The People's Perspective on Medicine

How to Avoid Heart Attacks by Eating Your Oats

Middle-aged Danes who eat whole grains, especially oats and rye, have a reduced likelihood of heart attack.

Research has shown for years that highly processed carbohydrates have deleterious effects on health. People who eat more refined flour and sugar appear to be vulnerable to depression. In addition, easily digested carbs can raise blood sugar and increase triglycerides, an independent risk factor for heart disease.

Are Whole Grains Helpful?

But whole grains have a healthful reputation, although they are also carbohydrates. A study from Denmark involving almost 55,000 middle aged people confirms the benefits of eating whole grains, particularly oats and rye.

The Value of Oats and Rye:

The subjects were followed for almost 14 years. Both men and women benefited if they often ate whole grains, lowering their heart attack risk by about 25 percent.  Men who ate the most rye and oats, but not wheat, were least likely to experience heart attacks. Rye bread and oatmeal were protective, but whole grain bread, crispbread and wheat made no significant difference.

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, online, Feb., 17, 2016 

If you would like to know a bit more about how to cook whole grains (especially steel cut oats) so they are delicious as well as nutritious, you may be interested in our book, Recipes & Remedies From The People’s Pharmacy. It contains our favorite cholesterol-lowering oatmeal recipe that keeps us going from breakfast to lunchtime without flagging energy.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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I like refrigerated oatmeal/muesli, no cooking required. There are tons of recipes on the internet. Basically you start with oats and then choose your mix-ins. I like yogurt, nut milk, pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice, chia seeds and a blop of a low sugar preserve on top. I set it up the night before, and it is ready the next morning. This is so good, imo, that it is almost like dessert – except that it is good for you. I have tried steel cut oats, makes it a lot chewier, but still very edible.

“Refined flour and sugar” includes Sugar. It reminds me of the way saturated fats used to be lumped in with transfats. The bran of grains is where the toxins are, so people who follow ” expert dieticians'” advice to eat whole grains are choosing to eat more toxins. Bran does have fiber, but there are other ways to get fiber. The study emphasizes that oats and rye as whole grains are healthy, but the dieticians’ Sunday newspaper advice always seems to include whole wheat as a healthy choice.

Does the book have a good recipe for “cold overnight oats” that you add milk, yogurt, fruits, etc to, then stick in the fridge overnight? I can’t seem to do anything with oats other than add them to a smoothie, which works great, but I don’t drink smoothies everyday and would like to add oats to my daily diet. I definitely feel fuller with the oats added to the smoothie but I cannot swallow a spoonful of regular oatmeal OR overnight oatmeal. Thanks!

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