culture, age, and gender. Ingesting a large number of harmful and refined grains is comparable to consuming a high amount of unhealthy sweets and oils.

Whole grains include the full grain, whereas refined grains have been processed crushed into flour or meal to extend shelf life, although they lose vital nutrients in the process. To reduce heart disease risk factors, the 2019 ACC/American Heart Association Guideline on the Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease suggests a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, and seafood. The study recruited 2099 individuals with PCAD from hospitals with catheterization labs in different cities and ethnicities throughout Iran who underwent coronary angiography (women aged ≤ 70 and men ≤ 60). In total, 1,168 patients with normal coronary arteries were included in the control group, while 1,369 patients with CAD with obstruction equal to or above 75% in at least a single coronary artery or ≥ 50% in the left main coronary artery made up the case group.


Participants were given a food frequency questionnaire for dietary assessments in order to analyze dietary habits and the relationship between whole grain and refined grain intake and the risk of PCAD in people who had never been diagnosed with heart disease. After controlling for covariates, a greater consumption of refined grains was linked with an increased risk of PCAD, whereas a higher intake of whole grains was associated with a lower risk of PCAD.


According to Khajavi Gaskarei, as more studies show a rise in refined grain intake throughout the world, as well as the influence on general health, it is critical that we develop ways to encourage and educate people about the benefits of whole grain consumption. Consider teaching better food choices in schools and other public places in basic language that the general people can comprehend, as well as on television shows while continuing to do high-level research that is presented at medical conferences and published in medical publications. Clinicians must also have these discussions with one another and with their patients.


Journal Information: Learn more about ACC Middle East 2022 Together with the 13th Emirates Cardiac Society Congress at ACC.org/MiddleEast2022.
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