[헤럴드경제=육성연 기자] Heart disease is a disease of concern around the world to the extent that the World Health Organization (WHO) ranks it as the leading cause of death due to disease.
In Korea, as a result of a survey by the Health Insurance Review and Assessment Service, the number of patients with heart diseases such as heart failure, angina pectoris, and myocardial infarction increased by 16.9% over the past five years (2016-2021).
In particular, when the heart health deteriorates with age, the red light on brain health also turns on. A study published in the international medical journal ‘The Lancet Healthy Longevity’ found that after age 36, the poorer the heart health, the worse the brain health.
Like other adult diseases, heart disease is also affected by diet. A study published in JACC (2015), the official journal of the American Heart Association, found that a healthy diet containing fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and fish could reduce the risk of heart disease by more than 30%. ‘Whole grains’ are considered as the best food for heart health among foods composed of a healthy diet.
According to a study from Tufts University in the United States published in The Journal of Nutrition (2021), data from 3121 people from 1971 to 2014 was analyzed. The waist circumference increased only 0.5 inches. Blood sugar and blood pressure levels also increased less than the average group. Waist circumference and elevated blood sugar and blood pressure levels are major factors that increase the risk of heart disease.
“Whole grains provide health benefits beyond helping middle-aged people manage their weight,” the researchers said.
According to nutritionists, the fiber and various nutrients in whole grains work together to make the most of your energy. Magnesium and potassium in whole grains can help lower blood pressure, and whole grains are a great source of B vitamins, which help your cells metabolize energy and function at their best. Dietary fiber can help prevent blood sugar spikes after a meal.
Refined carbohydrates, on the other hand, are very low in nutrients and fiber and cause blood sugar to rise quickly. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) suggests eating at least half of your daily grain intake for whole grains.
When you think of whole grains, you often think of brown rice, but lately there have been more types of whole grains, so you can choose according to your taste. In particular, oats, called the king of grains, are the representative whole grains recommended by many nutritionists as they were selected as one of the top 10 superfoods by the Harvard Institute of Public Health in the United States in 2019. Another option is to use whole grain products, such as oatmeal or granola made from oats, or whole wheat pasta or rye bread.