It differs from refined grains in that it still contains the bran and germ. Refined grains, on the hand, have had their bran and germ removed.

The findings emerged from a study of 2099 people given food frequency questionnaires for dietary assessments of their dietary behaviours.

After taking other confounding factors into account, researchers found higher intake of refined grains was linked to an increased risk of PCAD, while whole grain intake was related to a reduced risk of PCAD.

Khajavi Gaskarei added: “As more studies demonstrate an increase in refined grains consumption globally, as well as the impact on overall health, it is important that we find ways to encourage and educate people on the benefits of whole grain consumption.