Heart attack: Three meal staples could lead to heart disease

This Morning: Dr Chris discusses heart disease

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As less blood reaches the heart muscle, the organ becomes deficient in nutrients and becomes weak. If no oxygen reaches the heart momentarily, then chest pain occurs (known as angina). Any prolonged starvation of oxygen will turn into a heart attack, which can be fatal. In regards to coronary artery disease, where does the fatty substances come from in the first place?

According to WebMD, three main meal staples could be contributing to the plaque problem.

Rice, bread, and pasta – made from white flour – is missing healthy fibre, vitamins, and minerals.

“Refined grains quickly convert to sugar, which your body stores as fat,” WebMD stated.

“A diet high in refined grains can cause belly fat, which studies link to heart disease.”

To help combat this risk, people are highly advised to look for the term “100 percent whole grain” when buying such products.

The difference between refined grains and whole grains

Oldways Whole Grains Council explained: “All grains start life as whole grains.”

The whole grain (i.e. the seed of a plant) is made up of three edible parts:

  • The brain
  • The germ
  • The endosperm.

Whole grains retain all three parts of the seed – the bran, germ, and endosperm — whereas refined grains are missing one or more parts of the seed.

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The bran contains “important antioxidants, B vitamins and fibre”.

The germ possesses “many B vitamins, some protein, minerals, and healthy fats”.

Meanwhile, the endosperm has “starchy carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins and minerals”.

“White flour and white rice are refined grains,” the Oldways Whole Grains Council confirmed.

Both have had their bran and germ removed, leaving only the endosperm.

“Refining a grain removes about a quarter of the protein in a grain, and half to two thirds or more of nutrients,” the Oldways Whole Grains Council added.

However, when most grains around the world became refined grains, widespread nutritional problems occurred around the world.

Since then, many governments now require that refined grains are “enriched”.

“Enrichment adds back fewer than half a dozen of the many missing nutrients,” said the Oldways Whole Grains Council.

Researchers at Simon Fraser University, Canada, confirmed that “a high number of refined grains is associated with a higher risk of major cardiovascular disease”.

In the study, refined grains included bread, pasta and noodles made from white flour.

The illuminating results were published in The British Medical Journal.

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