Study: ancient grains benefit heart health

12 Oct 2016

According to a study – “Cardiovascular benefits from ancient grain bread consumption: findings from a double-blinded randomized crossover intervention trial” - ancient grain varieties have beneficial effects on health.

Study: ancient grains benefit heart health

According to a study published in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition – “Cardiovascular benefits from ancient grain bread consumption: findings from a double-blinded randomized crossover intervention trial” - ancient grain varieties have been shown to have some beneficial effects on health. Forty-five clinically healthy subjects were included in a randomized, double-blinded crossover trial aimed at evaluating the effect of a replacement diet with bread derived from ancient grain varieties versus modern grain variety on cardiovascular risk profile.

After 8 weeks of intervention, consumption of bread obtained by the ancient varieties showed a significant amelioration of various cardiovascular parameters. Indeed, the ancient varieties were shown to result in a significant reduction of total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL)-cholesterol and blood glucose, whereas no significant differences during the phase with the modern variety were reported. Moreover, a significant increase in circulating endothelial progenitor cells were reported after the consumption of products made from the ancient “Verna” variety. The present results suggest that a dietary consumption of bread obtained from ancient grain varieties was effective in reducing cardiovascular risk factors.

In conclusion, the researchers said that the present results confirmed their earlier studies on the beneficial effects on cardiovascular biomarkers of ancient grain varieties on subjects consuming bread. In the past decades, breeding strategies have been predominantly aimed at improving the yield production of wheat, at the expense of the nutritional profile. This led to the progressive abandonment of the ancient varieties, which are not suitable for the high-input conventional cultivation system. The present findings highlight that ancient grain varieties could be useful in ameliorating the profile of important biomarkers in consumers, thereby possibly stimulating producers to use and implement these varieties in their current breeding strategies.

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