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Whole Grains Might Improve Gut Health & Immune Response

By jeremyc | February 11, 2017

Whole grains are healthier than refined grains, a recent study suggests. The researchers found that whole grains might boost immunity and gut health.

A grain has three components: the bran, endosperm, and germ. A refined grain contains only the endosperm as it is processed; whereas, a whole grain has all the three. Oats, rye, whole wheat, quinoa, and brown rice are all whole grain foods. Examples of refined grain foods include white rice, enriched bread and wheat flour.

Previous research has linked whole grains with many health benefits. The American Heart Association suggests that whole grain can help reduce the levels of blood cholesterol, in addition to lowering the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and obesity.

Earlier studies have indicated that whole grains lower inflammation and this in turn produces the aforementioned benefits. In this study, the researchers aimed to explore this association more deeply.

The researchers enrolled 81 adults in good health for this study. For the initial 2 weeks, all the participants were put on a diet rich in refined grains. Forty-one participants were then switched to a diet rich in whole grains while the remaining 40 continued with refined-grains rich diet.

The only difference between the whole grains rich and refined grains rich diet was of the grain; all other things like total fat, total energy, total protein, and quantity of vegetables and fruits were similar in the two diets.

Eating foods rich in whole grain lead to an increase in the production of a specific type of bacteria in the gut, known as Lachnospira, which improves immune function. People who consumed whole-grain rich foods also recorded more memory T cells compared to the participants who followed the refined-grains rich diet. T cells play an important role in staving off infection.

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