Researchers asked 200 people to eat a diet with three portions of whole grains per day or none. A diet high in fibre is known to reduce blood cholesterol and improve digestive health. It was found that the diet rich in wholegrains reduced blood pressure.
Dr Frank Thies, Senior Lecturer at The Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health University of Aberdeen, who led the study, said: "We observed a decrease in systolic blood pressure in the volunteers who ate the whole-grain foods, and this effect is similar to that you might expect to get from using blood pressure-lowering drugs.
“This drop in systolic blood pressure could potentially decrease the incidence of heart attack and stroke disease by at least 15pc and 25pc respectively."
A portion is counted as around 13 to 16g of whole grains, the equivalent of around half a cup of oats or brown rice or a slice of whole-grain bread.
The findings were published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition