“It’s exciting to see that people could potentially lower their risk of dementia by increasing their diet of whole grains by a couple of servings a day,” Liu said, according to Rush University.
The study, conducted by a research team from Rush in Chicago, observed 3,326 people with an average age of 75 who did not have dementia. Of this group 60% were Black.
Over a period of approximately six years, the participants completed a diet survey and underwent cognitive and memory tests twice.
Based on the questionnaire responses, participants were divided into five groups according to their whole grain consumption, ranging from less than half a serving to 2.7 servings per day.
The researchers found that Black participants were more likely to consume more than one daily serving of whole grains compared to white participants.
“These results could help medical professionals make tailored diet recommendations,” Liu noted.
“More large studies are needed to validate our findings and to further investigate the effect of whole grains on cognition in different racial groups.”
Aside from the new findings, whole grains, including bread, cereals, quinoa, and popcorn, have been shown to provide significant health benefits.
Along with nutrient-dense foods like oats, brown rice, and popcorn, they are linked to lower cholesterol, insulin levels, and blood pressure, per the Mayo Clinic.
Due to their health value, The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that adults consume three or more servings daily.
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“Whole grains are rich in vitamins B and E, and other antioxidants. They have a lot of fiber, which has been linked to a lot of health benefits, particularly related to brain health,” Liu says.
“So, we do see a lot of evidence in terms of whole grains being protective in lowering heart disease risk, and we know what’s good for the heart may also be good for the brain,” he continued (via Rush).
Data from the biracial Chicago Health and Aging Project was used to complete this study which is endorsed by the Alzheimer's Association and National Institutes of Health, per Rush.
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