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Saturday, 04 June 2011 17:07

Pop corn can protect your heart...

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 popcornPopcorn can protect your heart!!!!

Whole grains every day, keeps heart disease away.
“Popcorn, a whole grain, can be a healthy snack with little or no added salt and butter”.      According to researchers of wake forest University school of Medicine, A diet high in whole grain foods is associated with a significantly lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke. You may be eating whole grains when you munch popcorn in the theatre or enjoy a bowl of hot oatmeal without knowingly that these are whole grains.  Pop corn, included in the list of whole grain, can also help you to keep your heart healthy, by reducing the risk of the heart disease. The list of beneficial whole grains includes grains like wheat, corn, rice, oats, barley and popcorn!

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  • More than seven large prospective cohort studies have concluded that the high intake of whole grains is associated with significant reductions in Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) risk. Those who consumes on an average three servings of whole grains daily had 20-30% lower risk of developing CHD than those, with the lower or none intake of it.

The whole-grain foods consumed in the above mentioned studies included dark bread, whole-grain breakfast cereals, popcorn, cooked oatmeal, brown rice, bran, barley, and other grains like bulgar and kasha.

Below mention are some studies that confirm and support the relation of whole grains and reduced risk of heart diseases.

  • A study that followed more than 85,000 male physicians for five years found that those who consumed at least one serving of whole-grain had 20% less risk of death due to cardio vascular diseases than those who rarely or never consumed whole- grain cereal.
  • A recent study in a multi-ethnic cohort found that whole-grain intake was inversely associated with intimal medial thickness of the common carotid artery, a marker for atherosclerosis.
  • Higher intakes of whole grains have also been associated with a decreased risk of ischemic stroke (a stroke caused by the obstruction of a blood vessel that supplies the brain).
  • A study that followed more than 75,000 women participating in the Nurses’ Health Study for 12 years found that women who consumed an average of almost three servings of whole grains daily had a risk of ischemic stroke that was more than 30% lower than women who rarely consumed whole grains. 

Eating whole instead of refined grains substantially lowers total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or bad) cholesterol, triglycerides, and insulin levels with consequent reduction in the risk of cardiovascular disease. In addition to this, whole grains are also known to help in reducing body weight, which is one of the important factors in reducing the risk of heart disease.

How does the whole grains help to reduce heart disease? 

Some Potentially Beneficial Compounds in Whole Grains





Unsaturated Fats




Vitamin E






The health benefits of whole grains are not entirely explained by the individual contributions of the nutrients and phytochemicals they contain. Whole grains represent a unique package of energy, micronutrients, and phytochemicals that work synergistically to promote health and prevent disease. The whole grains provide complex carbohydrates, resistant starch, dietary fiber, minerals, vitamins, phytochemicals, and other substances.

1, Wholegrain is high in both soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber dissolves in the water within bowels and binds to certain fats. Since fiber cannot be absorbed by the body, it binds with the fat. Insoluble fat speeds up the movement of food within bowel and pass it out faster. This prevents fats from being broken down over long periods and absorbed into the system. This can assist with reducing cholesterol, which ultimately reduces the risk of heart diseases.

 2, Whole grains are a potent source of numerous antioxidant compounds that may help to inhibit oxidative damage. 

3, the phytoestrogens from whole grains share properties with soy isoflavones. On the basis of available evidence largely related to soy isoflavones, one can postulate that whole grains may reduce risk of CHD through favorable effects on lipids; whole grains may also reduce the risk of CHD through antithrombotic and decreased platelet-aggregating effects. Coagulation and fibrinolysis control the formation and resolution of fibrin and may affect risk of atherogenesis and thrombogenesis. Thus the presence of phytoestrogens, different antioxidants and high fibers in whole grains, collectively helps to protect and reduce the cardio vascular disease through their antioxidant properties, antithrombotic and decreased platelet-aggregating effects, and favorable effects on vascular reactivity.

4, the phytochemicals, phytoestrogens or fatty acids present in whole grain cereals (especially bran) are found to have insulin –sensitizing effects. The intake of whole grain appears to reduce insulin resistance the major health hazard of western countries. It had been found that cereal fiber intake significantly reduces risk of developing diabetes.

5, Obesity, the common and the contributing factor of causing heart disease also can be controlled with whole grains, as the fibers, present in it are not digested by body that makes one to feel full for longer, without feeling hungry. Thus whole grains are proved to be very effective for reducing weight and control obesity.

The whole grains

Grains are seeds of plants belonging to the grass familyWhole-grain foods contain three edible parts: bran, germ, and endosperm. The bran is the coarse outer layer—an excellent source of fiber. The germ is the embryo of the plant and is rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and unsaturated fats. The endosperm is the central starchy portion that contains carbohydrates, along with some protein and B vitamins.

Common Types of Whole Grains:

  • wild rice
  • brown rice
  • whole wheat
  • oatmeal
  • whole oats
  • barley
  • whole rye
  • bulgar
  • popcorn

Less Common Types of Whole Grains:

  • amaranth
  • millet
  • quinoa
  • sorghum
  • triticale

Whole grains vs. refined grains

A slice of commercially prepared white bread has 66 calories, 1.9 grams protein and 0.6 grams fiber. A slice of whole-wheat bread has 69 calories and provides 3.6 grams protein and 1.9 grams fiber. This proves that the whole grain is better nutrient supplier.

