The Whole Grains to Eat on the Mediterranean Diet (3:27)
While we all know that whole grains are good for us, up until recently it wasn't clear why this is the case. Previous studies have demonstrated the benefits of consuming higher levels of whole grains such as protecting against chronic diseases, reducing cardiovascular risks, and maintaining a healthy weight. But have you ever wondered why these foods are so beneficial? To understand this, scientists at the University of Eastern Finland took a closer look.
The new study looked at the effects of a grain-heavy diet on both mice and humans. The participants were required to eat higher levels of whole grains for 12 weeks and then the researchers carried out a metabolomics analysis, which is the study of chemical processes involving small molecules formed by and during metabolic processes. Their analysis demonstrated a significant increase in betaine compounds following the 12-week whole grain diet in both mice and humans. The findings showed a correlation between higher betaine compound levels and improved glucose metabolism. In a follow-up experiment, the researchers tested certain betaine compounds on cells in the laboratory. Researcher Olli Kärkkäinen states to Medical News Today, “We observed that 5-AVAB reduces cardiomyocytes' use of fatty acids as a source of energy by inhibiting the function of a certain cell membrane protein." This is interesting because some cardiac drugs have similar effects. Overall, the findings significantly increase our understanding of the mechanisms involved in the health benefits of whole grains. However, unraveling the interactions involved in any metabolic pathway is challenging and it will take more time and research to have a clear picture of the impact the compounds have on our bodies.
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