A university, in North Carolina has conducted a study to prove that a diet high in wholegrain foods, such as wholegrain bakery products, is associated with a significantly lower risk of developing cardio-vascular disease, including heart disease and stroke.

The analysis was conducted by researchers at Wake Forest University School of Medicine. In a statement, Philip Mellen, lead author and an assistant professor of internal medicine, said: "Consuming an average of 2.5 servings of whole grains each day is associated with a 21% lower risk of cardiovascular disease compared to consuming only 0.2 servings."

The findings are based on an analysis of seven studies involving more than 285,000 people, conducted between 1966 and April 2006. Despite evidence that whole grains have clear health benefits, intake remains low, said the university. Recommended whole grain intake in America, defined in Dietary Guidelines for Americans, is 48g.

The study showed that greater wholegrain intake is associated with less obesity, decreased chance of diabetes, lower blood pressure, and lower cholesterol.

A grain is considered whole when it has all three parts - bran, germ and endosperm. The bran is high in fibre and B vitamins. The endosperm contains starch, protein and some vitamins and minerals. The germ contains B vitamins, some healthy protein, minerals and healthy oil. Whole grains are also a good source of vitamin E, magnesium and iron, as well as other antioxidants, which are found in both the germ and the bran of a grain.