Saturday, March 26, 2011

A Bowl a Day Keeps the Heart Doctor Away

For many Canadians, breakfast cereals are a morning staple. We're very fortunate that we have an abundance of delicious, healthy options to choose from. Even better, the American Heart Association has released a report which states that whole grain breakfast cereals can help reduce blood pressure, which lowers the risk of heart disease. That's definitely something to smile about in the morning!

Whole grain cereals are an excellent way to tick off a box or two on your checklist of servings of grains on Canada's Food Guide. They also tend to be higher in fibre - there are now many high fibre options - which increases their heart healthy benefits!

In the report, researchers analyzed cereal consumption data from the Physicians' Health Study which followed thousands of male physicians for 16 years. The results showed that just eating cereal once a week could reduce the risk of high blood pressure, which is a risk factor for heart disease, by 8%, while 2-6 servings per week raised that number to 16%. Those cereal fanatics who consumed it 7 or more times a week showed a 25% reduction in the risk of high blood pressure!

The report also outlined the fact that, in the long haul, diets higher in fibre can reduce the lifetime risk of heart disease in individuals. High fibre diets are associated with a lower risk of high blood pressure, obesity and high cholesterol, which are all risk factors for heart attacks and other heart and blood vessel problems.

So there you have it; why not change up your usual routine and include some high-fibre whole grain cereal (like Kashi Go Lean or Nature's Path Organic Optimum among many others!) - hot or cold, however you like it!