Background: Prospective studies linking whole- and refined-grain intakes with the risk of hypertension, a major cardiovascular disease risk factor, remain limited.
Objective: We aimed to determine whether baseline intake of whole or refined grains is associated with subsequent development of hypertension.
Design: We conducted a prospective cohort study in 28 926 female US health professionals aged >or=45 y who were free of baseline cardiovascular disease, cancer, and hypertension in 1992. Baseline whole- and refined-grain intakes were assessed from semiquantitative food-frequency questionnaires. We identified 8722 incident cases of hypertension from annual questionnaires during 10 y of follow-up.
Results: After adjustment for known hypertension risk factors, the relative risks (RRs) (and 95% CIs) of incident hypertension were 1.00 (reference), 0.96 (0.89, 1.03), 0.95 (0.88, 1.02), 0.92 (0.85, 0.99), and 0.89 (0.82, 0.97) across the increasing quintiles of baseline whole-grain intake (P for trend = 0.007). When functional cutoffs were used, women who consumed 0.5 to <1, 1 to <2, 2 to <4, and >or=4 whole-grain servings/d had multivariate RRs (95% CIs) of 0.93 (0.87, 1.00), 0.93 (0.87, 0.99), 0.92 (0.85, 0.99), and 0.77 (0.66, 0.89), respectively, compared with those who consumed <0.5 whole-grain servings/d. In contrast, refined-grain intake was not associated with the risk of hypertension. The multivariate RRs of hypertension across the increasing quintiles of refined-grain intake were 1.00, 0.97, 0.94, 0.99, and 0.97 (P for trend = 0.80).
Conclusion: Higher whole-grain intake was associated with a reduced risk of hypertension in middle-aged and older women, which suggests a potential role for increasing whole-grain intake in the primary prevention of hypertension and its cardiovascular complications.