Credit: Ideal Diet

Recent report released by Go Grains, studying the health effects of diet packed with wholegrains and legumes found that they carry extensive health benefits - reducing risks of heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

Associate Professor Williams of the University of Wollongong highlighted the key positive effects of wholegrain foods and legumes for health.

He says, Studies in this report show eating just 2-3 serves of wholegrain foods a day - the equivalent to 2-3 slices of wholegrain bread - could reduce the risk of developing chronic disease such as heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers by 20-30 per cent.

The research also suggested that having 2-4 serves (comparable to 2-4 slices of bread) of wholegrain foods daily can cut the risk of heart disease by about 40 per cent, which is nearly similar to the effect of statin - cholesterol-reducing drugs.

Eating wholegrains also may offer a range of other potential health advantages such as inhibiting the development of certain cancers, lowering the obesity risk, reducing the risk and the gradual developlement of type 2 diabetes, cutting high blood pressure and also preventing periodontal disease and asthma.

The report also indicated legumes could lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes and enhance gut health.

If Australians were to increase their intake of wholegrain up to 3 serves per day, the report calculated, health care spending for preventative medicine - for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, endocrine and metabolic diseases, prostate, colorectal and breast cancer - could be cut by about $1.2 billion annually.

Dr David Topping, chief research scientist with CSIRO Food Futures National Research Flagship, also the author of the report's forward, said the preventative potential health benefits of wholegrains should be focused on.

These conditions represent some of our biggest causes of death and disability, and their enormous scale means the whole population is at risk. When we look at managing these serious issues prevention, not cure, is the preferred option, said Dr Topping.