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Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 Sep;90(3):493-8. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.2009.27460. Epub 2009 Jul 1.

Whole grains and incident hypertension in men.

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Department of Epidemiology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.



Prospective data on the relation between whole grain intake and incident hypertension in men are limited, and no previous studies have quantitatively estimated total grams of whole grains in relation to risk of hypertension.


The purpose of this study was to estimate the association of whole-grain intake (g/d) and risk of incident hypertension in a large prospective cohort of men.


The Health Professionals Follow-Up Study is a prospective cohort consisting of 51,529 male health professionals ranging in age from 40 to 75 y at enrollment in 1986. Baseline and updated measurement of whole-grain intake as well as important covariates were measured, and 31,684 participants without known hypertension, cancer, stroke, or coronary heart disease were followed prospectively for 18 y through 2004 for onset of hypertension.


A total of 9227 cases of incident hypertension were reported over the 18 y of follow-up. In multivariate-adjusted analyses, whole-grain intake was inversely associated with risk of hypertension, with a relative risk (RR) of 0.81 (95% CI: 0.75-0.87) in the highest compared with the lowest quintile (P for trend < 0.0001). In the multivariate model, total bran was inversely associated with hypertension, with a relative risk (RR) of 0.85 (95% CI: 0.78, 0.92) in the highest compared with the lowest quintile (P for trend: 0.002).


In summary, we found an independent inverse association between intake of whole grains and incident hypertension in men. Bran may play an important role in this association. These findings have implications for future dietary guidelines and prevention of hypertension.

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