Ancient Grains Lower Cholesterol, Blood Glucose, Study Suggests


Participants consuming breads made from different ancient grains varieties experienced significant reduction to several different cardiovascular disease risk factors.

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A new study published in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition suggests consuming bread made from ancient grains may reduce several risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD) as compared to eating bread made from modern grains. Researchers found that participants consuming breads made from several different ancient grain varieties experienced significant reductions to total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, and blood glucose levels.

The double-blind, crossover intervention trial included 45 healthy subjects aged 25–75 who were randomized to consume a loaf of bread made from ancient or modern grains for three separate interventions of eight weeks each. Participants were asked to swap out the intervention bread loaves for their usual bread of choice. The first eight-week phase assigned participants to consume bread made with the ancient grain Verna, the second phase assigned participants to eat bread made with modern grain Blasco, and the final phase assigned participants to eat bread made with two different ancient grain types, Gentil Rosso and Autonomia B.

By comparing participant blood samples taken at the start of the study and at the end of each intervention period, researchers found that total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and blood glucose levels were all significantly reduced following two months of the ancient-grain bread interventions. No such changes to CVD measures were observed following consumption of bread made with modern grains. Additionally, researchers observed a substantial increase in circulating endothelial progenitor cells-which repair damaged blood vessels-following the intervention period with bread made from the ancient grain Verna.

“The present results suggest that a dietary consumption of bread obtained from ancient grain varieties was effective in reducing cardiovascular risk factors,” study authors concluded.

The study also compared the cardiovascular-health benefits of consuming organically cultivated bread with ancient grains versus conventionally cultivated bread with ancient grains. However, the results indicated ancient grains may reduce these CVD risk factors regardless of how they are cultivated.


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Michael Crane
Associate Editor
Nutritional Outlook Magazine


Sereni A et al., “Cardiovascular benefits from ancient grain bread consumption: findings from a double-blinded randomized crossover intervention trial,” International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition. Published online August 9, 2016.

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