ABERDEEN, UNITED KINGDOM — Daily consumption of three portions of whole grain foods significantly may reduce cardiovascular disease risk in middle-aged people, mainly through mechanisms that lower blood pressure, according to a study appearing on-line Aug. 4 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Researchers from the University of Aberdeen recruited a total of 233 volunteers for the randomized controlled dietary trial. Twenty-four volunteers withdrew, and three were excluded.

The remaining volunteers all were middle-aged healthy individuals. After a four-week period on a refined diet, researchers randomly allocated volunteers to a control (refined diet) group, wheat group or wheat plus oats group for 12 weeks.

Systolic blood pressure was reduced significantly by 6 mmHG (millimeters of mercury) in the whole grain foods groups when compared with the control group while pulse pressure was reduced significantly by 3 mmHG.

Systemic markers of cardiovascular disease risk remained unchanged apart from cholesterol concentrations, which decreased slightly but significantly in the refined group.