Whole grains become richest source of fibers as their bran and germ are intact and had been not removed by milling. Refined grains, such as white rice or white flour, have both the bran and germ removed from the grain. Although vitamins and minerals are added back into refined grains after the milling process, they still don't have as many nutrients as whole grains do, and they don't provide as much fiber naturally.

Steps to include the whole grain in a routine diet for heart health

It's easier, than you think to increase your whole grain intake for heart health. It can be achieved by making certain changes in routine food habits. Aim for three servings of whole grains daily. Following easy steps will serve the purpose.

  • Add whole grains to breakfast. Substitute whole grain bread for refined one. A slice of whole-grain bread, a half-cup of hot cereal, an ounce of cold whole-grain breakfast cereal, one whole-grain muffin, roll or half of a whole grain bagel all provide one serving of whole grains. 
  • Lunch- try to add whole grains like barley to hot soups in the winter and to salads in the summer. One can have wholegrain bread sandwiches or whole –grain crackers with salad or soup.5 square whole grain crackers or 3 whole grain crisp bread crackers equal a serving
  • At dinner, switch to brown rice or whole grain pasta for your favorite pasta or stir-fry dishes.     
  • For snacks, choose popcorn (3 cups) or whole grain crackers for nibbling. 

Examples of One Serving of Whole Grains

  • 1 slice of whole-grain bread
  • ½ whole-grain English muffin, bagel, or bun
  • 1 ounce of ready to eat whole-grain cereal
  • ½ cup of oatmeal, brown rice, or whole-wheat pasta (cooked)
  • 5-6 whole-grain crackers
  • 3 cups of popped popcorn 

Selection of whole grain foods

To choose proper whole grain is also importance while shopping or consuming the varieties labeled as whole grain preparation. One must follow certain precaution as mentioned below before shopping for it. 

  • Look for products that list whole grain(s) as the first ingredient(s).
  • Look for whole-grain products that contain at least 2 grams of fiber per serving, since whole-grain foods are rich in fiber.
  • Look for products that display this health claim, “Diets rich in whole grain foods and other plant foods and low in total fat, saturated fat and cholesterol may help reduce the risk of heart disease and certain cancers.” Products displaying this health claim must contain at least 51% whole grain by weight.  
  • Look for whole-wheat pasta that lists whole-wheat flour as the first ingredient. Most pasta is made from refined semolina or durum wheat flour. 

So now, when you shop for you and your dear one, make sure to buy whole grain products and cultivate the habit of having it regularly, to keep your and your family members heart pumping smoothly. And yes don’t feel guilty after having that bucket of popcorns!!!

Read 10567 times Last modified on Friday, 22 July 2011 12:13


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  • Comment Link article builder Saturday, 11 August 2012 12:39 posted by article builder

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  • Comment Link Joanne Thursday, 24 November 2011 17:29 posted by Joanne

    Great news! Love this one. I will never feel guilty again chowing down on popcorn while watching a movie. Of course I will leave off the "buttery" stuff they provide.

  • Comment Link Barb Schmitz Tuesday, 22 November 2011 09:17 posted by Barb Schmitz

    Dr. Sejal THis is very factual educational information. Fiber cleans the body of impurities. So many of us do not eat enough fiber. Thanks I will print this info for nutrition wellness!

  • Comment Link Linda Dulicai Tuesday, 22 November 2011 09:15 posted by Linda Dulicai

    Yes, organic non-GMO popcorn. And for a real healthy treat pop it in raw organic cocnut oil and put nutritional yeast on top (The yello not the brown) ymmm.

  • Comment Link Dina Monday, 21 November 2011 16:05 posted by Dina

    Dr. Sejal, your advice about popcorn as a whole grain was correct before factory farming made most of it unhealthy--even dangerous--through genetic engineering (GMO) and toxic chemical fertilizers & pesticides. Popcorn, too, is often loaded with unhealthy additives. So permit me to add a few qualifiers:
    Organic popcorn without salt, butter or transfats can be a healthy snack, but only in moderate amounts and eaten infrequently, since it is a highly allergenic food. Even people who have not reacted badly to corn products in the past, often develop allergic reactions to them (even to cosmetics that contain corn flour) when their intake of corn, in one form or another, is frequent or in large quantities. It is also important to avoid non-organic corn, since, as mentioned above it is almost certain to be a 'genetically modified organism (GMO), loaded with toxic chemicals. Anyone who ate a big bucket of movie theater popcorn will remember the icky feeling it caused later.
    Whole grains of all kinds--organic, of course--are, indeed, heart-healthy--in moderate quantities to avoid packing on belly-fat or overloading the system with too much glucose (i.e. sugar, which in high quantities, even in the whole grain's slow-burning form, can wallop the pancreas & with frequent intake, cause diabetes). For more information about foods that help prevent & even reverse cardiovascular & many other diseases, check out

  • Comment Link  Linda Monday, 21 November 2011 08:07 posted by Linda

    Well said, Hugh! Popcorn is definitely at the top of my snack food list! LOL My only concern is the likelihood that popcorn is genetically modified, since most corn in the U.S. is (and doesn't have to be so-labeled).

  • Comment Link Hugh Sunday, 20 November 2011 22:06 posted by Hugh

    Well if that is the case I should live to be a million! The headline just made my morning. Now I better read the article. Thanks for sharing this.

  • Comment Link Tushar Sunday, 12 June 2011 15:02 posted by Tushar


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