Nutrition Action Healthletter
May 1999 — U.S. Edition

In a study of 55 women aged 60 to 71, those with impaired hearing had lower blood levels of vitamin B-12 and folate than those with normal hearing. That’s one more reason why anyone older than 55 should take a multivitamin supplement with 25 mcg of B-12 and 400 mcg of folate.
Amer. J. Clin. Nutr. 69: 564, 1999.

Women who consumed at least six servings of spinach, kale, and other green leafy vegetables a week had roughly half the risk of ovarian cancer compared to women who consumed less than two servings a week.
Amer. J. Epidem. 149: 21, 1999.

Women who eat more whole grains have a lower risk of dying of heart disease than women who eat less, but it’s not clear why, say researchers at the University of Minnesota. In 1986, David Jacobs and colleagues sent questionnaires to more than 38,000 women aged 55 to 69 who were participating in the Iowa Women’s Health Study. After nine years, the researchers compared the diets, lifestyles, and health status of the surviving women with those of the women who had died.
   Women who averaged at least eight servings of whole grains a week had about a 15-percent lower risk of dying than women who consumed fewer servings. The link remained even after the researchers accounted for exercise, red meat consumption, smoking, and many other factors.
   The results are impressive, considering how tough it was to tell which foods were whole-grain and which weren’t. “We were able to do a good job with breakfast cereals, but breads were a confusing mess,” says Jacobs.
   If the results are borne out in other studies, it doesn’t mean that everyone has to dine on bulgur or whole-wheat pasta every night. The most commonly eaten whole grains were “dark breads” (60 percent), whole-grain breakfast cereals (18 percent), popcorn (13 percent), and oatmeal (seven percent). All other grains accounted for less than two percent of the total. —BL

Amer. J. Public Health 89:: 322, 1999. 
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