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Whole Grains May Lead to A Healthier Gut, Better Immune Responses

A new study highlights the benefits of eating whole grains over refined grains, after finding that the former may lead to a healthier gut and better immune responses.

Researchers say that a diet rich in whole grains may benefit the gut and immune system.

Senior study author Simin Nikbin Meydani, Ph.D., of the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University in Boston, MA, and colleagues report their findings in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

There are three components that make up a grain - the bran, germ, and endosperm. A whole grain contains all three components, whereas a refined grain is processed so that the bran and germ are removed.

Whole wheat, oats, rye, barley, brown rice, and quinoa are all examples of whole-grain products, while refined-grain products include wheat flour, white rice, and enriched bread

Whole grains are considered a key part of a healthful diet. According to the American Heart Association, they can help to improve cholesterol levels, as well as reduce the risk of obesityheart diseasestroke, and type 2 diabetes

Previous studies have suggested that whole grains reduce inflammation to produce such benefits. Meydani and colleagues set out to investigate this association further with their new study, noting that research comparing the effects of whole grains and refined grains on immune responses and inflammation has not controlled the diets of participants.